Osinbajo: A Bridge Builder, Not Religious Bigot, By Chukwudi Enekwechi
It was the great Greek sage Aristotle that posited and I hereby paraphrase him ‘’if you want to avoid criticism then do nothing in life and be nothing’’. This is true of the place of Professor Yemi Osinbajo in today’s Nigeria, where some disgruntled individuals pummel him with criticisms based on unsubstantiated claims and allegations.
There is also the common saying that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown and so the false claim by Reno Omokri in his article in Thisday of 12th May 2018 that Professor Yemi Osinbajo has not been speaking out against the killing of Christians in Nigeria, runs contrary to the truth and the clear headed measures which the Buhari/ Osinbajo administration has been taken to stop further killings.
For the avoidance of doubt, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has always spoken against the killings in the country notwithstanding the religion or ethnicity of the victims. The loss of any life through the mindless killings by Boko Haram, cattle rustlers or armed bandits is always a source of concern to him and President Muhammadu Buhari, and he has on several occasions and at different fora condemned such killings and disclosed the measures being taken to forestall more attacks.
It is indeed regrettable that some armchair critics will not engage in seeking for the true position of things, but rather are quick to draw conclusions about leaders and go to town with fake news.
While the orgy of killings in Nigeria is regrettable and condemnable, at the same time there is need to laud the federal government for the efforts they have been making to put an immediate stop to the senseless killings. For instance, the vice president had informed the nation about how the ‘’President and security council was reengineering the security architecture in order to meet the challenges of the mindless killings in some parts of the country, including the threats of marauding herdsmen, cattle rustlers and armed bandits.’’
Let me also quote the vice president in one of his speeches regarding the killings: ‘” While the security agencies continue to work relentlessly to hunt down the perpetrators of these evil acts and to bring a permanent end to all of the killings going on in the name of Boko Haram, or in any other name, we as a body of Christ must not lose focus.’’ This portion of his speech is a clear testimony that contrary to the views expressed by Reno Omokri in his article in Thisday that Professor Yemi Osinbajo has been speaking against the killings.
As painful as the killing may be, we must realise that the vice president was elected to serve all Nigerians and not people of any particular faith. Again we must bear in mind that Nigeria is a secular state and the vice president swore an oath to be fair to all manner of persons irrespective of their religious beliefs or ethnic affinity.
Similarly in a speech he delivered at the inauguration of the Deeper Life Bible Church Headquarters Building in Gbagada Lagos state on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 the vice president said: ‘’Anyone who has seen the viciousness of the killings, and the wantonness of the damage of property, is bound to be stupefied by the horror. I was in Dong village in Adamawa, where herdsmen had attacked the village and killed many. But the vicious killing of Fulani women and children in the same local government in Adamawa state is worthy of mention.’’
The vice president had also in response to the question of what the federal government had done to check the incessant killings explained that detachments of police mobile force , army, air force and other security outfits have been deployed to the restive areas in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba and Zamfara states. The command and control structure of the Army formations and units in Benue and contiguous states have also been reorganised to cope with the emerging challenges.
From the foregoing it is crystal clear that the vice president ‘’did not go to sleep while Rome burnt’’, rather he has been playing a very active part in finding lasting solutions to the killings. He has not shirked in his responsibilities to the Nigerian Christians or Nigerians of other faith. As a leader he has always remained committed and focussed to ensuring the safety of all Nigerians wherever they live and in doing this he has received tremendous support of the President.
He has also been a bridge between Christians and Muslims; Niger Delta agitators and the federal government; North and South and government and the people. So there is no basis to accuse him of neglecting or abandoning any section of the country as his major concern is the happiness of all Nigerians and the development of the country. His altruism is legendary and patriotism is unequivocal.
On the accusation of the vice president always defending President Muhammadu Buhari, it is important to remember that they won the election on a joint ticket and it will amount to a disservice for any right-thinking person to expect Professor Osinbajo to be vacillating in his faith about their commitment to solving the myriad of problems confronting Nigeria. By standing solidly behind President Buhari, the loyalty and relationship will affect Nigerians positively and the benefits are innumerable.
From his antecedents, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is playing the role of a bridge builder and this is required in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria.
By Chukwudi Enekwechi
An Abuja-based Journalist