Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday formally declared his intention to run for President in 2023.
“I am today, with utmost humility, formally declaring my intention to run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of our great party, the All Progressives Congress,” he said in a video obtained by Channels Television.
His declaration ends months of speculation over his interest in the 2023 presidential race and widens the pool of candidates for the position.
It also puts him in direct confrontation with his former boss in Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who signalled his intention earlier in the year.
In his declaration speech, Osinbajo said he was committed to continuing President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the country.
“If by the grace of God and the will of the people, I am given the opportunity, then I believe that first, we must complete what we have started, radically transforming our security and intelligence architecture,” he said, “completing the reforms of our justice system; focusing on adequate remuneration and welfare of judicial personnel and ensuring justice for all and the observants of the rule of law; rapidly advancing our infrastructure development, especially power, roads, railways, and broadband connectivity, providing an excellent environment for businesses to thrive, taking the agriculture revolution to the next level, especially mechanisation and developing the farm-to-table value chain; making sure that the government, its agencies, and regulators, serve the business community, creating a tech economy that will provide jobs for millions of young Nigerians; enhancing our social investment programme, to a full-scale social welfare program.”
The Vice President said he would also complete President Buhari’s promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
He vowed to reform the educational system for relevance in the 21st century and ensure universal health coverage for all while strengthening the capacity of states and local governments to deliver on their respective mandates.
“Above all, front and centre of our efforts will be the provision of jobs and opportunities for our young people,” he said.
“I now must solemnly and respectfully seek the support of fellow Nigerians everywhere in this land and the Diaspora, young and old, male and female, in the great and exciting journey that we have ahead of us, seek your own support. We will, working together, establish by the grace of God, the Nigeria of our dreams in a few short years. We will build on the foundation laid by our predecessors; we will need to move with much speed, intentionality, and perseverance towards the vision of a prosperous, stable, and secure nation.
“I am convinced beyond doubt we have the creativity, the courage, the talent, and the resources to be the foremost black nation on earth.
“Let us build a Nigeria where the man of Nnewi sees the man in Gusau as his brother, where the woman in Warri sees the woman in Jalingo as her sister, where the love of our nation burns alike in the hearts of boys and girls, from Gboko to Yenagoa, where everywhere in this land is home for everyone, where our diversities, our tribes, our faiths unite us rather than divide us. Let our tribe become one tribe, the Nigerian tribe, where all are treated fairly, justly, and with respect, where all her given equal access to the abundant opportunities that God has bestowed on this nation.”
Osinbajo, 65, is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who previously served as Attorney-General of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007.
A graduate of the University of Lagos and the London School of Economics, he lectured at his Alma Mater in Lagos while practising law until 1999.
After serving the Tinubu administration in Lagos, he retired from government in 2007 and returned to law and lecturing along with pastoral duties at the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
In 2015, he was tapped as running mate to Muhammadu Buhari for that year’s presidential election.
In May 2017, Osinbajo emerged as acting President after Buhari embarked on a medical trip abroad.
He served as acting President for about four months, during which he fired the Department of State Service boss, Lawal Daura for an illegal invasion of the National Assembly by armed and masked operatives.