The Osinbajo declaration
SIR: Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s declaration speech released early Monday morning is one of the most inspiring messages from a Nigerian leader in recent memory, and it reflects the depth of his thoughts, preparedness to lead and the scope of his experience in the Buhari administration. Nigerians have come to admire the Vice President for his erudition and elocution, but his seven-minute broadcast that morning puts him in a class away from the crowd.
Obviously, the VP plans to run on the theme of continuity, banking on his deep experience and expecting to extend the scope of the achievements of the government he has served so passionately in the last seven years. He opened his speech with an unmistakable expression of admiration for his boss and approval of the work they have done together.
‘’For the past seven years, I have served as Vice President under a true Nigerian patriot, a servant of the nation in war and peace, and a man of integrity, President Muhammadu Buhari. We have, together, worked through some of the most difficult times in the history of our nation, but we have remained focused on securing the country, providing infrastructure and growing our economy’’, the VP said.
Acknowledging your boss is one of the cardinal principles in leadership. You ignore it; you pay for it. In 2000, Al Gore, the U.S. Vice President under President Bill Clinton, lost that year’s election to George W. Bush partly because the VP had distanced himself from the Clinton legacy despite the huge achievements of the administration. Al Gore had erroneously assumed that the Lewinsky scandal that engulfed the Clinton presidency in its last days would mar his electoral chances if he did not step away. He turned out to be wrong. Americans were willing to forgive Clinton because he did so well in office.
Many Nigerians would be glad to note that under the Osinbajo administration, there would be no abandoned projects as he will focus on completing ‘’what we have started.”
One of the fascinating aspects of Osinbajo’s declaration is his use of ICT to convey his message. Releasing his recorded video simultaneously on all platforms makes it the first time a Nigerian politician has taken to social media to launch his campaign. Recall that the VP is also the first Nigerian public official to use teleprompter regularly to make his speeches. His style is in tune with modern democratic practices around the world. In the last seven years, he has deepened the use of ICT in government.
The VP’s style is cost effective, more efficient and a smarter way to communicate in this modern age. Again, I salute Prof Osinbajo for the clarity of his message, the modernity of his method and the hope of his coming. This is a man for this moment.