OpinionPolitics

Osinbajo: The parable of a fruit bearing tree

By Abdul Mohammed

As reprehensible as the murky waters of the Nigeria politics can be, one would be shell-shocked that it still has the proclivity of breeding some politicians, activists and individuals who canonize themselves as saints; clad themselves in the garbs and regalia of pietists condemning “sinners” and canonizing the “saints”. They technically assume the sacred throne of God, dispensing judgments and discernments, while forgeting when they judge others, they do not define them, but hypocritically define themselves.

In fact, they are without character or coherence. They are those metaphoric bats who are neither rats nor birds, but always bite and hide. This tribe of hypocrites orate, sermonise and evangelise integrity from the the den of corruption.

The accusations that have been coming in torrents against the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, easily and widely regarded the best VP ever, are ones that remind one of the biblical reference of the Book of First Samuel, chapter 16, verse 11, wherein David was not more than a Shepherd boy who loved to take care of his father’s sheep, but bereft of attention from his family and even despised by his brothers or were perhaps made to feel insecure by him.

Obviously, being extraordinarily good at his duties and those delegated to him by President Muhammadu Buhari, VP Osinbajo attracts envy and bitterness from those who wished they were in his shoes. Hence what seems their desperation to mount campaign of calumny against him in the media, both the traditional and the new media. But just like David, Professor Osinbajo is comforted and strengthened by his strong faith and confidence, drawn from a good conscience. Indeed, who God has blessed, no one can curse.

Love Osinbajo or loathe him for any reason, his good deeds will remain indelible and undeletable as the Nigeria’s most vibrant Vice President ever.

One good example was the recent attempt by mischief-makers to twist his comment on the security situation in the country. They went to town to scream that the VP declared that “kidnapping is over exaggerated and not entirely new”.

But the truth of the matter is that the VP, while fielding questions in New York, only made reference to the social media as being too hysterical most times. That information disseminated on such spaces is often not verified.

His exact words: “I really will urge that you don’t rely entirely for information on social media. I think that the social media tends to be hysterical about practically everything.

“I think there is also a lot of politics involved in some of the information as it comes up.

“I think it is also important to point out that this new wave of issues of security came immediately after the elections.

“And there is always a connection between this issue of security and elections because many times, politicians’ arm several of these individuals during the electioneering period.

“Immediately after an election cycle, many of them, having nothing to do and with arms all over the place, resort to the fastest way of making money which is to abduct somebody and ask for a ransom. And that is just one side of the problem.

“But let me dimension it so that you can really understand it better.

“When people say there is security problem here and there, it is not one thing, it is several different things but if it is described as one thing then it will look bigger than it really is.

“And I am deeply worried about the fact that we might find ourselves unable to resolve these problems unless we drill down to see what the problems are.”

Now, from the foregoing, where did the Vice President deny that there was no problem or show insensitivity as the mischief-makers were trying to imply or insinuate?

Another favorite turf of these agents of misinformation and disinformation is religion. Of course, some critics of President Buhari are wont to accuse him of “Islam Agenda” rightly or wrongly. Now, without any proof or conscience, they are toiling hard to pin the label of “Christianization agenda” on the VP. This reached a rather ludicrous turn recently when the otherwise discerning columnist, Farouk Kperogi, joined in the retail of this fallacy.

In his article entitled “Pantami is my friend but he can’t be defended” (published on Saturday, April 17, 2021), the US-based writer wrote: “Yemi Osinbajo, for instance, has been accused of being an intolerant, narrow-minded Christian extremist who wallows in his Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) bubble, who employs only Yoruba people who belong to the RCCG.”

Mr. Kperogi must have penned these in a blur of incomprehension as this is acutely inaccurate. He did not hide his unfounded bias when he went further in his attempt to rehash false claims on Osinbajo in his follow-up article (on Sunday, April 18): “When You Piss Off Two Extremist Groups on Opposite Ends”.

Kperogi wrote: “The Pentecostal partisans, particularly of the RCCG crowd, are ticked off that I mentioned Yemi Osinbajo’s name in the column, even though I made it clear that while he (Osinbajo) has been accused of RCCG bigotry with solid evidence, to his credit, he hasn’t been associated with extremist and exclusivist religious rhetoric in his past homilies.”

This is another false representation of VP Osinbajo by Kperogi in his article, and that it was on a subject matter that has no remote bearing to the VP or his person, reeks of some sinister motives. But expectedly, the author was called out on social media by many Nigerians who knew better than to gulp his cock and bull tales on the VP.

It is clear that Kperogi based his ridiculous comments on the VP on another ridiculous article by one Dr Musbau Akinbode titled “Osinbajo’s Stealth Christianization Agenda”, which was a regurgitation of spurious claims made in 2017 by one Dr. Ismaila Farouk. The claims made against Osinbajo in both articles are dead in the water.

Kperogi’s comments on the VP are not only riddled with inaccuracies and outright falsehood, his attempt to subtly give wings to discredited opinions by fake news merchants should be condemned for what is it: a communication gaffe.

Overall, the salient point to note is that VP Osinbajo respects and sees everyone first as Nigerian, regardless of tribe, ethnicity or faith and this shows in the composition of staff in the Office of the Vice President, which has already been described as a mini-Nigeria. A little research by these people with adversarial mindset would have sufficed. Let’s have a little roll call of the key staff of Vice President.

A flip through the list of Osinbajo’️s aides showed that Mr. Ade Ipaye, who is the head of his team as Deputy Chief of Staff, is not a Christian but a Muslim from Lagos State.
Other aides in his office are: Director of Protocol, Ambassador Abdullahi Gwari, Muslim from Yobe State; Special Adviser on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais, Muslim from Kano State; Senior Special Assistant on Legal, Research and Compliance, Dr. Balkisu Saidu, Muslim from Sokoto State; Senior Special Assistant on Economic Affairs, Edobor Iyamu, Christian from Edo State; Special Adviser on Power, Dr. Tochukwu Nwachukwu, Christian from Imo State; Special Adviser on National Economic Council (NEC), Donald Wokoma, Christian from Rivers State; Special Assistant on Social Investment, Mohammed Braimah, Muslim from Kwara State; Special Assistant on Inter-governmental Affairs, Abdul Rahman Baffa, Muslim from Kano State; Special Assistant on Economy, Peter Dimike, Christian from Imo State; Special Assistant to Power Team, Anita Otubu, Christian from Delta State; Zainab Edu, Assistant to Special Assistant on SIP, Kano State; Special Assistant to Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Bege Bala (BPE), Christian from Kaduna State; Assistant on Social Investment, Amina Edu, Muslim from Kaduna State.

Others are: Personal Assistant to the Vice President, Gambo Mansur, Muslim from Gombe State; Personal Assistant to the Vice President, Murtala Aliyu, Muslim from Kogi State; EA-DCOS, Nkoli Anyaoku, Christian from Anambra State; Special Assistant on Rule of Law, Zainab Buba Galadima, Muslim from Yobe State; Special Asssitant, Administration, Koko Iyamu, Christian from Akwa Ibom State; Personal Assistant to the Vice President, Edewede Akhidenor, Christian from Edo State.
Others are Special Advisers or Senior Special Assistants to the President seconded to the office of the vice-president. Those in this category are Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs (Office of Vice -President), Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Christian from Ekiti State, Special Adviser Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu (Office of Vice -President), Christian from Ogun State, Mr Louis Odion, Christian from Edo state(Senior Special Technical Assistant on Media and Senior Special Assistant to the President (Office of Vice -President) on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, who happens to be the only RCCG pastor among them. As a matter of fact, Mr Akande was based in the United States when he was hired. Wokoma and Tochukwu left after first term but now, the office also has Chris Ngwodo-SSA Policy and Ahmad Zakari, Special Adviser, Infrastructures.

From the above, any objective and discernible mind would be able to decipher facts from fiction, even by those who retail their supposed intellectual fecundity.

Mohammed writes from Abuja

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