Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Abdullahi O. Haruna, writes on the recent media reports surrounding Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, stating that efforts to rubbish his efforts by some Nigerians would not hold water, due to his contributions and commitment to Nigeria's growth.
That Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is the most loyal vice president in the chequered history of Nigeria’s democracy is to state the obvious. However, the renowned professor of law, the venerated pastor of one of the biggest denominational churches in the world and the politician without blemish is not only known for his loyalty, but he is also the most learned, the most versatile and the most useful vice president the country has ever produced.
No doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari’s selection of Osinbajo as a tested and trusted ally was not done in error or in happenstance; daily happenings even reinforce this fact. The enviable conviviality between the duo does not come to people as a surprise because both individuals share some semblances – their humane dispositions, commitment to doing what is right, and their display of sincerity and integrity signify a perfect match.
In the history of democracy in Nigeria, Osinbajo is a cypress among pliant shrubs; he stands out among his contemporaries. He stands out in terms of resourcefulness and reliability in helping to steer the ship of nation building under the leadership of President Buhari in times of peace and in times of turbulence as they often happen. It's no exaggeration, too, that Osinbajo remains one of the most cerebral Nigerians to have occupied the position of vice president within the context of the country's embrace of democracy.
As a symbol of peace, Osinbajo’s words are like a soothing balm that heals the wound of the past created by marginalisation, discrimination, bigotry, and nepotism. He is the bridge between the ruling class and the ordinary Nigerians who had been neglected, abandoned and relegated to the background by successive governments. Past governments created unbreakable barricade around themselves; they only strolled out of their comfort zones during elections while throwing carrots at them, making empty promises in place of succour only to vaporise into the thin air after getting their votes.
Ordinary Nigerians are those who stand under the scorching sun or get drenched by heavy downpour of heavenly bliss to register for their Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) or stand on the queue endlessly to cast their votes during elections. They were however placed on the fringe of governance, as dividends of democracy always elude them. The present government has emancipated this all important group that were rob-off their entitlements, and ostracised from the mainstream of governance. Vice President Osinbajo is a symbol of that emancipation, as he traverses the nooks and crannies of this country, giving people hope in place of despair.
It is true that ordinary Nigerians remain the greatest beneficiaries of this government and Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo has been one of the messengers through which these benefits are delivered to these once-neglected folks. There is no doubt, the current National Social Investment (SIP) initiated by this government is the most effective and efficient in the history of this country. From the N-Power to National Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and Government Enterprises Entrepreneurship Programme (GEEP), Nigerians know that this is the first time that those for whom social programmes are designed are equally the beneficiaries.
For record’s sake, Goodluck Jonathan’s Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme otherwise known as SURE-P which was meant to reinvest the federal government savings from fuel subsidy removal on critical infrastructural projects and social safety programmes was the surest means of whetting the insatiable appetites of the corrupt individuals in high places; those marauders of Aso Rock corridors, who, like vultures, always haunted for carcasses. No doubt, SURE-P was a complete ruse, as the funds meant for it, found their permanent abode in private coffers. If SURE-P stood for anything, it was a sure corruption.
Does anyone need a retelling that the national economic management team under the leadership of the vice president was responsible for guiding the country out of the turbulence occasioned by an economic recession that almost got the country completely paraly*zed? Recall that the economic team of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, which plunged the nation into the abyss of recession, was led by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, an expert in finance and economics. During this inglorious era, there were a series of rhetoric on diversification and revitalization which ended up an illusion. Instead, what the nation witnessed were some voodoo growth figures that did window dressing but in reality, left us perpetually attached to the apron of the zero-sum and precarious oil economy.
However, it was Professor Osinbajo, an expert in law and jurisprudence and a non-economist that led the nation out of the recession. Were it not his diligence and commitments in rallying the private and public sectors of the economy together, the country would have been completely grounded. He provided the needed leadership with the express permission of President Buhari who trusts his capacity to deliver even on the most arduous task. Although not an economist, Osinbajo’s perfect blend of intelligence, perspicacity, and sincerity has ridiculed economists and financial experts; he succeeded where some economists and financial experts had woefully failed.
Osinbajo is a committed Buharist, and his stainless loyalty to this government is borne out of his undiluted love for this country. Like his boss, President Buhari, he is committed to positioning the country for greater prosperity, through selfless leadership. Even though the world knows this, the naysayers who are still not tired of the wailing manacle around their necks, believe he has not done much. But we ask, what else do they want from Vice President Osinbajo?
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