Osinbajo: Asset Or Liability Come 2019? By SUSAN TORTI

Prof Yemi Osinbajo

Mr Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, current Vice President of Nigeria is a diligent, human dynamo, achiever, an inter pares legal practitioner and ranking public servant who by dint of hard work rose as a Commissioner of Justice under the administration of Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos State, where he instituted, legal reforms in the judiciary. Under his watch, innovations such as electronic reporting were introduced.

Second he is a deeply religious, and ranking Pastor of the Redeemed christian church. And a very strong family man, not given to the shenanigan of marriages. Even in the midst of crushing state duties, the Prof did not forget writing love poems to the wife on their wedding anniversary.

When you juxtapose the above two rare qualities, you have an individual very close to perfection,and that is why when he emerged as President Buhari’s running mate, raving reviews from political pundits rent the air.  For all his worth, Yemi never disappointed. In instances, he was the arrow head of the APC agenda that won Buhari election. In the fight against corruption, he was very strident and visible. At a recent conference organized by Nigerian pastors, Osinbanjo pontificated and was quoted to say “The problem with Nigeria is the failure of Christians to take their rightful place. We must deal with corruption decisively. It is created by leadership elite that includes not just politicians but also religious leaders and people in the private sector. We must also deal with tribalism, religion and other parochial tendencies. It is difficult to find national leaders today. Many Nigerians speak from a tribal perspective.There is no nation on the face of the earth that would survive under the weight of corruption that our country had gone through. Nigeria’s elite, regardless of political, religious or ethnic differences, think alike. They are driven largely by the same motive.They are selfish, unprepared to make the sacrifices either in service or self-restraint that leaders ofsuccessive societies make. High-level corruption knows no religion, ethnicity or other considerations.Corrupt elements in our society are united; they fight for each other and are prepared to go down together. They are actually one tribe, indivisible despite their diversity. We have to address the issue of corruption pointedly. The system is corrupt. Corruption is generally the rule in our society. This is a time to build.”

However, his preaching and speech did not go down too well with Nigerians who felt Osinbanjo was caught on the wrong side of the controversy regarding the KACHIKWU/BARU NNPC 22 billion dollar contract shenanigan. As Acting President, he endorsed approvals  after due diligence & adherence to established procedure by saying that he specifically gave the green light, for financing arrangements for the joint Ventures between the corporation and IOC’s and not approvals for contracts. Poser is did Buhari signed the approvals on his sick bed in London, after he purportedly transmitted power to Osinbanjo.

Restructuring, which has been at the heart  of APC change agenda, has been a  matter of equivocation from Osinbajo. He drew a lot of flak from activists some few months ago when the Vice President lampooned, advocates of restructuring as “job seekers”. On the issue of Fulani herdsmen rampaging Christian communities in the middle belt and southern states, Osinbajo was not heard to condemn such genocide. How come he lost his voice? But when it comes to passing anti people policies like increasing the electricity tariffs, his voice becomes strident.

On the plus side, Osinbanjo creditably and handled adroitly, the restive Niger Delta militants, who were about to conflagrate when they threatened to commence blowing oil pipelines. With tact and adept diplomacy,he undertook a tour to the region and calmed nerves.This was against the run of play, of the military that was poised for combat action.

On a balance, would history be kind to him? he shed the toga of a side kick for a proactive kid on the political block. So Yes, it would. He is an asset.