A veteran journalist, Mustapha Ogunsakin, has revealed that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), declined former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s offer to become the Attorney-General of the Federation in 2005.
The revelation, which was made to newsmen Friday in Abuja, comes amid mixed reactions to Osinbajo’s 2023 presidential ambition.
There have been personal attacks on Osinbajo by some political opponents branding him a betrayer because of his presidential ambition, which pits him against his political godfather and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Ogunsakin said: “In 2005, President Obasanjo invited Osinbajo to take appointment as the Attorney-General of the Federation after Chief Akin Olujimi left office.
“Obasanjo saw the sterling qualities and performance that Osinbajo had as Attorney General of Lagos.
“The president without informing Bola Tinubu, the then Lagos State Governor, offered the post to Osinbajo who was then Lagos State Attorney-General.
“The first thing Osinbajo did was to inform his principal, Tinubu, who gave him a free hand to take his decision.”
Ogunsakin said instead of accepting the offer, Osinbajo made a request to Obasanjo to release Lagos State Council funds, which the Federal Government withheld then as a result of the creation of Local Council Development Areas by the state.
He added: “Obasanjo replied that Osinbajo should first take the appointment and then advise him as Attorney-General of the Federation on the matter.
“Osinbajo went underground and for weeks Obasanjo could no longer reach him.
“It was obvious to the then president that Osinbajo deliberately avoided him; he went on to appoint Chief Bayo Ojo as his Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“Osinbajo rejected the position of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and stayed with Tinubu; nobody complained then.”
Ogunsakin said Osinbajo not only stood with Tinubu, but stayed loyal to Lagos State, adding: “He did not betray Tinubu then.”
He cautioned those calling Osinbajo a betrayer.
He said: “But now when it is convenient for them, some political and religious bigots are shouting betrayal!
“Everyone knows that if you want to hear the story of how your father met your mother, join politics.”
Ogunsakin urged anyone criticising Osinbajo over his presidential ambition to do so based on valid facts and “not lazy, religious and political lies that reveal your foolishness and hatred for a man who is doing his best to make his country and people better”.