Osinbajo Distances Self From 2023 Campaign Office

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Sunday shut down reports that he had opened a campaign office in Abuja preparatory to contesting the 2023 presidential ticket or the All Progressive Congress (APC).

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The reports emerged Sunday suggesting that he had set up the office at No. 15b, Buchanan Crescent, off Aminu Kano, near Emab Plaza Wuse 2, Abuja.

According to the reports, the office which was allegedly inaugurated on Saturday, was set up under the auspices of Progressives Consolidated Group (PCG) complete with Osinbajo’s banner inscribed with the “Face of Hope.”

The reports also suggested that Katsina State-born Dr Aliyu Kurfi is the Chairman of the PCG while other members include; Musa Liman (deputy chairman North), Dr Ebenezer Faji (deputy chairman South), Dr. Eli Eberechukwu Dibia (Vice-Chairman), Dr. Ahmed Muhammed (National Coordinator), Dr. Usman Ibrahim (Organizing Secretary) and Barrister Emmanuel Pippa (Publicity Secretary).

However, the reports have now been denied by the office of the Vice President.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, told Tribune Online on Sunday that the news is fake.

Asked what he had to say about the reports of the opening of the campaign office, he said in a WhatsApp message: “Fake News.”

The PCG, a campaign group within the APC, has said it has opened the campaign office on behalf of the Vice President even though without his consent.

Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr Emmanuel Pippa, in a statement issued Sunday, said it the group opened the office with the hope of getting Osinbajo to vie for the presidency.

The statement reads: “Our attention has just been brought to online publications alleging that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has opened a campaign office in Abuja ahead of the 2023 elections.

“We wish to clarify that the said office belongs to our coalition of support groups which strongly believes in Professor Osinbajo as the leader Nigeria needs in 2023, and is determined to get him to declare an interest in running for the office of President as early as possible. Solely for this purpose, our recently acquired administrative office is located in the heart of Wuse area of Abuja.

“Even though Professor Osinbajo is yet to be acquainted with our activities, we intend to operate through a new organ, The Progressive Project TPP to coordinate youth, women and other groups across the federation. Ours is therefore not a campaign office but a venue for coordination, handling of an increasing volume of correspondence and meetings in readiness for the time when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo accedes to our request for him to run and consolidate gains made under President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Party chieftains will of course lead the real campaign when that time comes. Being a heartbeat away from the number one job, there are countless APC members and even, non-partisan citizens across the federation who are pushing for Professor Yemi Osinbajo to succeed or highly revered President Buhari, solely in the interest of the nation.

“We are convinced that Osinbajo’s level of familiarity with the vision, achievements, and challenges being handled by President Buhari is second to none and that such insight would enable a new APC administration to hit the ground running in 2023.

“We anticipate that various new and existing pro-Osinbajo platforms will become part of the group to which their focus appears more relevant”.

Recall that Akande in August also maintained that Osinbajo had not declared interest in the 2023 presidential race.

His remark came against the backdrop of the heightening of campaign-style promotional videos, banners in the Social Media as well as the appearance of the Vice President’s campaign posters in parts of the country where he was paired with Kano state Governor, Umar Ganduje for the 2023 presidential race.

Akande conceded that there had been what he called the flurry of activities and release of the posters, banners and campaign videos in the country, which suggested that the Vice President has joined the race.

He affirmed that Osinbajo was not connected to the release of the campaign materials.

The statement Vice President’s spokesman released at the time read: “There has again been a flurry of activities, such as the release of campaign-style promotional videos, banners in the Social Media and even the deployment of political posters in some parts of the country, including the FCT and Kano, insinuating that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has joined the 2023 Presidential Race.

“The Office of the Vice President wishes to reiterate a statement on the same subject, made earlier in May this year.

“The Office of the Vice President is not in any way connected with the distribution and deployment of any 2023 political posters whether on the streets or in online videos, banners, and the like on the Social Media.

“All these are simply needless distractions from the urgent tasks of governance needed in our country at this time.

“Prof. Osinbajo has not declared any interest whatsoever in the 2023 election, but he is rather focused on working in his capacity as Vice President in the current administration to address all the compelling issues in the country and concerns of Nigerians, including finding effective and lasting solutions to the security challenges and working to further boost the economy.

“Therefore, we ask that people desist from such publications while we all deal together with the challenges confronting us as Nigerians, and resolve them for the benefit of our people, and the enthronement of peace and prosperity in the land.”

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