Former military president, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, has recommended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for the nation’s highest office, putting him up as the best person to lead Nigeria in 2023.
Mr Babangida expressed the view on Thursday while receiving a campaign group, the Osinbajo Grassroot Organisation, at his HillTop residence in Minna, the Niger capital.
He urged Mr Osinbajo to remain focused and resilient.
The former military ruler said: “Osinbajo has great passion for Nigeria, he is one that can communicate with the country and inspire people among other qualities; he is the best person to lead Nigeria in 2023.
“I know the vice president very well; he is a good man; a man who has conviction about Nigeria; a man who can communicate with the country and inspire people.
“Such a man is a worthy person to work with; we need a good man to lead Nigeria; a man who has passion for this country’s economy; Nigeria is a good country; the people of Nigeria are good.
“You must learn to understand people and constant discussion is key; I want to convey my best wishes to the vice president through you and I want you to tell him to stay the course; I know it’s not easy but he has the conviction; I wish him the best.”
In an interview with Arise TV in August, Mr Babangida claimed he had “seen one, or two or three of such persons” who are fit to lead Nigeria in 2023.
“I have started visualising a good Nigerian leader,” Mr Babangida announced during the interview.
“That is a person who travels across the country and has a friend virtually everywhere he travels to. He knows at least one person that he can communicate with. That is a person who is very versed in economics and is also a good politician, who should be able to talk to Nigerians and so on,” he added.
Since his forced “step aside” from government in 1993 after annulling an election still described as the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history, Mr Babangida has maintained a larger than life posture in Nigeria’s politics.
The Octogenarian, who has largely remained immobile due to radiculopathy disease, has enjoyed constant attention from the politicians who throng his Minna abode at each election cycle to seek endorsement.
Mr Babangida is thought to be highly connected to all who matter across the country, a reputation he built during his eight year headship of Nigeria’s military junta.
The former military leader told the Osinbajo group that he accepted to speak with them because of his conviction that Osinbajo has what it takes to lead the country.
The National Convener of the organisation, Ojo Foluso, said the group was happy with Mr Babangida’s endorsement.
“We came to consult the oracle and the oracle has spoken; IBB is an oracle because he understands Nigeria,” he said.
He said the group would continue to mount pressure on Mr Osinbajo to show interest in contesting for the presidency in 2023.
The leader of the team, Emma Ejiofor, said the group was ready to work with counsel from prominent citizens like Mr Babangida because of their sound knowledge and understanding of Nigeria.
He said Nigeria was in dire need of leaders with conviction and passion for its development.
Mr Osinbajo has constantly denied having an ambition to run for presidency in 2023.