Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said he will only be betraying Nigerians if he fails to contest for President in 2023.
He spoke on Monday when he visited the Ondo State governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, , and other stakeholders of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The vice-president said beaides his current position as VP, serving president for over seven months had also given him the needed experience to lead Nigeria.
“Opportunity comes once in a while. It is also a privilege to serve. Our country needs service that will bring the country out of the woods,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“Nobody can be anything without the endorsement of God. I declared my intention based on the fact that I have served for over seven months as acting president. I was given very serious responsibilities as an acting president.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, just out of his open-mindedness and his own generosity, ensured that I was given very serious responsibilities as vice-president and I also acted as president.
“In those capacities, I got to know so many things that most people will never come across — even people in government will never come across — and I gained a lot of experience on that account.
“Many times, the president, when he was away, said pointedly to me that ‘look, I don’t want to feter your discretion in any way; as acting president, you are president; just make sure you are fair and just; don’t refer anything to me; don’t ask me any questions; just do whatever you need to do’.
“Now, the opportunity has come. With the experience that I have, the connection and contacts that I have both locally and internationally, it will be a betrayal to the country not to accept to serve the country.
“Many people are dying for the country every day. If with all that has been given to me by the grace of God — all the experience — I now retire to Lagos or Ikenne to go and write my memoir, it would be a great injustice to this country.
“It will be great injustice to our country, that is why I have thrown my hat in the ring to ensure I make the best case for the position of president of Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Osinbajo announced his intention to run for president on April 11, and since then, the vice-president has been traversing the country to seek support for his ambition.
Meanwhile, head of the 2023 elections, the APC will begin the sale of expression of interest and nomination forms for various elective positions on Tuesday.
The sale of the forms ought to have commenced on Saturday, but it was postponed.
But in a on Monday, APC national organising secretary, Suleiman Arufugun, said the sales of the forms would begin on April 26 and end on May 6.
The party’s presidential candidates are expected to pay N100 million to buy the expression of interest and nomination forms, while governorship hopefuls will pay N50 million.
The price of forms for persons seeking to contest for seats in state houses of assembly was pegged at N2 million, while the house of representatives is N10 million and the senate is N20 million.
The party fixed May 10 as the last day for the submission of completed forms.
The ruling party also said aspirants for the state houses of assembly and governorship will be screened on May 12; those aspiring to hold seats in the house of representatives and senate will be screened on May 13, and those seeking to clinch the party’s presidential ticket will be screened on May 14.
The primaries for governorship, state houses of assembly, house of representatives, and senate are May 18, 20, 22 and 24, respectively.
No date has been fixed for the presidential primary, according to the schedule released by Arugungu.
Justifying the huge sum required for the Presidential nomination forms however, National Publicity Secretary of party, Felix Morka, said anyone aspiring to be president should have the “sufficient base” to raise N100 million.
He spoke on Monday when he was interviewed during a programme on Silverbird Television.
The APC had fixed N100 million for its nomination and expression of interest forms for persons interested in contesting the presidency on the party’s platform.
Speaking on the form fees, Morka said although the price appears high when one considers the Nigerian setting, presidential hopefuls should have the necessary support to raise such an amount.
“I hate to use the US as an example. The ability to raise funds is a clear criterion whether or not you are eligible to participate at the primaries and the debate especially. You aspire to run for the highest office in the land, you should have some appeal, some reach to members of the party. Sell your ideas, sell your vision. Forty-five million people giving you N1, do the math and see what it comes to. That is a lot of money. We do have that possibility,” he said.
“But for those who have the money already, they are quite welcome to use their own funds. The party has commitments and we do not have any statutory funding as you know.
“Within the context of Nigeria, N100 million is a lot of money. Those who seek the office around the country are expected to have a sufficient base, otherwise why would you aspire to be president, if you are that obscure or unsupportable by your party members and the electorate?”
He also said although the country had challenges with security, the ruling party has delivered on its promises.
On assuming office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to tackle insecurity, revamp the economy and wage war against corruption.
Speaking on the issue, Morka said some people are trying to “cloud” the achievements of the current government.
“The administration has done extremely well on all of those three counts (economy, security and anti-corruption fight) without question.
“I know there is a lot of smoke out there and sections of our society cloud some of our stellar accomplishments of this government, whether you are looking at infrastructure or the fundamentals of this economy which is by the way projected — GDP to grow by 3.5 percent in the assessment by IMF. That is significant. We went into recession shortly after COVID-19 but we came out of it rather rapidly.
“On this issue of national security, we have challenges no doubt, but the government is doing everything that is possible within the availability of our resources to deal with these problems,” the spokesman analysed.