Yemi Osinbajo…..Paying the price for the prize ahead of 2023?
By Dipo Alaje
In September 2014, when Professor Yemi Osinbajo, one of the pastors in Charge of Province in RCCG emerged as the Vice Presidential Candidate of All Progressive Congress, political analysts concluded he was appointed on a platter of gold since he had no political pedigree.
He was not a known politician and he did not play any major role in the maneuverings that produced the candidacy of Buhari as the APC flag bearer.
Osinbajo’s nomination as the Vice Presidential candidate was premised on the representation of the Christian interest and that of southwestern Nigeria. He turned out to be the GAME CHANGER. This was confirmed by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the peak of the 2015 electioneering campaign when he was reported to have said that his major challenge was the choice of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as Mahamadu Buhari’s running mate.
The Price Paid
As soon as the Buhari government settled down for governance, things took a dramatic turn. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was said to have nominated Prof. Osinbajo for the position of Vice President was sidelined. This assumption was confirmed by his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu who during an interview said her husband was’ trashed’ immediately APC won the election. A few individuals perceived to be very close to the President and referred to as the cabal took over the affairs of governance and most people concluded that Pastor Osinbajo had been reduced to an errand boy. The people around the President were not too comfortable with him because they felt he was an outsider. Meanwhile, other politicians from the Southwest especially those from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s political family, felt he was not protecting their interest well enough. Those days were indeed trying times for Osinbajo and was believed to be the first price he had to pay for venturing into politics. Some said it was his baptism of fire.
In subsequent years, the religious crisis in the country refused to abate. Christians were being killed in their hundreds. Scores of priests and Christians were reportedly killed by armed bandits referred to as Fulani Herdsmen. The most disturbing aspect was that certain group came to claim responsibility for this Mass murder of Christians and there were no arrest. There was no outright condemnation by the appropriate government authority. This made Christian leaders across the country to conclude that indeed, the heinous act had the subtle approval of some elements close to government.
What made the whole thing more disturbing for some Christians was their belief that they had a supposed representative in Vice President Osinbajo who was expected to protect their interest. They felt he had disappointed them and was not worthy of their trust anymore. A number of clerics that had hitherto expressed reservation about Buhari’s candidature felt vindicated with the turn of events. This was the second Price Professor Yemi Osinbajo had to pay. His reputation and rating was sinking fast.
The policies of Buhari’s administration under which Pastor Prof. Osinbajo was serving as Vice President resulted in massive job loss, increased rate of suicide due to depression, astronomical increase in prices of commodities. The standard of living for most Nigerians was simply at its lowest. A combination of all these made people that had voted for Buhari/Osinbajo to start having some regrets.
With this background, it was natural for people to want to show their disaffection for the government through their votes. So when the opportunity came his close neighbours: the Victoria Island and Lekki parts of Lagos did not waste time in telling him through their votes that they were not in agreement with the lack lustre nature of the APC led government. They were not also too happy with him because their cash flow has been negatively affected by the government policies which were not favourable to them. They held him responsible for their predicament, this was yet another price that he had to pay.
But before then, on two occasions within a space of seven months, Osinbajo was almost made to pay the SUPREME PRICE with his life when the helicopter he was flying in crashed-landed!!! First incident happened in Gwagwalada one of the Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory and the second one occurred in Kabba, Kogi State. Some mischievously believed the crash was arranged; that it could be traced to an insider or a fifth columnist. If he had died in the crash, the conclusion would have been that he paid the supreme price for the government of APC to remain in power.
As the election approached all stakeholders that had one grudge or the other against Osinbajo concluded that it was payback time, they made up their mind to ensure that APC does not return to governance…
A number of churches mobilized their members to vote massively against APC that had Osinbajo as its Vice Presidential candidate. This distrust perhaps informed the various prophecies that APC would lose. Indeed, during the election, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo lost in his polling unit, a clear indication that he had fallen out of favour with his own people. That was one price he had to pay in his political sojourn.
But even at that one cannot underestimate his contribution to the Buhari-led APC government. It is believed that he practically filled in the gaps for Buhari during the electioneering campaign. He was practically everywhere. On television, radio, buses, market places and even embarked on door to door campaign personally. His charisma was infectious. His charm was irresistible. It is believed rightly or wrongly that he had in abundance everything that President Buhari did not have. Though he fell out with his neighbours he went all out to ensure that votes swing in favour of his party. His reputation notwithstanding, he worked assiduously for the party’s success at the polls.
And the PRIZE……..
On 27th of March 2019, the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu declared the candidate of All Progressive Congress Muhammad Buhari and his running mate Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the elected President and Vice President of the Federal Republic Nigeria for a second term tenure. This is one victory that was won practically on the feet. Unlike when he was nominated as the Vice Presidential Candidate, this time he had to labour endlessly to ensure the victory of the party at the polls. His political acumen has thus been sharpened. Now, it can be said of him that he has paid the price for the prize.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s public office profile…
He got his first public office appointment in 1988 when he was just thirty-one years old as an assistant to the then Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola. In 1999, he was appointed as Lagos State Commissioner and Attorney General. He served for a period of 8 years during which he became a member of the Governor’s kitchen cabinet. It was on the premise of his performance that he got nominated for the position of APC Presidential running mate by the party’s National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The Ultimate PRICE.
Even when the second term of President Muhammad Buhari was yet to begin, a number of people were already being touted to take over from him at the expiration of his second term of office. One of such persons is Professor Yemi Osinbajo….
It is believed that since he would have served as the Vice President for 8years and as the person in charge of the Nigeria’s economy for the same period; it won’t be out of place for him to be compensated with the number one seat in the country.
Osinbajo is also reputed to have been Nigeria’s only Acting Vice President who acted as president for over 3 months and he gave a sterling performance which saw an improved economy, drastic reduction in pipeline vandalization in the south south region of Nigeria. The most audacious move taken by Prof. Osibajo was believed to have been the removal from office of the then Director of State Security, this action served as a testimony of Professor Yemi Osinbajo courage in the face of daunting challenges.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo no doubt would emerge as one of the most qualified Nigerians for the exalted office of the President in 2023. This many people believe would be the ultimate PRIZE for the many PRICEs of Leadership paid by him. Will this be a reality? only time will tell