Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was conspicuous in his absence, as First Lady Aisha Buhari hosted leading Presidential Aspirants across the political parties to dinner at the Old Banquet Hall of the State House on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Recall that on April 21, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Wife of the President, Aliyu Abdullahi, had confirmed the Iftar dinner at the behest of Mrs. Buhari.
Among those who had confirmed their attendance were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Anambra State Peter Obi and former Presidents of the Nigerian Senate Anyim Pius Anyim and Bukola Saraki.
Others were the Governor of Rivers State Nyesom Wike, his Ebonyi State counterpart Dave Umahi, that of Sokoto and Bauchi States Aminu Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed respectively, former Governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha, Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, and Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, among others.
Leading the pack of Presidential aspirants at the dinner were Tinubu, Umahi, Ngige and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.
Also in attendance were Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna; former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Barnabas Gemade; sacked lawmaker and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
On why Osinbajo didn’t honour the dinner invitation, a highly placed Aso Villa official tells Quest Times on condition of anonymity that the “vice president was away to Delta and Lagos. His wife was however at the dinner. A representative of the Osinbajo for President Campaign was also at the dinner.”
Quest Times has since confirmed that Osinbajo was in Delta State to honour an invitation from Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, who had just laid his father to rest at a newly built mausoleum.
Former Edo Governor, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, represented Osinbajo at the event and delivered the following remarks on the vice president’s behalf:
“The dinner is an opportunity for aspirants from various political parties to meet one another and the lesson we should learn from here is to practice politics without bitterness as we move closer to election year.
“We should try to imbibe the spirit of oneness because at the end of the day, only one person is going to emerge winner of the Presidential election next year.
“So, it is not going to be a do-or-die affair, we should learn to practice politics without bitterness.”
Osinbajo is one of the frontline aspirants for the governing APC presidential ticket, ahead of an eagerly anticipated elective convention which takes place in May.
During the dinner, First Lady Aisha Buhari pleaded with the presidential aspirants to pick women as running mates and to handpick more women for their cabinets should any of them win the general election next February.