Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has ruled himself out of the 2019 presidential contest. Here's what it all means.
Pressed by a Reuters reporter in London on whether he’ll consider running for president in 2019, the ever amiable Osinbajo retorted: “none of that is on the cards”.
There are a few politicians out there who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Osinbajo is one of those. He’s never really been interested in the nation’s top job even when a section of the country clamoured that he should hurl his hat into the 2019 ring following Buhari’s prolonged medical vacation that elapsed in August.
With Buhari away, Osinbajo stepped into the role of Nigeria’s Commander-in-Chief rather admirably. He stepped into Buhari’s shoes and it was as though he had worn them his entire life. He warmed his way into many hearts, one photo-op and steady pair of hands at a time.
But even then, he was never really interested in the nation’s top job. He was only keen on keeping the ship of state afloat. He was only doing his job as the president’s deputy; something one of his top aides would always call to remind me of at the time.
Now that he has ruled himself out of the 2019 contest, what next? Nothing. Simple. This declaration from the nation's Vice President only means that those who have been making a fortune out of printing his presidential posters and opening campaign websites in his name, now have to look for something better to do with their lives.
There’s now one less person for voters to worry about because that person was never really interested. Buhari looks like he’ll run again and even if he doesn’t, it will be a northerner who completes Buhari’s term of eight years.
Geopolitically, the next president has been zoned to Nigeria’s north by the two biggest political parties in the land. The implication is that the likes of Ayo Fayose are only wasting their time. The north of Nigeria has been looking forward to completing a two term of eight years since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. Goodluck Jonathan was considered a usurper when he ran in 2011 following the death of Umaru Yar’adua.
Buhari's election in 2015 had a lot to do with protest votes from the north against a southern political establishment who they felt always stole 'their tenure' from them.
Osinbajo will stay true to Buhari till the very end. He’s got badges of loyalty emblazoned on his large heart. Excusing himself from the race now means he’ll be there or thereabout when Buhari seeks a re-election.
A Vice President for eight years is a decent enough political bargain and something Osinbajo would have settled for ahead of the 2015 presidential race. That will also be just reward for loyalty.