Editor's note: Oladimeji Daniels, an Akure-based journalist, takes a critical look at the alleged politics in the seat of power in Nigeria leading to the travails currently being suffered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who he describes as the face of integrity in the government.
Whatever is happening with the Muhammadu Buhari administration needs to be fixed urgently. The politics of the Villa is usually mostly seen as self-interest-driven, but in a very long time, most Nigerians saw someone in the Villa they could relate with and trust, irrespective of the attendant rhetorics of Nigerian politics. Whenever push comes to shove and the chips are down, many ponder and, more often than not, hopefully there is still something to believe in, in the Buhari administration - something to make it deserve the benefit of doubt.
That something is Yemi Osinbajo. This is not because he is Yoruba like me or a pastor. Those two do not confer integrity on one. There are many lying Yorubas, as there are lying pastors. But Yemi Osinbajo radiates integrity in a simple, yet assured way. As integrity-personified as Buhari has been portrayed, there are those who say his actions run contrary to his words. Not so with Osinbajo. He is the integrity of this administration. If this administration then allows its ‘integrity’ to be tarred with cooked-up corruption allegations on the altar of politics of succession, it may as well ask us to turn our faith to satan.
It is not beyond politicians to sometimes want to make an angel look like a demon, throwing common sense to the wind in the process, but Osinbajo’s antecedents and mien do not put him in the category of someone who can be successfully tarred. In a country with politicians of questionable characters and pretend-progressives, there is hardly any ray of hope, more so when corridors of power are littered with not-well-thought-out policies. It is then saddening that dark-minded men and their spin merchants are after that ray of hope once more – men whose sole devilish pastime is to bare their poisonous fangs to truncate the nation’s progress at every developmental turnaround. They see far more than average Nigerians see and would spill blood to protect the status quo, the chaos from which they feed. Unfortunately, they are everywhere, given free rein by those who are yet to see that these characters are our common enemies and the enemies of our children unborn. From one republic to another, they keep metamorphosing and their strategy has always been a further turn of the screw for the economically and mentally ravaged masses.
They went after Obafemi Awolowo. They went after MKO Abiola. They went Murtala Muhammed. They went after Muhammadu Buhari when he was military Head of State. They are in and around every government. They are in corporate governance as well. Their lifelong duty is to never allow the good of Nigeria and to kill off whoever represents or could represent that good. Yemi Osinbajo is their target now.
This is the Yemi Osinbajo who as Lagos State Attorney-General asked his wife to return a giant refridgerator someone brought him as a gift. This is the Yemi Osinbajo who during the last campaign made sure his aides paid for their food and their hotel bills from their own pockets anytime they were outside Abuja on the campaign train. On the day their helicopter crash-landed in Kabba, they bought Yamarita from a fast food joint in Lagos to eat in Kabba.
This is the same Yemi Osinbajo who tells his aides at their quarterly meeting to never use their office for personal gains. The same Yemi Osinabjo who would work for hours on just a roll of bread and black coffee – a man who would ensure you get your dues even when he knows you are his unrepentant enemy. This is the same Yemi Osinbajo who in spite of hectic campaign routines would be back in his office in the dead of the night to work on files. He would still get on the plane in the morning, writing his own speech for his next stop on his iPad and would continue to fine-tune it during the event to adjust it to developments at such event. Unbelievably energetic at his age and out-of-this-world humble. I told people his humility humbles me and I have asked some whether the man even realizes he is the vice president of Nigeria. He makes it look so easy that I now know arrogance and false humility should have no place in power. He is not only loyal to his superiors; he is far more loyal to his subordinates. The first day I met him, he held my hand as though we had been friends for years. He exudes the power of his office not with rhetorics or vainness but with indepth brilliance and wisdom. His person exudes a higher power that only God can give. This is the power that I think he derives his humility, loyalty, integrity and competence from. This is the Yemi Osinbajo that I know. This is the Yemi Osinbajo that I believe in.
What more can a nation ask for in its vice president? What more can an administration ask for in its number two man? What more can a president ask for in his vice? This is what the hawks fear and are after, but I am a Nigerian who sees clearly, beyond their rhetorics and spin merchants.
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