Right Of Reply To Pendulum Open Letter To The VP, By Laolu Akande

My dear Bob Dee!

One could have easily made up his mind not to read or respond to anything you wrote after seeing the rather unprincipled queuing up behind Senator Bukola Saraki and then abandoning him, moving on to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and then deserting him as well. 

But I felt one should respond to your attempts to create a false narrative from the very hollow lamentation of the recent elections as the “worst in our history”.

In my view, those like your good self, veteran journalists, who have built a formidable platform in the public arena must strive always to use the platform for the larger public good. There have been several interventions from you that reflect such true public spirit, but some of us stridently disagree with what at times could be perceived as a self-serving journalistic conduct. Many would seem to agree that this was obvious in your recent open letter to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

But first, let me thank you for your gracious words of congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, and your admiration for the VP’s commendable performance in office. I am certain that your quest for public accountability derives from that admiration.

It is important to state that a citizen’s open letter to public figures or government authority is always welcome here and not necessarily a matter of right or exclusive access. For us, such matters of access for the people to their elected leaders is of normal cause and ought not to be a matter of exclusivity nor should we make a play of it as so special.

As is typical of your propaganda machinery, it begins with an outrageous lie by the principal then the operatives like yourself repeat it ad naseum. It appears you were not in this country when foreign and local observers accepted the results. Independent Foreign Observers commended the transparency and credibility of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Also, the Independent ElectionMonitor group, supported by the French Embassy, concluded that “based on the analysis carried out in this document as well as the actual observations of the election activities across the country, it is Election Monitor’s considered opinion that the 2019 Presidential Election results are consistent with the will of the majority of voters who took part in the elections notwithstanding the various infractions which also occurred as they were not on a scale significant enough to affect the overall outcome of the election.(ElectionMonitorNG)

YIAGA Africa’s Parrallel Voting Tabulation, relied on by international agencies, embassies and funders also said its  “findings show that for the presidential election the All Progressive Congress (APC) should receive between 50.0 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the vote.” And that “the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 41.2 per cent and 47.0 per cent of the vote; these figures are consistent with the official results as just announced by INEC.

“For both APC and PDP, the official results fall within the PVT estimated ranges.” That YIAGA AFRICA results statement was based on reports from 1,491 polling units which are 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA’s projections were reportedly also consistent with the officially announced vote shares for the other 71 parties who contested in the presidential election. It is also believed that the group’s projections were based on the results announced in the polling units and would have detected any significant manipulation occurring during collation at the ward, local government area, State and national levels. Also, “INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots were also generally consistent with YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates.” (Vanguard)

These are empirical facts, my dear Bob Dee, especially if you put your analysis through any rigorous tests. Propaganda and falsehood only need a willing sponsor.

Yes, observers mentioned pockets of violence and some malpractices, but none felt that these were sufficient to affect the credibility of the elections or its results. Frequently cited is Ago Palace in Lagos. One unit in a city of 20 million! In any event, the real question is, how did the violence in the comparatively few places where it happened favour the President? And how come the strong allegations of foul play by the likes of Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom, George Akume in Benue and Ndoma-Egba in Cross River State (all APC Senatorial aspirants!) escaped your eagle eyes?

It is sometimes forgotten, and Bob Dee , you chose to forget, that for the previous 16 years before 2015, the PDP governments had conducted elections. Everyone is familiar with the incredible excesses of the elections and the election-observer reports so poignantly describe some.

In the 2003 elections which gave Atiku Abubakar and his boss a second term, Wikipedia observes that “Millions of people voted several times. The police in Lagos uncovered an electoral fraud, finding five million false ballots.”

But the 2007 elections got even worse reviews: “Following the presidential election, groups monitoring the election gave it a dismal assessment. Chief European Union observer Max van den Berg reported that the handling of the polls had “fallen far short” of basic international standards, and that “the process cannot be considered to be credible”, citing “poor election organisation, lack of transparency, significant evidence of fraud, voter disenfranchisement, violence and bias.” 

They described the election as “the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world”, with “rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation”). One group of observers said that at one polling station in Yenagoa, in the oil-rich South-South, where 500 people were registered to vote, more than 2,000 votes were counted.”

Your choice of words such as “theatre of war” to describe the presidential polls is not only inaccurate and questionable by and large, but also surprising considering the recent history of past presidential polls. And you have to tell us who described the elections as “the most dreadful and desperate”?

Besides these facts that you carefully chose to ignore, the contents of your letter read in part like a brief for the opposition, and, at other times, a judgment of an electoral tribunal in favour of the opposition. And such bias undermines the credibility of the author such as yourself.

It could even render the write-up confusing rather than informing the readers. For good measure, Bob Dee, maybe we should just remind our readers that not only are you an active member of the opposition, you have also benefited from significant business relationships with some in the opposition circles. And this is entirely within your right.

But that certainly discounts your assessment about the direction of our administration. It also devalues your criticism of the narratives that hold those who raped this country in the past responsible for the consequences of their corrupt activities while in government.

One also wonders whether it is your well-known personal relationship with the opposition that has beclouded you so much that you seek to assail the anti-corruption efforts which ordinary and well-meaning Nigerians have embraced.

Let me make it clear that the facts show that while some old members of the opposition have joined APC, that has not shielded those responsible for corruption and graft. In any case, even if old PDP members are now APC members, the current leadership of the country under the APC stands out as it is made up of two gentlemen with impeccable integrity. 

Old PDP members and all Nigerians are welcome just like sinners are embraced in the church, In fact, the church was opened for sinners to be converted. And what is skewed about the anti-corruption campaign when the two governors who have now been convicted for corruption are both APC?

Having said that, be rest assured that the APC as a party will articulate its defences to any allegations. For the records, it is an obvious fact and this must be reiterated that the Buhari administration has a commendable record of respecting the independence of INEC, a clear departure from what occurred under previous administrations. This government also ensures that it provides all the support INEC requires, as well as respects the independence of the judiciary and has ensured that security forces act within the ambits of law. Even international observers have made their comments accordingly and positively. 

As the Buhari administration always noted, every single loss of life is sad and lamentable. And previous elections have regrettably caused even far more losses. We must achieve an electoral system that doesn’t result in any such loss of life. However, the record of improvement from the past is clear as it were.

To characterize the will of the people as Pyrrhic victory represents what exactly needs to change in and about our nation. Indeed, our privilege as elites imposes the responsibility of trustees of power, wealth, values and direction of and for a nation in the interest of the people upon us. To narrow this interest or substitute our amplified voices as the vocal minority for the silent majority is not only taking liberties a little too far, but also losing tune and touch with our national realities. As leaders, we must reflect introspectively on how we have prioritized the people, and how we must continue to do so going forward.

This is what President Muhammadu Buhari is known for and it is what played out in the elections. It is the voices of the few and the devices of the privileged that the Opposition regarded and expected to hold up. That did not happen.

We respect the right to disagree and exercise that right through the established mechanisms, but we reject any denigration and the diminishing of the electoral outcome which is the true voice and expression of the people of this country.

As you noted, the whole concept of sin in the worldly context is a violation of the law of the land, and in the spiritual context, a violation against God. That you judge either as a matter of law, or ecclesiastically when you by yourself determine that this administration is “committing sin” is a departure from what your letter identifies as its objective. Victory in an election is a nation speaking up, while the victor is the symbol of that nation’s victory.

Both life, by its temporal nature, and the Constitution, by its term limitations and periodic elections, already ensure that we all know that everything but eternity is transient, and the example of that in our nation today is the rejection of the old order four years ago, and the most recent confirmation of that rejection by preferring the new and current order, and the Next Level of our national restoration and growth. 

Finally, thank you for declaring your belief that the APC “would have won” a handsome victory because that was exactly what happened! It is your equivocation about Atiku’s loss expressed in the same letter where you said you expected an APC “handsome victory” that left me and other readers confounded. What are we to believe?

Again, thank you for your open letter. Be rest assured that the Vice President and the President would continue working for the good of all Nigerians in the Next Level.

Laolu Akande is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President

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Nigerians Don’t Ask For Too Much – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigerians don’t ask for too much, noting that, they deserve a better life which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on delivering.

Speaking at the PMB/PYO Volunteers Appreciation Dinner held at the Banquet Hall, Abuja on Thursday, Prof. Osinbajo said President Buhari’s integrity is a key attribute needed to move Nigeria forward.

READ FULL SPEECH BELOW:

Just before I make a couple of remarks, we know that a few of our supporters lost their lives during the course of the campaign. I want us to stand for a moment and observe a minute of silence in honour of them. We thank the Lord for their souls and ask for comfort for all members of their family in Jesus name.

For me, this campaign was about the Nigerian people. One of the things I discovered, and I’m sure most of us know, is that our people are so trusting and supportive of their leaders everywhere. I think that one of the major characteristics of Nigerians is how supportive they are and also they don’t ask for too much. They never really ask for anything that is impossible to do.

For many of us, as we went around the country, we realised the tremendous amount of work that we need to do and our capacity to do so much work and what our people need. As a matter of fact, I don’t know any nation where the people are so generous no matter how poor they are.

I met a woman in one of the markets in Kwara State, and she gave us some vegetables and I thought she wanted to sell them, but she was actually offering it to us free. I thought to myself, here is this woman I should be giving something to and she is the one giving a gift instead. That is just a typical Nigerian. I was walking past another woman in Kogi while shaking hands with people there, she gave me N200. I thought to myself, I am the one meant to be giving her something.

There was another elderly woman here in Gwagwalada, and that made the news, she pulled me aside and said, “Young man, you need prayers” and she prayed for me. People saw her holding my hands and praying for me, and I thought to myself, I am meant to be offering these people comfort and succour, but they are hopeful and offering the support, comfort, love and all of the things they thought at the time that we needed.

 On behalf of all of us who are here, I want to say a very big thank you to the Nigerian people for their contributions to getting us back here.

We visited many homes across the country; we did the house-to-house campaign, visiting many homes and most of those homes were the homes of the poor. But they were still very hospitable and they would still ask, “What will you eat? What will you drink?”

I remember an encounter in Idanre, Ondo State, where we met a man; he was so excited we visited him in his home. He said, “This your government is the best I have ever seen.”  He said all sorts of very nice things, then the Local Chairman of the APC in Idanre said to him, “But you are PDP this man.” The man then said, “How can you say I am PDP? Okay, I used to be PDP, but from now on, I am now APC!”

It struck me that what we need to do more is connect with the people that we govern. All that the people want are opportunities for us to interact more with them. Somebody who gave a speech earlier said that we should govern in this same way.

One of the complaints that people made about our government is that we didn’t communicate well enough and people didn’t even know what we had done. I think they were probably right, and we did very well in terms of our messaging during the 2015 campaign, but thereafter, we seemed to have slacked and over time, the opposition began to get the better of us, especially on Social Media and Radio. But all of that is definitely going to change.

I am going to take on everyone who has challenged us on this matter, including the gentleman who has offered his services for communication purposes because this has to be a joint effort in ensuring that we put across our point of view. 

Everybody knows that this was not exactly an easy campaign but I believe that God saw, first the heart of Mr President. Here is an honest man, and as I said during the course of the campaign, even his worst enemies agree that he is a man of integrity.

In any event, there are many few Nigerians who would have been Minister of Petroleum, Governor of the whole of the Northeast, Head of State, not once or twice, but thrice, and still have just one home in Kaduna and some very modest place in Daura. Very few people are like that.

When I looked at his assets declaration form, I was checking it in 2015, I said to him, “Mr President, I am so much richer than you, it is an embarrassment.” He said, “I am only a soldier, you are a big lawyer so you should have more money than me.” I can tell you that he is perhaps; even poorer than he was in 2015 when I saw his declaration of assets form. 

We are all grateful to God for this great victory, and the real heroes are you all seated here today, who went out every day to campaign and talk about what you believed about our government, what you thought this government could do for the Nigerian people.

One thing that is clear to me is that your belief and commitment were not wrongly placed. You are absolutely right that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is the appropriate and right government for Nigeria at this time.

And the simple reason why that is so is that today what our country needs the most is honest government, that’s what our country needs. And I’ll tell you why as I repeated many times in the course of the campaign; our country is not short of ideas, projects or money. What we are short of is integrity in office. Corruption is the major problem that our country has faced. And once we are able to deal with it effectively, and we will, we will be the great nation we ought to be.

I was saying to someone that this same President, President Muhammadu Buhari, of the four refineries that we have in our country today, he built three of them when he was Minister of Petroleum. Then he built 3km of pipelines, how much has been added to it since then?

So, you don’t need to be a great orator. And this is one of the responses I gave to people when they were saying – “oh the president doesn’t talk.” He doesn’t need to be an orator; all he needs to do is be a doer. And that is what he is doing today.

And what we’ve seen today is despite the fact that we are earning 60% less than the previous government, we are spending almost 8 times more especially for capital projects. Why? Because the president is not stealing the money, simple! That is why we are able to spend more.

And just in terms of achievements in infrastructure, the Lagos-Kano rail, we have just commissioned the first phase, which is the Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan, and we are going to complete the Lagos-Kano rail.

We completed the Itakpe-Warri rail after 5 years it has been completed. Even the Abuja Light rail that was started in 2005 has just been completed.

We put money aside to do the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, which had been practically abandoned; they would start and stop, they put it into the budget, but it would disappear. Today, the money is there to complete it.

Sometimes, I talk to my friends in the Southeast about the second Niger Bridge, which was commissioned in 2014, but it was not designed, it was just commissioned. How does anybody do that? Today, the highest amount of money as an immediate payment for any project we have ever done was for the second Niger Bridge, 33 billion immediate payment for that bridge. That is the highest amount of money we have ever put for one single payment.

We’re going to start the Mambila Project, and have put money aside for it. All these projects are projects that the President himself not just negotiated, but supervises on a regular basis.

And that is the thing; a lot of work needs to be done in this country. Infrastructures we need to put in place will be put in place. And the reason why is because the President is not a thief. And that is to just put it very simply. Many believe that the government is very complicated, no. If the man who is in charge is honest, everything we want to be done will be done, just take a look at our Social Investment Programmes.

I was saying to some group of people that today we are feeding 9.2 million children every single day as part of our school feeding programme. We’re paying for 500,000 N-Power beneficiaries every month. We have given almost 2million traders TraderMoni loans, and almost 500,00 MarketMoni. Apart from that, we are giving N5,000 to the poorest of the poor per month, we are now approaching 500,000 and we are going to do a million.

All of that has still not cost us N300billion. Yet some people ran a programme called Sure-P, and we cannot find a single beneficiary and it cost N700billion. On everything I’ve said, we still haven’t spent N300billion in 2 years.

So, it’s not as if this business of doing the right thing is rocket science. The major thing is an honest man, as we have an honest man, everything we want to be done is what will be done.

And I believe very strongly with your support, all of what we wish and want for our country will be done.

And by the grace of God, every one of the infrastructure projects we want to be done will be done. Our economy will turn around and we will see prosperity in this great nation of ours.

Finally, let me just say that we are still not done with elections. On the 23rd of March, we still have some outstanding states. As you know, we are re-running in 6 States. All of the efforts that we need to put into those 6 States should be done, we cannot afford to slack up and say we are done; we still have some things to do.

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Osinbajo Heads Policies, Programmes, Projects Audit Committee

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the composition of the Policies, Programmes and Projects Audit Committee.

Chairman of the committee is the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo.

Members of the committee, according to a statement by Olusegun Adekunle, include Permanent Secretary (General Services Office), are Chief of Staff to the President, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Minister of Finance.

Others are Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Hon. Attorney General & Minister of Justice, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development.

Also in the committee are Minister of Water Resources, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Security Adviser, Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President is a member and secretary of the committee.

The Terms of Reference include “To audit and determine the status of implementation of policies, programmes and projects either inherited or commenced by the out-going administration.

“Identify and highlight a residue of works and challenges that may militate against their successful implementation;

“Prepare and produce a detailed working document that would guide the incoming Cabinet Members on the direction of Government regarding policies, programmes and projects;

“Co-opt any organization(s)/person(s) relevant towards the successful execution of the exercise; and

“Make any other recommendation(s) as may be necessary.”

The date of Inauguration of the committee is Friday 15th March 2019 at the Vice President’s Conference Room.

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“So Thankful To Wear His Badge”, Laolu Akande Celebrates Osinbajo At 62

Mr Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President, has heaped praises on his boss, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as he turned 62 on Friday.

In a series of tweets on his official Twitter account, Mr. Akande described Vice President Osinbajo as a god-fearing, hard-working and illustrious man of the people.

He added that Prof. Osinbajo who was re-elected alongside President Muhammadu Buhari on February 23 is focused, thankful and forward looking man.

“VP Osinbajo is 62 today. Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day to a god-fearing, hard-working and illustrious man of the people.

“So thankful to wear his badge. As his days, so shall his strength, wisdom & favour be in Jesus mighty name. Amen,” he tweeted with a graphic design of the Professor of Law.

He then followed it up with another tweet that read, “Prof Osinbajo is 62 today: focused, thankful & forward looking.”

Mr. Akande is not alone in celebrating the Vice President of Nigeria as social media is awash with congratulatory messages for Prof. Osinbajo.

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A. Adeboye also prayed for the Vice President on his birthday. “Happy Birthday Pastor Prof Osinbajo, I pray that my Daddy will continue to strengthen you and grant you wisdom to surmount all the challenges life brings your way in the name of Jesus,” he tweeted.

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My Encounter With Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; A Tribute For His 62nd Birthday, By Prince Adetayo Adekunle

My father, leader, boss, principal, mentor, uncle, friend and brother, His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON is 62 today.

To start with, I have been privileged to have had close interactions, acquaintances and friendship with local, national and world leaders but two of them standout with their humility, HE General Yakubu Gowon and the celebrator, HE Prof Yemi Osinbajo. I must however stress the fact that I wasn’t born during the Gowon years so I never had any interaction with him as Head of State. But having interacted extensively with Omo Ologo, as I fondly call the VP, I can say without any equivocation that he’s the most humble political office holder I’ve ever come across all my life.

PYO exudes all the known virtues of Omoluabi; he is very humble, extremely brilliant, knowledgeable, wise, calm, “youthcentric”, hardworking and sincerely committed to all worthy causes of state, faith and humanity.

Of all our interactions, that of the 29th Day of January, 2019 would linger in my memories forever. The VP was in Oyo State for an event at the University of Ibadan. I waited alongside other PYO enthusiasts and top Oyo State government officials on the protocol train to receive him at the Ibadan airport. As soon as he landed, he exchanged pleasantries with everyone; thereafter I proceeded to enter my car which had been well positioned in the convoy.

Surprisingly, His Excellency beckoned on me to ride with him aboard the white Toyota Coaster bus ferrying him to the venue. Also on board were Senator Femi Ojudu, Oyo Deputy Governor Alake Adeyemo, Ondo politician, Sola Oke SAN, my very good egbon SSA Media Laolu Akande, Dr. Mrs Ebi Awosika, my friend, elder brother and campaign partner, Muyiwa Badmus aka Ribadu and a host of others.

While on board, the VP asked me about my media engagements and I briefed him extensively. He was highly delighted and he responded with “ku ise” (well done). I continued by saying that “sir, I have another media engagement today and won’t be able to accompany you to the airport from UI again”. Like a father to a son, he said “give me the radio frequency and time as I would be tuning in”

I later got to know that he listened and was highly impressed. On that same night, he sent my partner and I “an enablement” for our activities; a huge gesture that I have since documented in my upcoming book.

Once again, happy birthday to the Vice President, Professor Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo SAN, GCON; the Chief Driver of Nigeria’s National Social Investment Programmes; husband of Barrister Oludolapo; father of lovely children; enabler and destiny helper of many youths; an epitome of loyalty; a godfearing man and a workaholic per excellence.
Thank you for all that you do.
May the good Lord bless you and your family.

Hon. Prince Adetayo Adekunle B.SC, MCPA.
Oyo State Spokesperson, Professor Yemi Osinbajo Support Group.

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Abeokuta Agog As Osinbajo Campaigns For APC Ogun Guber Candidate Dapo Abiodun

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has dispelled fears of voters in Ogun State amid concerns that the State’s sitting governor’s support for the candidate of a rival party might raise tensions in the governorship polls on March 9.

There have been fears and concerns that the Ogun State Governor’s support for a rival party in Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the State may have precipitated a security crisis regarding the election.

Prof. Osinbajo who embarked on an elaborate campaign rally in Ogun alongside Prince Dapo Abiodun, the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate, assured citizens of a peaceful, free and fair election.

Prof. Osinbajo who was accompanied by former Ogun governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and other chieftains of the party in the state said the Federal Government was going to provide adequate security.

VP Osinbajo who began his tour in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital was received to an electric reception by the supporters and residents of Ogun state. The VP was near speechless as the crowd chanted his name and that of President Muhammadu Buhari endless.

On arriving Abeokuta, Prof. Osinbajo toured Ogun state visiting Kuto, Ibara, Lafenwa, Isala Igbehin, among other communities in the state.

At every stop, he was greeted by mammoth crowds who derived satisfaction at seeing him and Prince Abiodun, who is the party’s flag bearer at the 9 March governorship election.

On passing Ogun State Government House, the people thronged out in their numbers in what appeared to be a carnival-like campaign.

Addressing the people at Lafenwa, Prof. Osinbajo thanked them profusely for voting for President Buhari and himself. He assured them that they will deliver all their campaign promises.

“Those who are saying on Saturday they will not let us come out, that they will do this and that, let me tell you that it will not happen. Let me tell you that the Federal Government is in charge of security, we will ensure that there is adequate security for everyone. This election will be peaceful, free and fair.

“Please note that you should we are going to use our index finger to vote. Let me urge us to vote APC at all levels. For the House of Assembly, let us vote APC.

 “Just the way you voted President Buhari and me, your son in, you should do the same for Dapo Abiodun because if we did not have votes from Lafenwa, we would not have been re-elected. Thank you so much for your support,” he said at the rally in Lafenwa.

As the VP arrived Kuto, the chants and cheers from the people became overwhelming to the extent that Prof. Osinbajo struggled to pass through the crowd. The chants were so deafening that it took Prof Osinbajo more than 30 minutes to get some decorum.

Prof. Osinbajo spent over three hours in Abeokuta and it was stunning as he got a heroic welcome everywhere he went. The acceptance and gladness of the people was spontaneous and original and it was authentic all the way.

A party chieftain, Bayo Asenuga told journalists that, “This party has been on for at least over three hours, and well over 10 miles if not 15,” he said.

He said he has not seen people so energetic at a campaign rally. “The people were not tired walking alongside the campaign train. This is a message that APC will win overwhelmingly in Ogun,” he said.

Onlookers in most part of Abeokuta caused a gridlock as they stared endlessly in public acceptance at the Vice President as he walked the major roads in Abeokuta and its environs.

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A Vote For Dapo Abiodun Is A Vote For Osinbajo, By Raheem Akingbolu

Though Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will not be the direct beneficiary of Saturday’s election, it is believed in some quarters that the victory of his party –All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Ogun State gubernatorial election, will boost his political profile.

To this end, a subtle move is being made by friends and admirers of the nation’s Number Two Man to appeal to electorates to cast their votes in favour of APC candidates in the election.

Beside the fact that Osinbajo hails from Ogun State, many observers have argued that winning the state; will be a reward for Osinbajo, whose campaign strategies during the build up to the election have been described as the most impacting and pragmatic.

But despite this, an Ogun State born Marketing Communications expert and political analyst, Mr. Hakeem Olarewaju Adenekan has argued that the state is dicey, adding that no politician can confidently beat his or her chest that one of the parties would win the election.

“As things stand in Ogun, it is difficult for anybody to predict where the pendulum will swing because nobody can do the permutation and arrive at who will win the state on Saturday among Dapo Abiodun of APC, Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement and others.

Be that as it may, in my own opinion, I believe Akinlade will win in Ogun Central Senatorial district, which include Abeokuta because of the influence of his chief promoter, Governor Ibikunle Amosun. In the Ijebu axis, Dapo Abiodun will win overwhelmingly by at least 70% and he will also get at least 45% in Yewa.

The remaining 55% in Yewa will be shared between Akinlade and Gboyega Isiaka of the African Democratic Congress (ADC). At the end, Abiodun may emerge winner with a slim margin,” Adenekan said.

From professional perspective, the Managing Director of Media Edge, a Public Relations company, Mr. John Ajayi, while speaking on why he feels the Vice President’s input may help his party in the election stated that Osinbajo’s campaign strategy during the electioneering campaign was most eclectic and people oriented.

“The town hall dimension introduced by Osinbajo was most salutary and innovative because it turned full circle as a political enigma. His door-to-door campaign and regular engagements with all relevant stakeholders in all towns and cities he visited, no doubt helped to shore up the hitherto low perception rating of the image of President Muhammadu Buhari administration which prior to the election campaigns was perceived to be somehow far away from the electorates.

“Indeed, the city by city, village by village visitations and long treks and camaraderie with all the mass of the people in the areas visited helped the campaign messages and government programmes and policy achievements to percolate the different strata of the society and the electoral demographics.

He was no doubt a sales man per excellence given his oratorical prowess and the depth of knowledge about the achievements and economic policies of the administration.

At every fora, he inspired hope and a renewed sense of loyalty by the Nigerian people .His restless campaign to create full awareness of the administration achievements was unmatched especially his resolve to continue with His campaign plans despite having being involved in an air crash was most inspiring and unbelievably incredible,” Ajayi said.

Also speaking on the approach, a Mass Communication Scholar, Dr. Sunday Aniyi described the house to house campaign embarked upon by Osinbajo as one of the best campaigns that have ever been run in Nigeria.

Aniyi, who projected that the Vice President may take his party to the victory on Saturday, said the campaign must have unlocked many hearts.

“In marketing, the best campaign is the one that connects with the target audience. With his house-to-house approach, Osibajo had campaigned the way a political leader should campaign. He went directly to those who vote, he interacted with them and felt their pulse.

From Ado Ekiti to Abeokuta to Ijebu, Ilorin to Lokoja land, he jaw jawed with market women while dolling out the TradeMoni. It showed in the faces of the women that they were elated that a serving Vice-President came to their shops to canvass for votes.

While some people were thinking of how to manipulate election and weaken INEC, Osibajo went out of his comfort zone and campaigned. With that approach he has successfully humanised the office of Vice-President. Even if for political gain, he has demonstrated what public service should be about,” he said.

Speaking to THISDAY on why Ogun people should honour Vice President Osinbajo with their votes on Saturday, a member of the APC mandate group in the state, Ms. Dhiqrah Yetunde Ogunnaike, said it would be embarrassing for the country’s Number Two Citizen to go back to Abuja as a loser in his home state.

She said; “At this stage, I think our people should look beyond party divides in casting their votes. In the history of Nigeria, I don’t think there has been any Vice President that lost his state to opposition.

From the late Alex Ekwueme in 1983 to Abubakar Atiku in 1999 and 2003, Goodluck Jonathan in 2007 and Namadi Sambo in 2011, it never happened that a vice president lost his state to opposition.

If APC fail to produce Ogun State Governor, it will not only embarrass the Vice President, it will weaken his negotiating power for the South West in the years ahead.

That is why we have consistently reminded our people on the honour we will be doing our vice president by voting for Dapo Abiodun on Saturday,”.

Meanwhile, a close aide of the Vice President, who is also a Special Adviser in the presidency, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, who was part of his campaign train while the exercise continued, has aptly described Prof. Osinbajo’s passion as second to none.

“As a direct witness to Vice President Osinbajo’s activities while the campaign lasted, I will simply say his passion was driven by genuine belief in the Next Level mantra of the Buhari administration.

He put in his best and I’m sure this impacted well on the party’s campaign and victory in the presidential and national assembly elections. No doubt, it will also be success all through on Saturday,” Ojudu said.

This piece by Raheem Akingbolu was first published in ThisDay with the title, “In Osinbajo’s Interest”

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Delta, Akwa Ibom Should Not Be Opposition States, Says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Delta and Akwa Ibom States should not be opposition states urging the people to key into the progressive ideology of the All Progressives Congress at the centre.

Prof Osinbajo who visited both States on Monday said both States have more potential and could actualize them if they vote for candidates of the APC.

Speaking at the APC interactive forum in Warri, Delta state capital, the Vice President reeled the projects that the APC-led Federal Government have completed and those that are ongoing in the State and in the South South.

He urged the people that Delta State can achieve more if they vote Great Ogboru, the APC governorship on 9 March.

“Even the East West road that we have been talking about, this is the first government to put resource into it and all of us will be able to benefit.

The Lagos-Calabar railway is also ongoing. When people criticize President Buhari, many forget that of the four refineries that we built in this country, that when he was Minister of Petroleum was when we built three of them, 3,500 kilometers pipelines laid in three years by this same, Muhammadu Buhari.

“So we asked ourselves are we not better off under such a President, are we not better off when our state is part of that center? Delta State should not be an opposition state, why should it?

“What happened at the Presidential and National Assembly elections were a great victory, but the completion of the victory will come on Saturday when Great Ogboru will become the governor of Delta.

“Delta cannot be the same again. Delta was our focus of attention, we wanted to see what will happen.

“Delta has proved a very important point that it is ready for a change to the next level.

“Security is a fundamental issue and we will pay special attention to it,” he said.

The president also urged leaders and supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to unite, saying “when we work together, we will emerge victorious on Saturday.”

In Akwa Ibom, Vice President Osinbajo addressed another APC Interactive Forum and urged the people that they stand to gain much more when the thinking of the state government is aligned with that of the federal government.

Prof. Osinbajo who walked on the streets of Uyo alongside his delegation to the South South state for about two miles, encourage residents to come out in their number to vote.

In Akwa Ibom, he was accompanied by Senator Godswill Akpabio; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma and other leaders of the party.

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Yoruba Groups Blame Atiku, Saraki For Attacks On Osinbajo

A coalition of 45 Pan Yoruba groups has blamed the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki for the shooting incidence during Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’ s visit to local communities in Ilorin, Kwara State.

The groups describe the attack as an assassination attempt on the Vice President.

In a statement on Friday, the groups which earlier issued a proclamation supporting Osinbajo said the PDP leading politicians are plotting to harm and eliminate the Vice President.

It said Atiku and Saraki were desperate to portray Prof Osinbajo-s visit to Alamu Aluko in Ilorin as riotous and violent so as to fuel the impression that he was an unwanted guest in Kwara State.

The Pan Yoruba groups also accused the Government of Kwara State of complicity in the armed attack against the VP saying that as the host, the Kwara State Governor should have provided adequate security instead of exposing the VP to death by the gun. Two people were shot during the organised and premeditated incidence

” The atack on the Vice President Prof Osinbajo at Ilorin is nothing but an assassination attempt. We hold the PDP leaders represented by Atiku and his soul mate Saraki responsible for the dastardly and cowardly acts. From reports available to us, there was a conscious effort to kill the VP in order to put his victory and that of his party on Saturday in disarray and further hurt the Yoruba Nation”, the statement signed by Diran Obalola of Ibile Movement, Raham Adekunle of Oodua Peoples Congress, (OPC), Wale Balogun of Yoruba Revolutiinary Movement, (YOREM) Ayodele Rasaq, Assistant Secretary, Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) and leaders of 42 other groups.

The groups described the incidence as a rehearsal of PDP plots in the coming days.

It described Atiku and Saraki as notorious for their hate and prejudice against the Yoruba people adding that it is a known fact that Atiku, Saraki and the current PDP national leadership hate the Yoruba with unhidden bitterness.

The groups said ” We are watching with keen interest the plot against the Yoruba Nation by the PDP leadership. It is not a new plot. The latest armed attack in the VP by PDP thugs was a clear attempt by Atiku, Saraki and his thugs to kill the VP.

It shows the level of desperation and wicked determination to set Nigeia on the path of anarchy”

It said “Atiku, Saraki and their tendency represent evil, murder and all known atrocious cultures. We warn that Atiku, Saraki
and their cronies will be held responsible if anything happens to the VP”

The group again reiterated it’s determination to resist plans by the opposition to create post election chaos

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Propaganda, Lies Against Buhari Absurd – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described as absurd, the lies, propaganda and accusations against President Muhammadu Buhari.

Osinbajo said on Wednesday night while responding to questions at an Interactive Session and Engagement held at Muson Centre, Lagos on Wednesday night.

The interactive session tagged: “Unveiling The Truth”, organised by young Christian group, had some Christian leaders in attendance.

Participants used the occasion to ask plenty of questions bothering on insecurity, economy, blaming of past administrations, social welfare for the unemployed, corruption, and timing of TraderMoni.

Other questions bothered on Next Level slogan, farmer/herders crisis, lopsided federal appointments, Islamisation, Buhari’s commitment to address critical issues in the country among others.

Responding, Osinbajo said that President Buhari was committed to addressing the problems facing the country such as security, economic and fixing critical infrastructure and fair treatment of all sections.

He said Buhari was addressing farmer/herders crises and had no intention at all to Islamise the country.

“President Muhammadu is possibly one of the most committed people I have ever met. He is committed to seeing that resources of this country are used for this country.

“In general term, we find that there is fairness in the distribution of appointments. Many of the accusations against Buhari are not true.

“Sometimes, people listen to propaganda and if we look at the facts, things are totally different. On Islamisation, first of all, it is untrue, it is propaganda.

“Anybody who complains that President Buhari is propagating islamic agenda, how is that possible?

“A lot of these are just propaganda, never listen to these. Many of these are absurd, they are deliberate propaganda. They come from the same source. Don’t believe them. Let’s be fair,” Osinbajo said.

The vice president, who urged Nigerians not to fear or doubt the good intention of the President, advised Nigerians to stop spreading rumours about things that never happened.

Osinbajo noted that the major cause of farmer/herder crisis remained pasture and water which the government had made concerted efforts to address.

On the lopsided federal appointments, Osinbajo said that the Southeast with five states had five had five ministers more than some regions with higher number of states.

On TraderMoni, he said that the national assembly approved the money for it and that it was meant to lift many Nigerians out of poverty.

On the timing of implementation, Osinbajo said that the government Social Investment Programme kicked off after the budgetary allocation was passed by the National Assembly.

According to him, the party never promised N5,000 monthly stipends for the unemployed but for the vulnerable which is ongoing.

He said the government had engaged so many youths in its N-Power programme and had to increase the number to 1.5 million young Nigerian in the Next Level out of 1.7 million people churn out of tertiary institutions every year.

On the standard of tertiary education, Osinbajo said that the major issue affecting education was not so much with the curriculum, advocating private sector thinking, ideas to enhance public education.

He added that the government would continue to create enabling environment and provide funding.

On criminality, the vice president said that the way forward was local policing and intelligence as well as immediate arrest and prosecution of criminals in the country.

On security, he said that the country had made significant progress and moved forward from what the situation was before the 2015 general elections.

The vice president said that the APC Next Level slogan centred on job creation, power, making credit more available to entrepreneurs, agriculture, infrastructure and others.

The vice president urged Christian leaders to jettison thinking about any Islamic agenda and Islamisation, saying many Christians were in the cabinet of President Buhari.

He said that the media should desist from spreading rumours, decrying fake news about Buhari being another person from Sudan.

Addressing the question accusation that the present administration often blamed previous administration, Osinbajo said that the country could not move forward without considering the past.

According to him, corruption remains the bane of national growth and development, saying that most of the woes confronting people are caused by wastefulness of past governments.

The highlight of the interaction were high praise led by choir and power-packed prayer for the country and general elections led by Bishop Wale Oke.

The participants prayed for God’s mercies on the country and God’s protection on the vice president especially from the recent air crash.

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The Osinbajo That I Know, By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Esq

This is not a campaign effort, but rather a personal testimony of my own personal experience, of what I know, about Professor (Pastor) Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hereinafter referred to as Pastor Prof.

Very amiable person, unusually humble, intelligent and God-fearing, a people’s man. I’d observed him more closely, after his appointment as the Attorney-General of Lagos State, given the bold policy reforms that he was pioneering, within the Lagos Judiciary, focusing more on accountability, transparency and good governance. I also knew him as head of a transparency initiative, committed to abolishing all forms of corrupt practices and abuses, in the public service.

During his tenure as Attorney-General of Lagos State, he facilitated electronic recording in the courts, spearheaded the radical amendment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which has since been copied in most other states and indeed by the federal government, through an expanded ACJA. He created new judicial divisions for the courts and revolutionised the welfare packages of judges, magistrates and judicial staff. I can go on and on, but that is not all about the Osinbajo that I know.

He is a thorough bred intellectual, with profound knowledge of the Nigerian Law of Evidence, running a very successful legal practice, in Lagos. In no time, he was promoted a professor of law and was also elevated to the Inner Bar, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. 

The real Osinbajo that I know is Pastor Prof, a thorough bred Christian of the old breed, committed to the work of social engineering and human transformation, through faith based projects. At the time, he was an Area Pastor of Jesus House, Ikoyi, which had become more like a haven for the transformation of the down trodden of the land. His wife, the ever youthful Mummy Dolapo, was always busy running an orphanage in the building next to the church, where teenage girls who have been abandoned and abused, were daily being impacted, transformed and rehabilitated. Jesus House had also become a place of transformation for prominent citizens in government, at the time. It was like a small family church. Believe me, Pastor Prof is a grassroots man, always so easily blending with the crowd.

Pastor Prof took the job of the Servant of the Lord, opted to be just the protocol officer of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of RCCG, and was always on ground as one of the comperes at major programmes in RCCG camp. He was so transparent and clean that at the time of his glorious exit from the service of Lagos State, the Governor had to convene a special executive council meeting, to deliberate on the kind of gift suitable for a man without any record of blemish. It was then decided that a plot of land be procured for him in a private estate in the Lekki area.

Pastor Prof is a consummate prayer warrior, always fasting and on his knees, most times. All the times that I met him in his modest apartment in the Redemption Camp at the time, he was always upstairs, praying, and I had to keep going and coming, for hours, in order to be able to catch up with him, on most occasions. Then I used to wonder in my mind, what else is this man praying for? But now I know much better.

Pastor Prof is a gentlemen to the core, so very natural and simple, with no taste for allurement and the mundane. Very sincere and open-minded. In his very modern chambers in Victoria Island, I had cause to work with him on some cases, and he is so very tolerant, even to a fault. On a particular day when he was to have his lunch, he called me inside his office, to join him. And I looked at the food, boiled potatoes and smoked fish! I was just thinking aloud in my mind, wondering if Prof knew that I could just empty the whole bunch in my system all at once! It was then I got to know that Prof thrives on fasting and prayers. Just that.

And eventually Pastor Prof was appointed a provincial pastor of RCCG, in high brow Banana Island, but Prof just remained Prof, nothing moving him, nothing changing him. Prior to that time, I had occasion to invite him as guest speaker, in the church where I pastored in Alagomeji area and later on in Lekki Phase 1. He was always dutiful, very humble and always so cheerful and full of jokes. And once he gets to like you, you just become more like his family. So on a particular day on one of those visits, I invited him on a tour of my area. Prof just jumped in and we drove off! I was shocked. Just like that? When he narrated to us in the church the amazing story of how Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN became Governor, we were thoroughly amazed. Prof is so very clinical in his presentations, both in court and on the pulpit.

He is fulfilled in virtually all areas of his endeavour. The dream of every academician is to become a professor, the highest position in any ministry is the Commissioner, the highest rank in the RCCG is that of a pastor and the highest office in Nigeria is that of the President, for which he served most creditably well, in acting capacity, on a few occasions. And of course the best an individual can be is to have a real relationship with Christ. And this is the Prof that I know; a child of God with incredible love and devotion to the kingdom assignment. Surprisingly, Prof does not believe in kingdom business as excise for non-performance, always stressing the need to balance the equities, in the interest of all.

Eventually Prof was nominated and elected Vice-President and I didn’t get to see much of him again save from a distance. It then happened that legal officers of RCCG were having a conference at the Redemption Camp and Prof was our guest speaker. I was trying to avoid him in a way, not sure of the protocol and security around him. Prof just strolled in and stayed in our midst, bantering away and throwing his usual jokes. And it was time for photographs after the seminar. As I was approaching, Prof just exclaimed and threw me a hi five, making himself available for a selfie! I was just wondering in my mind that this Prof just won’t change! So down to earth and humble!

However, since his sojourn in office, there’s been all manner of talks here and there, mostly political jabs and I will just be wondering in my mind if it’s the same Pastor Prof that people write and talk about. Most often times I’ll just call my wife and urge prayers for Prof, knowing how uneasy it can be, for the head that wears the crown.

Do I talk about his incredible energy and power for performance? May be another day, just may be. 

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No One Can Islamize Nigeria, Osinbajo Declares

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has dismissed reports and claims that President Muhammadu Buhari or anyone for that matter has plans to Islamize Nigeria.

Osinbajo who resumed his unique Family Chat at Kurudu, FCT, told a mammoth crowd that no one is trying to impose any single religion on the country.

He explained that the propaganda peddled by naysayers is aimed at discrediting President Buhari who already has a record that shows he is a detribalized leader.

“I have interacted with this man (President Buhari), he is an honest man, he has no intention whatsoever of imposing his religion on anybody at all,” he told the crowd at Kurudu.

Prof Osinbajo added that, “In our cabinet, there are 20 people who are Christians, 18 who are Muslims and our Head of Service (Winifred Oyo-Ita) is a Christian from Winners Chapel. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Boss Mustapha) who is the highest civil servant is also a Christian, so there is no way in the world that anybody will tell you that. They are only spreading propaganda and they are trying to discredit the man (Buhari) but they are telling a lie,” Osinbajo said.

Prof Osinbajo added that this was how they previously lied that President Buhari was sponsoring Boko Haram and had told the terrorist group to attack the Jonathan government.

“In 2015 when we were coming into office, they said this man (Buhari) is the one sponsoring Boko Haram, they said it was because he didn’t mean well for Jonathan’s government, but it was a lie because on 24th July, 2014, Boko Haram attacked Buhari in Kaduna, killed 82 people including seven of Buhari’s relatives who were with him”.

“That is the same Boko Haram that they claimed he was sponsoring but now everybody knows that his not behind Boko Haram, the same Muhammadu Buhari is the one who drove Maitatsine out of this county, when Maitatsine was in this country and he is doing same thing to Boko Haram.

Osinbajo had earlier visited the family of late Major Solomon Kabiru Umaru.

The gallant army officer passed out from Nigeria Defence Academy in 2003. His last unit was 143 battalion, Ovin. He died on the 17th December 2014 serving the nation in the North East.

Prof Osinbajo also had a chat with his wife, Mrs Gloria Umaru and three kids Ruth, Solomon Jnr and Sarah.

The unique Family Chat style campaign by Prof Osinbajo is being taken to every segment of the populace

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