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Understanding Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

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The Editor of the Guardian, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo

I am trying to understand Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Often, he speaks out of character.

That is, he talks as if he is Vice President before he is a professor of law, even when I know that the latter comes first.

The man wasn’t like this when he was the attorney general of Lagos State and a teacher at the Law Faculty of the University of Lagos. Then, his statements were measured and as a seasoned lawyer, based on facts.

But today, Osinbajo is sounding like Adams Oshiomhole, a union leader, who by the grace of God, became governor of Edo State for eight years. The revelations about big thefts in the economy had come more from Adams than even Ibrahim Magu, chairman of the EFCC.

It was Adams who said former petroleum minister; Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke alone stole 13 billion British pounds from the national treasury.

That is like saying she stole in raw cash almost twice as much as the entire fortune of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and whose worth in 2017 was put at a paltry $12.2 billion by Forbes Magazine.

What exactly is driving Prof Osinbajo into talking like a not-so-educated union leader? This is most worrisome. As an Acting President while Buhari was away on medical vacation, he was acclaimed to have done very well.

The country was not as chaotic as it is today under his 105 days reign as chief executive officer.

The amorphous cabal in Aso Rock could not have its way against him. For instance, in spite of the clear intentions of the cabal, to the contrary, he had submitted the name of Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as the Chief Justice of Nigeria. This was very commendable.

He worked in those 105 days fixing things and not giving reasons why the national situation was hopeless. And so, what has happened since the return of Buhari to make the VP act far less than himself?

Maybe the VP is hungry for something we do not know. But it cannot be hunger for bread. I shall therefore start by eliminating the factors. Apart from being a professor of logic, the man as a pastor of the Redeem Christian Church of God is also an ambassador of truth.

At 60 plus, Prof. Osinbajo is much closer to the finishing line than he is to the starting point. We can comfortably call him an elder that should even die for the truth. Unfortunately, he is not even ready to skip a meal for the truth.

Let’s probe further. Osinbajo made a declaration in the beginning of this dispensation that put him far ahead of President Buhari in wealth accumulation. In addition to some millions in naira and stock, he declared about one million dollars in bank deposit.

In about three years of foreign trips as number two citizen, with the attendant accruals from BTAs (Basic Travelling Allowances), I expect that to have built up by at least 50 per cent to about $1.5 million. Accruals from other legitimate sources outside BTAs would have come on stream too to further swell the initial deposit.

Conservatively, let’s say that the initial dollar deposit has more than doubled to $ 2 million. This is not chicken feed even by the standards of the United States.

Whoever has this packed in a bank vaults is a rich man and if for any reason the Vice President, as his principal, is averse to capital or real sector investment, that amount in money market investment can generate enough to meet his purposes.

I know too that the VP runs a modest family. His wife, Dolapo, is the granddaughter of the late political sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. She doesn’t seem to be looking for anything in Aso Rock.

In fact, she appears burdened by the attendant limelight of her husband’s position and wants this whole thing called Buhari/Osinbajo Presidency to end fast so that she can return to her real self.

She is the most modest of VP wives that I have seen and Yemi cannot be under any pressure making her happy. Penultimate week, their daughter, Oludamilola got married to one Seun Bakare.

Much as the media wanted it big, the couple by their modest attitudes scaled down things and made it look like a wedding between the children of two unpaid school teachers in Osun State.

It hasn’t finished. I want to say here that before he became VP, Professor Osinbajo was a provincial (high ranking) pastor of the Redeem Christian Church God in Banana Island.

I may have to explain Banana Island to people outside Lagos. It is not a place where banana is cultivated. It is a place where a plot of land sells for about N500 million.

Evidently, only the super rich live in Banana Island and if Prof. Osinbajo lives in Banana Island, by what philosophers call deductive reasoning, he is super rich, no matter the pretentions to cover that fact.

Osinbajo is materially well off and the tendency in him to overstate or understate facts to create whatever impression for a hidden purpose cannot be linked with a quest to remain in government to have more opportunities to make more money. Something else is motivating him and we have to find that out.

The same Osinbajo had told Nigerians that Southerners and Christians are more favoured in the Buhari administration than Northerners and Moslems.

He had sourced some statistics to say that across the political and bureaucratic spectrums, the former are more in government positions than the latter.

Even if that were true, Osinbajo was far less than sincere in his intention. He did not disaggregate to establish what percentage of influence and power the so-called huge southern population wields in a government, whose Security Council meetings are attended by persons from one ethno-religious hue and the Hausa language becomes at once good to conduct business at such meetings.

Last week, Osinbajo came with yet another big claim. He said that N100 billion, $295 million and $3 billion were rapidly and rapaciously stolen in the twilight of the Goodluck Jonathan’s regime and, as usual, adduced same as the sole reason the Buhari government has not moved forward on anything three years after it was birthed.

This has been the lamentation since May 29, 2015, but this time around, Jonathan found some courage to ask for proof and Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), apparently without proofs to support his claim, is pretending not to understand the elementary principle in jurisprudence that he who asserts must prove.

Like a poor district attorney, he is looking away from the core issue of law – evidence – after the allegation.

Meanwhile, everybody that is somebody has advised this government to stop the blame game and manifest its pre-electoral promises.

It has not listened and it seems as if the blaming of the PDP and Jonathan for current failures is what the APC and Buhari will present as achievement for mandate renewal in 2019.

Clearly, Osinbajo’s hunger has nothing to do with poverty in all its descriptions. He will not die of hunger if he starts this moment to talk reasonably and lose his office in the process. Maybe someone somewhere may have to tell him in Ikenne dialect that power does not endure.

What does is good or bad name. It is not the power that Pa Awolowo wielded that has endeared him to Nigerians; especially the Yoruba race decades after his death. It is his good name that came from good deeds and words. The late Gen. Sani Abacha is also remembered by Nigerians and we all know why.

Everything considered, Osinbajo seems hungry for power and he is talking so that he can hold on to it and even have more. He is perhaps hoping that if he recklessly talks his way through with Buhari till 2023, his efforts will be handsomely rewarded with the ultimate price.

He will be thoroughly disappointed even in 2019.

The power calculus is most times Orwellian where addition or effort does not necessarily translate to corresponding value at the other end. I think Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu will be able to say more on this.

For now, I am not going to say more but to ask Prof Osinbajo to answer his name properly.


In this article:
NigeriaProf.Yemi Osinbajo
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