More than 24 hours after he lost at the ruling All Progressives Congress’s presidential primary in Abuja, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has finally congratulated the winner, Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, cruised to a landslide victory on Wednesday afternoon, picking up 1721 votes out of the 2115 cast.
Minister for transport Rotimi Amaechi came a distant second with 315 votes while Osinbajo got 235. Senate President Ahmad Lawan polled only 152 votes.
“I congratulate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his victory at our party primaries and his emergence as the Presidential Candidate and Flagbearer of our great party, the APC for the forthcoming 2023 Presidential Elections,” Osinabjo said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
Osinbajo, who served under Tinubu in Lagos as attorney-general, said Nigeria will benefit from the “sterling” track record of his former boss.
“His wealth of experience will certainly be critical in our party’s continued efforts to attain a more secure and prosperous Nigeria,” the vice president said.
Many did not expect Osinbajo to go up against his benefactor.
But Tinubu insisted he had no grudges against other contestants after firing a shot at Lawan, telling the Senate President to “lick his wounds”.
An APC stalwart, Tinubu emerged victorious following weeks of wrangling among party factions over their candidate to govern Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy.
“Shame on those who already build a coffin of the APC, our party is alive. No destroyer can bring Nigeria backward,” Tinubu told the convention after APC officials named him the candidate.
A Muslim from Nigeria’s Yoruba-speaking southwest, Tinubu will face off in the February 25 ballot against Atiku Abubakar, a fellow veteran of Nigerian politics and the candidate for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Osinbajo said the party must unite behind Tinubu to ensure APC wins at the polls.
“As true progressives, we must remain strong and united in pursuing our collective vision as a party toward building a country that can provide a decent life and livelihoods for all our people,” Osinbajo said.
AFP contributed to this report.