“He wants to be seen as some sort of hero and the personification of virtue and ethics for a new Nigeria. But he is not.”
These are the words of Shaka Momodu in his piece against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Without joining issues with the author of the write-up, if a ‘hero’ is simply defined as a person who is admired for his or her courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities, then the Vice President’s antecedents in his public and private life, clearly dismisses the writer’s irrational allusions.
Prof. Osinbajo’s steady rise and activities from the classroom, private legal practice, activism and the pulpit, to the exalted office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is an example that many who have known him through the years, have spoken glowingly about.
Contrary to the writer’s views, Prof. Osinbajo has never spoken gloriously about himself or vocation at any forum and has also never portrayed himself as a hero. It’s therefore baffling for anyone to situate an argument around the Vice President’s portrayal of a heroic status, except for the show of jealousy and character assassination exhibited in the write-up in view.
On his eagerness to impress his principal, It is pertinent to note that the Buhari administration’s gains on the economic front and stand on corruption goes beyond making a false impression as the writer has put it. In the first place, President Buhari gained the most support from Nigerians, in the race to the presidency, on account of his incorruptible nature and uncompromised integrity. So, the argument that the government was making frantic efforts to impress the world to believe that it is prudent and abhors corruption is rather a figment of the writer’s imagination.
For the avoidance of doubt, several policies of the Buhari administration, clearly depicts its posture on corruption and related vices. The government’s effective implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the blocking of leakages in the system, strict adherence to due process in the award and execution of contracts and the unusual drive in the fight against corruption are obviously not good news to corrupt persons that hitherto benefited from the old order, hence the impression that the government’s anti-corruption stand and drive is imaginary.
Also, the unprecedented rise in Nigeria’s foreign reserves from $28.6 billion as at May 2015 to $47.37 billion by April 2018 is an evidence of the administration’s prudent management of resources.
So, whatever the Vice President has listed as the gains of the administration were based on facts and were never meant to attract cheap publicity or support from anyone but an account of the stewardship of the administration under difficult circumstances.
In all his remarks, thoughts and actions on what the present administration has done and is doing, in the economy, security sector and fight against corruption, Prof. Osinbajo has remained very consistent. The allusions indicating that his comments have not been consistent with some actions of government is erroneous cannot be substantiated.
A cursory look at his remarks on government programmes on anti-corruption, revamping the economy and tackling insecurity, at different forum are all based on facts and cannot be dismissed as the writer wants many to believe.
Contrary to the writer’s crooked interpretation of Prof. Osinbajo’s disposition to both private and public conduct, the Vice President has never portrayed himself as a tough character.
Unfortunately for the writer, Prof. Osinbajo prefers a quiet and humble lifestyle than a boastful and egocentric one, as suggested by the writer. Despite his academic and professional qualifications, the Vice President carries himself as a noble Nigerian that sees himself first as a human being. His humble persona has today become a model of emulation that many office holders both at home and abroad have alluded to.
Then the writer talks about public evidence of malfeasance going on under this government. But the question is what malfeasance? Is it that the Buhari presidency is nearing its third year, yet the only criticism of the government in the area of anti-corruption is that it has been selective, as if to say, those being investigated or prosecuted did not commit the crimes or the allegations levelled against them were only meant to intimidate or cow them to do the bidding of the government in power.
The other point is that, after three years in office, it is difficult to identify mind-blowing corruption incidences that have characterized government dealings as was the case in the previous administration.
As far as corruption is concerned, President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo have both been the most vocal leaders in the history of Nigeria. These, they have demonstrated in all their utterances and actions, and again, government policies have aligned to this stand.
It is on record that the Buhari government maintains a zero tolerance for corruption as persons serving in the government and indicted for indulging corruption are being prosecuted or investigated by the relevant authorities.
The writer also describes Osinbajo’s visits to airports, markets and filling stations as publicity stunts, but the truth is Vice President Osinbajo’s tours to public places such as airports, markets, filling stations, etc. truly redefine effective leadership and one that is not only result-oriented but motivational. It is okay for anyone to contend that they were all publicity stunts but the results that followed such visits are all evident for all to see today – the improved services at the airports, feedbacks from the markets to improve ease of doing business, the stabilized petrol supply system, cannot be seen as mere publicity stunts as they are tangibles that Nigerians have continued to benefit from on a daily basis.
It is however heartwarming to note that the writer admitted that the visits addressed the underlying problems of mismanagement and lack of maintenance, again, by previous governments.
Clearly, the visit to airports has improved service delivery at the airports which contributed to the gains Nigeria recorded in the last ease of doing business rating released by the World Bank. The filling station visits, as the writer is aware, was meant to gauge the pulse of Nigerians in the wake of the fuel scarcity crisis and to monitor the implementation of measures initiated by government at the particular time. All these depict the entrenchment of effective leadership by the present administration.
To suggest that the Vice President is an hypocrite or that his hypocrisy is getting bigger by the day is a joke. It is obvious that Prof. Osinbajo’s courageous and consistent voice against corruption and corrupt tendencies has not augured well with the strong and mighty in some quarters. It is not a surprise at all that labels such as a ‘hypocrite’ and a ‘liar’ have been stamped on the Vice President which an evidence of corruption fighting back, but good enough, he has never been distracted or even bothered by such dissenting voices and remarks. It is a known fact that, in the face of adversity and glaring opposition, Prof. Osinbajo has maintained his frankness in his views and thoughts about the polity and situations.
Besides, it is the Vice President who is being labeled because of his, loyalty to a leadership that depicts honesty, integrity and humility, and commitment to improving the welfare of the masses; refusal to be dragged into the deceitful debates couched in religious and ethnic contentions.
That the writer would defend the looters list shows what he stands for and who he is. Arguably, no anti-corruption fight can be said to be completely perfect or even objective given the peculiarities of the conditions and situations under which the investigations were conducted.
The argument that the looters’ list released by the government was partisan and therefore an exoneration of the offenders is laughable and only speaks volume of the deceit that officials of the last government has continued to feed Nigerians with. What should matter to any progressive-minded person is the amount stolen by a few individuals in just a short period of time. As the Vice President has always said, “No nation can survive the shocks from the stealing of resources in the magnitude that Nigeria witnessed under the last administration.”
For the writer to say Osinbajo’s pastoral morality had served as a cover for hypocrisy is ludicrous. The assertion that Osinbajo’s morality, whether pastoral or otherwise, as a cover for hypocrisy will fail, can best be described as mere political hallucinations ahead of the elections in 2019 as his morality clearly stands him out among the current breed political elites in the country. Those who know the Vice President very well cannot seriously refer to him as a hypocrite or liar because he is never know to shy away from the truth.
Even among fellow preachers of the Gospel, Prof. Osinbajo has been consistent with his messages about peaceful coexistence, stand against corruption and the true position of government policies and programmes.
To say Osinbajo is tied to the apron strings of Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State is just not true. But for his free mindedness and strength of character, Prof. Osinbajo would clearly not have been selected as President Buhari’s running mate in 2014 and he has proven time and again to be a man of himself and his words.
And just the same way not every official of the previous administration are being prosecuted for corrupt activities, not all officials of every administration whether at the state or federal level can be said to have corruptly enriched him or herself.
It is also on record that no commission of inquiry or court in Nigeria has indicted Bola Tinubu of indulging corruption hence the question about Prof. Osinbajo’s culpability as far as fraud is concerned does not even arise in the first place.
Moreover, Prof. Osinbajo’s tenure as Attorney-General of Lagos state has not been blighted in anyway by acts of fraud. Instead, his tenure is remembered for the revolutionary reforms in the state judiciary that later became a model for other states and even the Federal Government.
Again, the writer seem to be the only one in contemporary Nigeria with the view that Prof. Osinbajo lacks the initiative of a leader, a notion, even his greatest critics, will disagree. Without delving into the realms of what qualities a true leader should poses, Prof. Osinbajo’s humility has over time overwhelmed even people in the opposition. This he exemplified in different places he visited and in various forums.
To put it succinctly, Prof. Osinbajo is learned, humble, caring, thorough, hardworking, courageous, steadfast, prayerful, committed and loyal to the causes he believes in, these, I believe are the hallmark of a true and committed leader.
To say that under his watch as the acting president, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, issued a reckless six-month ultimatum to people of Igbo extraction and he did nothing is another. Many have rightly argued that Nigeria did not plunge into anarchy under the watch of the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo due largely to the manner in which he handled the ultimatum issued by some northern youths to Igbos living in the north. One now wonders why any sane mind would conclude that he failed the country at that particular time or at any point in time at all.
The issue of the NNPC approvals has been addressed even by the parties themselves (NNPC management and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources) and the Vice President himself in an interview with journalists also cleared the air on the matter, so responding to the allusions of the writers would only be stoking a tired old horse to run.
The writer also claimed that Osinbajo has so far failed to utter any statement of condemnation, until this week’s killings in Benue. Like we all know, the farmers-herders conflict is a very sensitive issue that must be handled carefully and should not be a subject of some careless, frivolous commentaries as the assertions made by the writer.
As they say, “actions speak louder than words”. The Vice President’s intervention in the farmers-herders conflict has indeed been commendable. Commendable in the sense that, he is more prompted and motivated in finding lasting solutions to the problem than adopting the cosmetic measure of condemning the acts, as writer and many of Prof. Osinbajo’s critics had sought from him.
In the resurgence of the crisis across the country, the Vice President visited Adamawa and Kaduna states, he has held talks with different groups in the affected areas, and most importantly, he chairs a committee working on finding lasting solutions to the conflict.
So, how much more could he have done that could be more effective than the steps he took and is still taking in addressing the conflict.
It is sarcastic to assume that the Vice President is comfortable with the present situation of killings in the country as clearly no sane mind would value the lives of cow over humans.
But as already stated, government is adopting measures that will hopefully and permanently end the conflict.
The writer then criticized Osinbajo for saying Buhari’s appointments were in favour of the South. Since Buhari’s appointments comprise of human being that are known and can be seen or traced to states and not just names that don’t exist, the writer should have at embarked on a fact-finding mission. So, the unending debate that the Vice President’s comments are untrue should not arise in the first place.
If the Vice President says the appointments favours the South, then it actualy favours the South because his arguments are based on facts and not mere conjectures. The facts are open for all to see, it is therefore an insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians for anyone to dispute the facts as the appointees are easily verifiable. Onus rests on doubters to crosscheck the appointees and their states of origin.
To say no man has ever succeeded in separating himself from his shadow, is saying Osinbajo wants to change who he is. The Vice President has never tried to separate himself from his shadow, as he has always said, “I remain a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, am only on loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria,’’. He has always associated himself with the Christian community and individuals, attending forums organized by different denominations across the country. He has also regarded himself as an illustrious son of the Southwest region and has attended important forums organized for and by states in the region.
Nathaniel C Adoji