Bayo Onanuga, former managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), says he regrets nominating Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to be attorney-general during the administration of Bola Tinubu as governor of Lagos.
Onanuga, in a statement issued on Monday, titled ‘Tinubu and Osinbajo: The True Story of How They Met’, said days after Tinubu was elected as governor in 1999, he started deliberating on the people that would form his cabinet.
According to the former NAN MD, who is now spokesperson of the Tinubu campaign organisation, at a meeting which happened in the presence of Gbenga Daniel, former Ogun governor, and Dele Alake, former Lagos commissioner for information and strategy, he nominated Osinbajo to be the attorney-general instead of Bayo Oriola.
“Tinubu had just won the election as governor of Lagos state and days after, we met on the 6th floor of Kresta Laurel at Maryland, which Otunba Gbenga Daniel donated for our use,” Onanuga wrote.
“On this day, Tinubu shared with us some of the ‘certain’ appointments he intended to make. Those who were at the meeting were Otunba Daniel, Dele Alake and I. Tinubu [said] attorney-general will be Bayo Oriola.
“I shot back and said: ‘I have a better person for you’, my exact words. Tinubu was startled by my interjection. ‘He is a Law Professor and the man who drafted our company’s MOU. He crafted it in a brilliant way that protected us from the founding partners. Without this, the other shareholders would have thrown us out’, I explained.
“I also said Osinbajo had worked with prince Bola Ajibola, who was the attorney-general and minister of justice under president Babangida.
“Dele and Otunba Daniel did not oppose my nomination, surprisingly. Tinubu also appeared eager to meet the ‘wonder lawyer’ that I had just sold to him, to replace a man, who had served as the lawyer to the campaign.
“After the meeting, I went to Osinbajo’s house in Ogudu to invite him to meet the new governor, Bola Tinubu. I remember entering the apartment from the kitchen. The wife was there when I delivered the message and left the house with him, later.
“Looking back now, do I regret what I did in January 1999? Yes, I would say I have some regret, especially since my action hurt Bayo Oriola. And my apology to Oriola once again. I could not have foreseen today’s turn of events between Tinubu and Osinbajo, who I nominated to be justice commissioner.”
Meanwhile, Onanuga’s statement comes weeks after Babafemi Ojudu, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on political matters, said he nominated Osinbajo to be attorney-general under Tinubu.