There appear to be renewed plots in political circles around the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s camp to draft Osinbajo back into the 2023 presidential race.
Although close aides of the Vice President described this as mere speculation, arguing that their principal won’t be leaving the All Progressives Congress, APC, sources insisted at the weekend that there were active suggestions going on regarding the possibility of an Osinbajo/Kwankwaso ticket on the platform of the NNDP.
Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano State, is the presidential candidate of NNPP, a new party that seems to resonate with political elements across many northern states.
Meanwhile, there is insinuation of Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, also running with Kwankwaso on the platform of what their fans called ‘Third Force’.
“One of the factors driving the push for an Osinbajo/Kwankwaso ticket is the need to give vent to what is clearly a nationwide yearning for a different kind of political leadership, something that the VP has come to represent to Nigerians,” one of the sources said.
“On the other hand, Kwankwaso is known to be an accomplished grassroots politician in the North-West who can easily complement the VP”.
Osinbajo had, among others, lost the presidential ticket of the APC to Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu at the Special Convention of the party held at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on June 8.
Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, scooped 1,271 delegate votes to emerge as the party’s candidate in next year’s presidential poll while Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, a former Minister of Transportation, polled 316 votes to come second. Osinbajo polled 235 votes to finish third.
This latest move, according to sources, is being championed by some of the VP’s associates in collaboration with some influential northern politicians.
Regardless of the outcome of the primary, the group has now commenced a move to secure the ticket of the NNPP for the VP.
According to the sources, the plan is to substitute Kwankwaso, whose name has already been submitted by the party as its presidential flag bearer, using the window of substitution which opens until August.
Although close aides of the VP have dismissed the report, describing it as mere speculation, the sources spoke of the possibility of an Osinbajo/Kwankwaso ticket on the platform of the NNPP.
The calculation, one of the sources said, is that religion would play a major role in who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 and that fielding the VP, a southern Christian, would ensure that the North is freely allowed to choose a Muslim running mate, and as such, Kwankwaso is suitably qualified to deputize Osinbajo.