‘Osinbajo presidency will harness resources to promote national interest’
National Convener of Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation (OGO), Sylvanus Foluso Ojo speaks on the yet-to-be declared presidential aspiration of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the 2023 general elections.
How has it been marketing Professor Yemi Osinbajo?
Marketing Professor Yemi Osinbajo is not difficult. We are talking of a brand that is accepted by almost every other Nigerian. He is a Vice President that is cerebral, highly intelligent, very educated, amazingly humble, loyal, indisputably compassionate and godly to a fault.
Why would someone think that it would be difficult to market that kind of a man? He has shown us that with a presidential mandate, he will do more for this country as you can see what he has done as acting president; you can see what he did in managing Nigeria’s diversity; what he has done with the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), what he has done with even the National Economic Team that he chairs, and the testimonies coming even from people outside of his party – the APC.
Osinbajo is a household name; a man that is accepted in Sokoto the same way he’s received in Akwa Ibom; a good product that doesn’t come with any baggage or scandal; and gladly, the responses from Nigerians have been so inspiring. The responses show that this man is loved by everyone, and if, eventually, he decides to throw in his hat to seek the mandate of Nigerians for their support to become president, they will support him.
Many believe the Vice President has not received the blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari…
Well, you’re the one telling me this, and it means you’re in the inner chamber with these leaders. But the truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari is a democrat, and we are talking of a Vice President he has worked with for close to seven years now. They see almost every other day and exchange ideas on the nation, direction of government and policies. So we cannot begin to speculate what happens between them.
We, however, know one thing, that these people have the best of relationship, they work as friends, like an elder brother to his younger brother. So, we may not really know what is happening between them as they don’t need the media to define their relationship. But I want to believe that if the Vice President has made up his mind, and has briefed the President about his intention to succeed him, it’s not going to be a publicity stunt. I am sure that the President would not discourage his Deputy.
His leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is consulting widely. Don’t you think there will be a clash of interest?
We have heard this for some time, and we heard this theory of betrayal and clash of interest, depending on who you are talking to. Well, if you are saying that the Vice President’s interest to become the president of Nigeria is going to be a clash of interest, then it is as good as saying Asiwaju Tinubu that we all know does not believe in democracy. He has been a leader who worked with people in close contacts, and these persons are becoming the best in what they do.
If these individuals have honed their skills and ability to possess those qualities that are needed to serve the country in any capacity to be compared with what he can offer, I think Asiwaju Tinubu should feel proud and honoured that these people that once passed through him have delivered and served creditably and that their services are needed in a capacity where he’s showing interest. Sincerely, he should sit back and bless them.
Regardless, there’s nothing stopping the National Leader of the APC or the Vice President from seeking to become anything they are constitutionally qualified for in Nigeria.
Race for 2023 is on. How do you foresee the political landscape?
Yes, there are fears that certain development will not allow elections to hold but I can tell you that elections will hold peacefully as the government will do everything possible to curb the insecurity in the nation before that time; and I’m sure that if other tiers of government from the state to local governments will work together, a lot will be done to achieve this. There will be crisis-free elections and winners will emerge; Nigeria will have a new president on May 29, 2023 by the grace of God.
We will continue to have challenges as a nation, that is the essence of government, but the 2023 general elections is going to give us another opportunity to elect leaders at different tiers of government, so all of us must be looking towards to a better governed nation from the leaders from who we can demand accountability. Let us identify them and elect them.
What has been the experience coming up with the Osinbajo grassroots mobilisation group?
We started propagating the activities of the Osinbajo Grassroots Organisation (OGO) three years ago, and we are targeting the grassroots. When we started, some people thought it was a child’s play when we started calling on the Vice President to run for the office of the president.
First, let me start by saying, I am the happiest person in this country, because I have been vindicated. Vindicated in the sense that, when I started the call for Osinbajo presidency, I faced a lot of challenges. People called me different names. Even some people working directly with the Vice President were so uncomfortable then. And I wouldn’t blame them. Anytime I bring out something about Osinbajo presidency, it gets back to their table, it gives them extra task to defend and let people know Osinbajo is not doing this.
They will just tell me, are you the one to tell Osinbajo to contest? But I kept on doing what I believe in. Today, the voices of those abusing me then are now louder than mine in asking for the Osinbajo presidency. All of them are on this project. All of us are now doing it together.
But what do you think will happen if the VP declines?
I don’t want to believe he is not going to come out. What I have seen about the Vice President since I have been following his activities is that he is very systematic; he believes in the process. He is not just going to come out because he wants to come out. All of us are crying, begging him to come out and contest and I know he will listen to us. I am optimistic that he will come out, he will declare, he will contest and we are going to support him to win the election. It’s not his calling; it’s our calling. We believe that as President, Prof. Osinbajo will harness all the resources and rejig the system to work towards the interest of Nigeria rather than the interest of individuals.
With his vast experience in the academics, law, governance and administration, Prof. Osinbajo has fashioned out many programmes that will effectively address the challenges confronting this nation. No doubt, he will be a bridge between the old and the new, between the North and the South, between the East and the West. He will be a connecting valve among all religious beliefs.