On December 2, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari made a profound statement during a meeting with Nigerians in Poland. It was the height of conspiracy about whether or not he was cloned and Nigerians in Diaspora felt the need to clear the air on the matter, so they asked him.
Here’s how he responded: “A lot of people hoped that I was dead. Poor Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, even he had to deal with the rumours—Some people reached out to him to consider them to be his Vice President because they assumed I was dead. That embarrassed him a lot; we discussed it when he visited me while I was convalescing. I can assure you all that this is the real me. Later this month I will celebrate my 76th birthday. And I’m still going strong,” he said.
Buhari’s response reverberated from Poland to Nigeria and indeed across the world. Loyalty had reached a new height and Prof. Osinbajo is the architect. Not many knew how loyal the deputy was to his master and how much he protected his interest. Those who had approached the then Acting President to become his Vice President were thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
And this is one of many reasons why Nigerians are wondering why President Muhammadu Buhari has not endorsed his loyal, hardworking, competent and patriotic deputy, but again, the style and strategy of the President is very different.
Just as we have presidential candidates awash the APC today, we had so many twist and turns leading to the national convention. Many names were thrown up as the favourite and the acting committee was throwing all sorts of fireworks into the ring including court cases but the President knew his choice and he waited until it was the right time.
In his Channels TV interview, Buhari refrained from naming who his successor was, his response was quite cryptic. He said: “No, I wouldn’t say because he may be eliminated if I mention. I better keep it,” the President said with a wry smile.
For many Nigerians it’s a no-brainer that President Buhari picks his successor, in fact, that is a hallmark of successful leaders but in doing so, the President must have to consider a few things which are dear to many Nigerians but more importantly Nigerians need someone with capacity to execute.
Many will agree with me that President Buhari is keeping the name of his successor close to his chest but one thing that he must consider most is that Nigerians need a patriot. Someone who is not thinking about enriching himself, family, friends and associates but someone who is dedicated to enriching all Nigerians as much as he can.
Those closest to the President will be trying to sway him, they will be putting up names that best suits them and a few others. They will be putting up names of those who can help them to continue to hold Nigeria to ransom but what Nigerians want is leader that will be father to all.
A leader that can speak the global language and who has already earned global respect. A leader who is keeping up with the times and who understands the importance of technology, human capital development and leadership.
A detribalized leader who will put Nigeria first and will always act on behalf of Nigeria and Nigerians on all local and international issues. Whosoever President Buhari picks as his successor will be ultimate legacy and I think he will want to leave a lasting legacy.
For those lurking around the President and who have decided to throw all sorts of people up, to extent that they are buying Expression of Interest and Nomination forms under all sorts of groups, I hope the President is not deceived or confused by their antics.
Just like Buhari, Nigeria deserves a very popular candidate amongst the citizen. One that can go to the South South and the reception will be wild. A candidate that can visit the North East and the people will be chasing after his bus; a candidate that will go to the North Central and shake hands with the citizens; a candidate that will dress in the regalia of the South East and communicate with them and they will feel renewed hopes; a candidate that is the toast of the youths in the South West and of course a candidate that turns heads in the North West because of his intelligence, diligence and dedication.
Sentiments aside, that candidate is Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a loyal, dependable and reliable deputy to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Seun Bisuga is a journalist and social media analyst