Osinbajo’s Presidency: Between Treachery and Call for Service by Akeem Adebiyi
Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Akeem Adebiyi, writes on the notion in some quarters that the prospective presidential ambition of Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo is an affront on the former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The issues on ground are beyond feigned treachery or back-stabbing. Rather, our people should rise above sheer pettiness and malicious campaigns to impugn the character of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
It can be reasonably inferred that the vice president's presidential bid is a positive response to the divine and clarion calls to serve in that capacity and not of his own making. Really, there are no hard and fast rules regarding the intra-party electoral contest asides bonafide membership of the party. In this circumstance, treachery, master-servant relationship, and the related sentiments should be brushed aside to lend credence to the genuineness of the matter at hand.
At this juncture, it is worth stressing the fact that the commonest feature of constitutional democracy is competition in form of electoral contest. And, this is undoubtedly the most interesting and intriguing aspect of the project.
In Nigeria's political history, cases abound in which the siblings in the opposing political camps engaged in electoral contests against one another. Relevant examples are the Late Dosumu brothers from Lagos. Also, we once heard of Ikoku's family - Father contested against the son in the old South Eastern region of Nigeria.
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Furthermore, there was a case of the Sarakis in Kwara state. The older Saraki (father) brought his son, Bukola Saraki to political limelight through his election as the Executive Governor of Kwara state for two consecutive terms. When it was time to choose a successor, the father opted for Bukola's younger sister, Gbemisola Saraki, to become the next governor.
However, Bukola's choice was Abdul-Fatah Ahmed. So, both candidates went to the polls using different political parties. The rest is history. Shittabeys of Lagos, - Sikiru and Rasheed were in the opposing political parties. They were from the same parents. They introduced maturity and civility to the inter-party electoral contest during the second republic. Constitutional democracy is a flexible game where intrigues are often misconstrued as treachery and betrayal.
Whereas, in any competitive game, opponents do not disclose their winning tactics or strategies to each other. Hence, the more the competition, the more pleasant and interesting the exercise becomes.
Other related cases exist and they are too numerous to mention. In all these scenarios, there were no hues and cries. The dramatis personae weighed in favour of civility and true sportsmanship spirit.
The vice president has not run foul of any moral or political rule. And it must be asserted that the serial campaigns of calumny and vilification being unleashed by some hirelings against Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, qualifying his prospective shot at the presidency as being symptomatic of betrayal of trust against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu have no basis in modern practical politics and tenets of democracy.
Genuine destiny helpers hardly recant or regret their good deeds to their beneficiaries. It is only God that repays a benefactor in His own way. In retrospect, Late Ahmadu Bello once recommended and installed Late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as Nigeria's Prime minister. Late Prof. B. J. Dudley was once a teacher and mentor to Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi. When the former was approached by the military government to serve as the Director-General of NIIA, he declined, but, nominated and recommended the latter for the appointment in that capacity Later, his good performances at that level earned him another appointment as a minister in charge of foreign affairs. In the cases under reference, the master benefactors made no issues out of the whole saga.
It is on record, that Prince Bola Ajibola, a former jurist at ICJ in Hague, actually laid a solid foundation for Osinbajo's rise to stardom. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was once a special assistant to the old man. I am yet to come across a situation where the old man had cause to make reference to his benevolence.
Yet, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had acknowledged the immense contributions of Tinubu to his political growth and relevance at different fora. To the discerning minds, who have been paying noticeable attention to the systematic and meteoric rise of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in politics, they can't be surprised at his latest move to have a shot at Nigeria's presidency. Ordinarily, he sees the development as a call to serve humanity and not to fulfill a selfish or populist agenda.
Regrettably, Nigeria's constitutional democracy is just evolving. Hence, her democratic culture is yet to assume a definite shape despite its prebendal nature. In a sane clime, there ought not to have been an alternative to Prof. Yemi Osinbajo's presidential aspiration in all fronts. Yes, he is the most qualified judging by all the parameters. In 2023, he must have spent good eight years as the Vice President of Nigeria. Therefore, he must have acquired better administrative skills of governance at that level. It is no gainsaying, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is imbued with the zest and ethos of the political administration of a state having garnered relevant experience in that area for several years. Today, he stands metres taller than his co-competitors by dint of his membership of three constituencies viz; law practice, academics, and a popular spiritual base.
Besides, he is able and competent, intellectually endowed, has a vast knowledge of the law and the economy, not controversial, and free from legal encumbrances. He shall, no doubt, put all these useful attributes to bear in achieving successful governance of Nigeria.
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