Sunday , June 16 2024

CONSOLIDATING ON THE GAINS OF BUHARI’S ADMINISTRATION: OSINBAJO’S LEADING EDGE

By Babatunde Obele

Speaking during his presidential declaration speech on the 11th of April, Mr. Vice President, Prof. Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, brought to the fore one of his most distinguishing credentials, which gives him a leading edge amongst the list of other presidential aspirants who have shown interest so far, especially those under the leading party, —the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In the first and second paragraphs of that insightful speech, he stated the following; “In 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.”

Any independent observer who has had some deep reflections on that speech will come to the same conclusion that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s experience as the Vice President under Buhari’s Administration gives him a leading edge in consolidating on the gains of the administration. It’s as simple as that!When one further considers his unwavering sense of loyalty to Mr. President, his rigorous erudition and professionalism, his stern discipline and proven integrity in the discharge of his constitutionally assigned duties, one would better understand why he chose to begin that historic speech by projecting those sterling qualifications.

To begin with, those are not experiences anyone could purchase with money. They are earned through diligence and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo having earned it meritoriously, has every right to display it on the mountain top. Even though he has an intimidating resume as a thoroughbred professional — a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria — his experience as the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under Buhari sets him far apart from the rest. Ever since he made that bold declaration to run for the office of the President, there have been series of unwarranted attacks on the man’s personality, some even going as far as questioning why he said he wants to complete what he started with his principal, — President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

Those political schemers were hoping that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will fall for their bait by disconnecting his aspiration from Buhari’s Presidency, an administration he has served so diligently for the past seven years. But they were highly disappointed because Prof Osinbajo, being a faithful deputy, chose the path of honour in boldly declaring that he would consolidate on the gains of Buhari’s Administration. But, come to think of it, how can anyone who truly understands the unity of purpose and spirit, the cordiality and shared vision that exist between President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, expect the Vice President to take a totally different path? Only the politically naïve can imagine such possibility!

It is a fact that President Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo have managed to bring some level of dignity and stability to the presidency by their uncommon harmonious working relationship. For those who understand the dynamics of power, especially at the Presidential level, they know that maintaining a cordial working relationship between the President and his Vice requires a higher level of wisdom, based on high measure of emotional intelligence from both the President and his Vice.

Unlike what obtained in the past, we have not heard or seen any political drama in the Villa as a result of a misunderstanding between President Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for the past seven years. Only the alignment of the mind and spirit can guarantee that result. These are realisms that distinguish great minds from the average ones.

This unity of the mind and spirit has helped them to “remain focused on securing the country, providing infrastructure, and growing our economy” —a phrase that encapsulates the three cardinal points of their administration. One would better appreciate the real meaning of focus in the above context when one considers that they have managed to keep our nation on a growth trajectory irrespective of the fact that the global economy has gone through some very turbulent times which sent socio-economic shockwaves across nations of the world.

For those who may have forgotten, it is important that we remind them that the 2016 recession was triggered by oil price collapses as well as production outages caused by militancy in the Niger Delta such that Nigeria was exporting less than 1m barrels of oil a day, down from its usual production levels of 2.2m barrels a day. Then, there was the second recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which was also beyond the control of domestic authorities.

In both instances and partly due to domestic policy actions, the recessions were short-lived. After 5 quarters of negative growth and falling to a nadir of -2.2%, growth was restored to the economy by the 2nd quarter of 2017. This was due to policy actions in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), chaired by the Vice President, who also played a mediative role towards restoring peace to the Niger Delta. The COVID-19 recession was similarly short lasting for two quarters and falling by as much as 6.1%. This recovery was again due to government’s policy actions especially the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which pivoted the growth of the economy in the second quarter of 2021 by as much as 5.01% and by 4.03% in the third quarter 2021. Of course, the roles played by Osinbajo in the formulation and implementation of ESP are in the public domain.

The foregoing facts, will, perhaps, help anyone who was in doubt on why Mr. Vice President said that he with the President have “together, worked through some of the most difficult times in the history of our nation,” — an undisputable fact for those who love our nation and respect the sanctity of truth. When one goes further to consider the fact that Buhari’s administration has set an unprecedented record in our national infrastructural development trajectory, not to talk of leading the most ambitious Social Investment Programme in Africa, one would better appreciate why Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is better prepared to consolidate on the gains of Buhari’s administration.

Whether one talks about “transforming our security and intelligence architecture, completing the reform of our justice system focusing on adequate remuneration and welfare of judicial personnel, ensuring justice for all and the observance of rule of law, rapidly advancing our infrastructure development, especially power, roads, railways and broadband connectivity, providing an excellent environment for businesses to thrive, taking the agriculture revolution to the next level especially mechanization and developing the farm to table value chain, making sure that the government, its agencies and regulators serve the business community, creating a tech economy that will provide jobs for millions; enhancing our Social Investment Programme to a full-scale social welfare scheme, completing the promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within this decade, completing the task of ensuring that all Nigerians, male and female, attend school, reforming our educational system for relevance to the challenges of this century, completing the task of universal health coverage for all, or strengthening the capacity of States and Local Governments to deliver on their respective mandates, ” Prof. Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, SAN, GCON is the man for the job.

Obele, a sociologist, wrote in from Abuja.

About Ayinla Muritala

Agbede is a seasoned Journalist with more than a decade experience as the fourth estate of the realm. He is a graduate of Mass Communication from the Univeristy of Ilorin and currently freelance with few of the Nigerian Dailies.

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