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*An editor of an otherwise respectable medium develops incurable obsession against a distinguished leader.
*The tale of a certain Abraham Ogbodo
Mr. Abraham Ogbodo seems to have an obsession with Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. He is constantly searching for what next the Vice President would do – but if he was searching with good intent it would have been better, unfortunately for this suspicious journalist, he is always on the lookout for whatever the Vice President would do with the intent to malign his character.
He claims to love him in his recent piece, ANOTHER SERMON ON PROFESSOR YEMI OSINBAJO, but I think he is mistaken love with perjorative obsession, and an embarrassing partisan slant that is easy to detect. Give it to him, Ogbodo knows what he is doing and the readers too understand his despicable mission.
Right from 2014 that President Muhammadu Buhari emerged as APC presidential candidate, this man decided to submit himself to the task of attacking the candidate. But when Prof Osinbajo became running mate, the matter became for him a lasting mission to embarrass seeing the undoubtable value Osinbajo brought to the table.
His latest article is another example of expression of this unwholesome mission. He makes an attempt to deceive his readers by painting a scenario as if the Vice President goes to markets to handover N10,000 to TraderMoni beneficiaries. Deliberate misinformation.
A click on Google to search for how the TraderMoni is disbursed by the Bank of Industry would have brought sense and clarity to Abraham’s position. Unfortunately his intent is to malign the Vice President and deceive his readers hence his conscious failure to make the necessary enquiries.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s visits to the markets have simply been to monitor the disbursements of these monies to the traders. He has never gone to the market to share money. The intent of the VP is simply to be with the people. Mr. Abraham may forget that leaders in government are elected for the people and there is nothing wrong whatsoever in the Vice President going to ensure a programme of the government is being carried out righteously. If Mr. Abraham Obodo is afraid that this will win the Vice President support, then he must be ready to live with this fear forever.
He fundamentally fails to understand that government is for the people and these traders are citizens as much as Governors, as much as Traditional Rulers, as much as Head of Parastatals and Agencies, and as much as business leaders who meet with the Vice President every now and then on official purposes. They are citizens as well and the Vice President has only shown himself to be a leader of the people by going down to meet with them and interact with them on their levels. It is unfortunate that his involvement in observing the disbursement of the Trader Moni loan scheme surprises people like Abraham. He perhaps looks down on the poor, and believes that nothing should be done to salvage and elevate them. A thinking derived from an aloof elitist mindset that government should be for the few, the wealthy while abandoning the majority who are poor.
Those baselessly making the accusation of electoral fraud are simply unaware and oblivious of the duties of government to the people at the least. Indeed if the government is working and fulfilling its promises to the people and that is termed vote buying then I think we need to encourage vote buying as an official practice.
Another item of controversy that Mr Abrahma raises in his opinion article is the Vice President’s comment vis-a-vis the conversation on the 2023 Presidency.
This was an innocuous remark that has been taken out of context. The Vice President was only encouraging the South-Western region of the country to participate in deciding the equation of who produces the President in 2023.
Misinterpreting him is only to subject a simple democratic and political issue to the pettiness of ethnicity. We must not pretend not to know how Nigeria’s politics operates.
It is expected as a matter of unspoken consensus that in 2023 power will shift to the south, and that means the contest to produce the President will be between the South-West, the South-South and the South-East regions. Each of the regions would have a place in the contest.
The Vice President in a discussion with leaders in the South-West has only put forward the reality that the South-West must present itself as a relevant contender and one of them is delivering on votes to Professor Osinbajo’s party. This is a fundamental in democracy.
Do we expect the Vice President to act as if he is not a member of the APC, or as if he does not want his region to contribute massively to the votes that would retain his party in power in 2023?
In the same vain, Dr. Chris Ngige encouraging the South-East to throw in their votes as part of their own contribution to show that they are equally ready participants to contest for the position of President in 2023.
Vice President Osinbajo would leave a grand legacy after his tenure in office. His landmark feats would stretch from his legal practice to his days as Attorney General of Lagos State to his role as Vice President – his legacies will certainly outlive him. The reforms he has made as Attorney General, the reforms he is making as Vice President, his leadership style as chair of the National Economic Council, his astuteness, his brilliance and his management of the Social Investment Programmes that has invested and impacted the lives of over 15 million Nigerians will speak for him. Professor Osinbajo and his boss and partner, President Buhari have brought something different to the table of government: and that is government must not neglect the poor. An ideology they have held to heart in deploying resources of State for the Nigerian people. If Abraham Ogbodo’s obsession with the Vice President clogs his eyes to seeing this, millions of Nigerians can see it.
Sunday James Akinloye is a Democratic Rights Activist, Political Commentator and the President of the Initiative to Save Democracy Group (ISD)