Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu sent the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Sherifat Jaji, to welcome Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to Lagos on Monday.
Osinbajo was in Lagos to commission a Toyota Nigeria’s service centre in Isolo and was well-received by residents, videos shared online showed.
But Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Femi Hamzat, shunned the former Lagos attorney-general turned vice president.
The move has been condemned by Osinbajo’s followers who argue that the governor should have showed up by himself to welcome Nigeria’s Number 2 Citizen.
But Sanwo-Olu’s fans retort online that the vice president was merely commissioning a Toyota ‘mechanic workshop’.
The snub may be related to Osinbajo’s rumoured intention to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Days ago, it was reported that Osinbajo had informed his boss of his political ambition. But the vice president and his aides are yet to declare such ambition in the open.
Sources close to the Number 2 Citizen, however, say Osinbajo would soon declare for the presidency. It is believed that such declaration will happen after the All Progressives Congress (APC) holds its national convention on March 26.
Sanwo-Olu, on the other hand, has openly backed former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is considered the godfather of South-West politics.
Osinbajo’s eventual entrance into the presidential race will clash with the governor’s interest and pose another level of challenge to Tinubu’s chances of fulfilling “my lifelong ambition” of taking charge at Aso Rock.
This was why Sanwo-Olu snubbed him, speculators say, concluding that the move was political.
At 65, Osinbajo is not a young man but many Nigerians see him as healthier than Tinubu who just clocked 70 and, according to critics, has been showing signs of old age.
Although Buhari, who is said to hold the key to APC presidential ticket, has not endorsed Osinbajo, he also has not declared support for Tinubu, the political ally that played a major role in ushering him into Aso Rock.
Tinubu’s supporters believe Buhari needs to compensate their candidate with the 2023 presidency. But Nigerians are expected to decide at the ballot if the polls are fair.
Whoever clinches the APC ticket, if the party does not collapse, stands a great chance, observers say.