Tunde Bakare, the senior pastor of the Citadel Global Community Church, has recalled how a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, turned down an application to be President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in 2011, the Daily Post reports.
Pastor Bakare, who was telling the story of how he met and became Buhari’s running mate in 2011, said he listened to Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s advice before agreeing to race with Buhari.
Bakare said that President Buhari had called him, requesting that he (Bakare) find him a running mate from the south because Nigeria’s structure makes it difficult for one to win the presidential elections without a north-south handshake.
The cleric said that the current vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Oby Ezekwesili, Jimi Agbaje, the current Minister of Commerce and Industry, Niyi Adebayo, were among those he contacted to work with Buhari at the time.
He said that while Agbeje dropped along the line, Ezekwesili, whom Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, helped him contact (Bakare), refused to run with Buhari.
“But Pastor Adeboye told me that he (Buhari) would need a strong Christian to be his running mate. I told him that Oby is strong too; he said no, that she should not leave certainty due to uncertainty because at that time she worked at the World Bank ”. Pastor Bakare said quoted by the sun.
He said Buhari insisted he wanted the Southwest’s largest grassroots activist as a running mate and “On January 15, 2011, at 12 noon, my phone rang, it was Buhari. He said: Pastor, I had prayed the way I know how to pray, and I want you to pray too, I want you to be my running mate.
“I told him… that I will never seek elected office or join a political party. He said I should pray about it and call him back in seven hours, I didn’t call him.
“I called Pastor Adeboye and informed him, he said that was it and that he already said that Buhari needs a strong Christian and that I am the man and I must go there.
“I consulted across the board and signed up on the last day to become his running mate. Of course, we did not win the elections. “