The Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, on Thursday picked holes in the biography of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the author, John Paden, distorted facts and gave false account of how the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was nominated as Buhari’s running mate.
Bello, who played a prominent role in the emergence of Buhari’s running mate, said the process of Osinbajo’s nomination started immediately after Buhari emerged as the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate at the party National Convention held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, on December 11, 2014.
In a statement he personally signed, Bello said the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, nominated Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate, adding that Paden’s account was not entirely true.
Paden had submitted in the book that Buhari chose Osinbajo despite much pressure from Tinubu, who was allegedly interested in the position.
But Bello said Nigerians were fed with half-truths by the author on how Osinbajo became the vice president, detailing how Tinubu summoned a meeting to decide who would be Buhari’s running mate the morning after the President emerged the APC candidate.
Bello named the party chieftains in attendance to include former APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, former Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, Osinbajo and a renowned pastor.
He said: “I do not know how the author came about his story, but he totally got it wrong because what he wrote basically is based on falsehood that reeks of deliberate misinformation and mischief.”
He, thus, explained how he received a phone call from Asiwaju “to see him the morning after Buhari emerged the APC candidate.”
Bello added: “On my way to his house, I discovered that a car at a reasonable distance was that of former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, who was, ostensibly, heading towards Asiwaju’s house in Ikoyi.
“Asiwaju must have called him too for that task that could be explained underneath. As soon as we arrived, Asiwaju quickly asked us to join him in his car as we headed to a Guest House. At the Guest House, former APC Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Osinbajo and one renowned pastor joined us.
“At the meeting, Asiwaju related to us the urgent need to pick a vice presidential candidate for the APC. He advised that we immediately discard the idea of his being nominated for the vice-presidential slot as it was no longer possible to pick a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“This, he reasoned, made sense if indeed we were to be realistic in our bid to defeat President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 election. He reasoned that what was important and imperative at that time was to look for a good Christian nominee to complement President Mohammadu Buhari.”