Why Nigerians should beware of Fani Kayode’s obsession with Osinbajo

It is no longer news that for Femi Fani-Kayode to remain relevant in Nigeria he has resorted to insulting Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and this has given him the illusion of the relevance he sought especially at a time even members of his own party see no more value in him. 

Femi has been following his father’s footsteps by fighting against the real Yoruba interest and  person of Prof Osinbajo, who many see as one of the shining lights and a beacon of hope in this present government. What cannot be doubted is that Yemi Osinbajo is everywhere going about his national duties, working tirelessly for the good of the nation even with his limited constitutional powers as the vice president.

The main grouse of people like FFK is that the VP has a trustworthy and cordial relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari. And for this reason he is saddled with the responsibilities that are deemed by many as beyond his constitutional powers.

These are major responsibilities which many a former vice president has never handled. How many times did Atiku had to bear the blame for the perceived errors of Obasanjo while they were in office? Or Jonathan bearing the burden of Yar’Adua’s mistakes? Who ever blamed Namadi Sambo for the many undoings of President Jonathan? Yet for people like FFK, it is the man who is clearly ahead in integrity, character and competence who must be attacked and brought down, even when the buck don’t stop at his desk!

It has been argued that the renewed onslaught against Osinbajo is because of 2023. FFK and such political opportunists and sophists are focused on the VP because his character, integrity and popularity threatens their 2023 aspirations. Who knows tomorrow anyway?

On the kidnapping of clergymen, Femi Fani-Kayode should know that Pastor Adeboye and Prof Osinbajo were as bothered as the rest of Nigerians and as leaders with integrity; they immediately swung into action using their spiritual and political capacity to call for the rescue of the abducted pastors. If Mr. Fani-Kayode did not have an ulterior motive and had he waited even 48 hours he would have been celebrating the rescue of these pastors and other Nigerians that were abducted. Actually the pastors abduction was reported on Friday and by Saturday they were rescued by the Police. But unstable characters FFK were already attacking Osinbajo no sooner the abduction were announced.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye demonstrated a good example as a leader in the body of Christ by asking Nigerians and Christians to pray for their release, even while the security agencies continued their search and rescue operations. Unlike the rabid rabble-rouser utterances we have read from Fani-Kayode on various media platforms.

Femi Fani-Kayode is very crafty in whipping up religious and ethnic sentiments, as he encourages people to behave violently or aggressively, twisting even the meanings of passages in the Holy Scriptures, always for his personal political advantage. He has been out of power and the money that come with it. He is thus on a mission of survival, albeit in a most fatal approach of slandering Osinbajo who is seen by progressives as a true ‘Omoluabi’ and hardworking man.

How do we clearly ascertain those pastors were even kidnapped by Fulani Herdsmen in the first place, when investigation is still on? Just some days ago a four-man Yoruba gang was caught in possession of 10,000 live ammunition in Ibadan.

The same thing was just reported in Osun State where a roberry gang terrorizing Ikire axis in the State met their Waterloo when they were rounded up by local vigilante and were handed over to the Police. Surprisingly, they all dressed like Fulani but they were in fact indigenes of Ondo and Kogi States.

We as positive Nigerians should not continue to point fingers, when we should be working together to overcome our security challenges rather than fuel prejudice and ethnocentrism as a nation with different religions and languages.

Recently, Femi Fani-Kayode had to publicly apologize to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over his  widely publicized allegations, wherein he had blatantly accused the EFCC had raided the home of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen. The commission would later threaten to sue him for defamation, describing him as a purveyor of fake news.

However, in a very rare acceptance of the humiliation brought upon himself by his regular unguarded utterances, Fani-Kayode would later apologize for his earlier comment but petulantly insisted that some people actually searched the CJN’s home. Many public analysts agreed the bravado was just a mere face-saving attempt after getting burnt. FFK had also insinuated that Onnoghen’s bank accounts had been frozen by agents of the Federal Government.

Unity in diversity should be Nigeria’s strength. There should unity in every corner of Nigeria which will be our strength. Finally, anyone that has gone through Chief Remi Fani-Kayode’s rascal antecedents in the Nigerian Politics during the NPN, should know by now that Femi Fani-Kayode is a real son of his father. Hence the public should beware of his antics, Femi FaniKayode once said that  President Jonathan’s government is a bad omen to the country, but thereafter he decamped to the PDP to join people from the same bad omen.

Oladele Peter writes from Ile Ife, Osun state

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FG Excited About Nigeria’s Prospect Of Hosting Next FIFA U20 Women World Cup

The Federal Government is excited about the prospect of Nigeria hosting the next FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in 2020.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN dropped the hint today while receiving a delegation of FIFA Inspection Team at the Presidential Villa, adding that the government is actively supporting the bid of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, to host the female soccer competition.

“Going round this country you will have noticed that practically every Nigerian is a football fan. We are excited about the prospect of hosting the competition,” the VP told the FIFA delegation, while also noting that Nigeria has indeed participated in all FIFA’s female competition and that the country has the number to effectively host the sporting event next year.

According to the Vice President, “the Federal Government is backing Nigeria’s bid fully and we are prepared to do all that is required for the adequate comfort of our guests and fans.”

Prof. Osinbajo added that the Federal Government is not just interested in the business of hosting the sporting event satisfying the needs of the people who have over the years, demonstrated uncommon love for football.

“Nigeria’s love for football is a mark of well-being, and it is also culturally important to us. It is a unifying force for the people… We politicians don’t even compete with footballers, they are far more famous than us,” the Vice President stated.

Speaking earlier, the head of the FIFA Inspection team, Mr Kaj Heyral observed that the team was impressed with the facilities they have seen and expressed appreciation for the hospitality shown by Nigeria during their two-week stay.

A decision on Nigeria’s bid to host the event will be taken next month.

Mr Amaju Pinnick, the President of the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, who noted that hosting the competition will further boost Nigeria’s positive image, said the FIFA team inspected six stadia, 13 training sites, nine hospitals and about 10 hotels in the country.

He added that Nigeria’s hosting of the sporting event “is about the future of Nigerian football; it is about the future of our youths; it is about the future of our female players.”

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Global Food Basket: A Journey Of Abundant Economic Wealth, By David Chigaekpebi

Nigeria is blessed with a huge amount of arable land and currently boasts over 100 million heads of livestock and with the emphasis that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have placed on agriculture, it is not surprising that it is receiving huge investments in this sector.

Recently some Chinese investors were in the country upon invitation by the African Development bank (AFDB) and met with the Vice President looking to invest heavily in Agro related businesses. This in turn would address the food security and eventually transform Nigeria into a global food basket.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while receiving the Investors said the Federal Government will welcome partnerships and initiatives that will make Nigeria actualize its potential of being a global food basket. “Nigeria is constantly aiming to advance agricultural technologies to boost plant agriculture and livestock sectors so as to contribute to food security globally.”

Despite Nigeria’s huge investments in its oil & gas and mineral resources, agriculture still forms a big contributor of the country’s economy. With Nigeria no longer over depending on oil for its economic development, the vice president has taken a great step to focus on agriculture and agro-businesses, thereby extensively creating more employment opportunities and ebbing away poverty in the country.

It therefore means that this wave of new business suggests a profoundly encouraging investment climate for investors. Strategically positioned to trade with surrounding nations, Nigeria henceforth will be increasingly noted as an investment destination and ‘’Global Food Basket’’ as stated by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

Amidst such developments, it seems that agribusiness investment opportunities in Nigeria will now be as rich and diverse as the land itself.

Blessed with plentiful sunshine and rainfall, access to the fertile plains surrounding the life-giving River Niger and its tributaries, Nigeria’s rich soils yield a vast array of crops, such as yam, beans, rice, maize, millet, other cereal grains, vegetables and fruits, including lemons, mangoes, grapefruits and oranges. Rivers within the country are also abundant sources of fish.

In the drier northern region livestock farming is the most prominent activity. An estimated 100 million heads of different animal species – namely cows, goats and camels.


Undoubtedly, if these and further investments both exterior and from within can be obtained, the country is on track to be a major contributor to the global food basket and the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo has surely embarked on a journey of abundant economic wealth for the people of Nigeria.

David Chigaekpebi, an agro-enthusiast writes from Nnewi

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FG’s Energizing Education Programme Will Help Improve Power Supply Across The Country, Says Osinbajo

The Federal Government’s Energizing Education Programme is geared towards delivering on several critical policies and objectives of this administration in the Next Level, including improving power supply around the country by providing solar hybrid plants in 37 Federal Universities and 7 teaching hospitals in the next four years, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Friday in Ebonyi State, where he commissioned some projects including the 2.8 MW decentralized solar hybrid power plant that will supply 7,700 students and over 1,800 staff of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo (FUNAI) with clean, reliable and efficient power.

Before the end of the year, similar projects would also be commissioned in Bayero University Kano (BUK), Kano State and Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State; as well as the University of Lagos, he added.

By providing decentralized/off-grid solutions, the Vice President noted that the programme is also expected to reduce the dependence on the national grid and increase universal access to electrification in the country.

He said, “We are decentralizing so that we have upgrade capacity in several different States of the Federation and several communities so that we can provide private power in universities and economic clusters. For example, we have private power in Sabon-Geri market, Kano. We are commissioning another 7,000 shops there, we have private power also in the Ariaria market in Abia State, both solar power and we have a fuel-based and gas-based power plant there as well.”

According to the Vice President, this will further increase access to modern quality education by providing adequate power supply to critical learning resources such as science laboratories, design and technology workshops and Information Technology resources.

He added that the project is also aimed at “providing conducive, safe and secure learning environments, with the aim of eradicating cultism, rape, kidnapping and other criminal activities that may occur.”

The Vice President added that the objectives of the Energizing Education Programme includes “empowering Nigerian women through the provision of education and training programmes for STEM and dedicated training on renewable energy in world class energy training centres, improved quality of healthcare services which will ultimately reduce mortality rates in our healthcare institutions; and the development and implementation of environmentally friendly projects for cleaner, healthier environments.”

Prof Osinbajo also commissioned the renewables workshop and training centre to promote renewable energy and over 7.5KM of street lighting to enhance security and safety on the campus.

Noting that students of the institution would not only reap the benefits of clean, reliable and affordable electricity, the Vice President added that they would also receive hands-on training on renewable energy which can be applied beyond the walls of the university.

He said, “This solar hybrid power plant being commissioned today (in FUNAI) is the first to be heard of the 37 Federal Universities and 7 teaching hospitals, that will be provided with a plant that is similar with what we have here under the Federal Government’s Energizing Education Programme and we hope that this will be completed in the next four years.

“The phase 1 of the project consists of nine Federal Universities and one teaching hospital which cuts across 6 geopolitical zones in Nigeria and it is currently being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).

“The phase 1 project will benefit a total of about 127,000 students and 28,000 staff of the Universities, 4,700 staff in teaching hospitals (including 819 doctors), powers 2,850 street lights and result in the decommissioning of hundreds of generators.”

This phase, the Vice President said, is fully funded by the Federal Government and will train 180 female STEM students.

The Vice President said the project will further create more jobs in the power sector chain.

“This project itself created 108 energy related jobs from power system engineers to electricians and as stated earlier, trained 20 young women with the skills to work in the energy sector anywhere in the world,” he said.

Prof. Osinbajo urged more effective collaboration and synergy amongst government bodies at all levels, in order to achieve significant growth for the country.


Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
3rd August, 2019

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Osinbajo Inaugurates 2.8mw, Decentralised Solar Hybrid Power-Plant At AE-FUNAI

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday inaugurated a 2.8megawatt decentralised solar hybrid power-plant at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi.

Osinbajo, who performed the ceremony in the company of Gov. David Umahi and other top government officials, said that the inauguration fulfilled another next level road-map agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The vice president said that the project would provide sustainable, decentralised energy to the entire campus, improve education and create a better university experience for both students and staff.

“It will supply 7, 700 students and 1, 819 staff of the university with clean, reliable and affordable electric power.

“We are also commissioning a renewable workshop and training centre and have installed over 7.5kilomotres of street lighting to enhance security and safety within the FUNAI campus.

“This is an additional component of the remarkable project as the days when our students read at night with candles, lanterns and torches are over,” he said.

He said that the students would also receive hands-on training on renewable energy that could be applied beyond the university’s walls.

The vice president expressed delight that that the young women, under the Energising Education Programme (EEP) female internship, are graduating in the construction of captive power-plant,” Osibanjo said.

Gov. Umahi, in his remark, thanked the Vice President for inaugurating the project, noting that his passion and commitment towards the affairs of the nation was astounding.

“We are collaborating with the Managing Director of the Rural Electricity Agency, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi to expand the project to the neighbouring Ebonyi College of Education and Ikwo Local Government Area headquarters.

“We have also agreed to work with her office in providing solar power to 140 communities across the state,” he said.

The governor noted that the state government had supported FUNAI in several ways through the provision of streetlights, portable water and accessible road.

Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi, MD of Rural Electrification Agency, said that the project would result in 8, 139, 2018 lbs (pounds) of annual carbon dioxide savings.

“Our onsite workshop and training centre will provide training on renewable technology to students of FUNAI and equip them with invaluable knowledge and experience on the power sector,” she said.

Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, Vice Chancellor of the university, thanked the Vice President for inaugurating the project, describing it as ”the first of its kind in any Nigerian university.

“Your presence is unique in many ways as the project you are commissioning remains a milestone in the history of the university and the county,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Osibanjo also inaugurated a physiotherapy centre, 500-seater auditorium, 200 capacity lecture hall and a Lassa Fever Observation Bay, all at the Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA). (NAN)

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Receives New UK Secretary Of State

Nigeria can benefit from the United Kingdom in its ongoing reform of the business environment by learning from how the British resolved similar challenges, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

The Vice President spoke today, during a meeting with the newly appointed United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for International Development, Mr Alok Sharma, at the Presidential Villa.

According to Prof Osinbajo, “one of the critical issues with the ease of doing business is with respect to the registration of property and how the process is long drawn.”  

The Vice President noted that while States like Lagos and Kano have done well with issues around land registration, there are still some outstanding issues. He said this is an area where the UK and Nigeria can collaborate.

“I think one of the ways by which we could get some help is in the whole land registry concept”, the Vice President noted.  He recalled that Lagos State actually had such collaboration when he was serving there. According to him, the UK “gave us quite a bit of help in establishing what was used in Lagos State land registry years ago.”

“Every state has its own peculiar issues and challenges. How to document across the various states is what poses the challenge,” Osinbajo observed.

Prof Osinbajo also explained the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, stating that the Federal Government and States decided on ranching as an option for livestock breeding.

States determine the implementation methods in their respective States, while both the Federal Government and the States will share the costs.

Earlier in his remarks, Mr. Sharma commended the Vice President for his role in driving the Ease of Doing Business reforms and commended the country for moving up 24 places in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Ranking.  On the specific issue of land registry, he noted how the process was simplified in the UK using technology.

Both the Vice President and the UK Secretary, among other issues, also discussed the rehabilitation of the Northeast region and how the British could support the process going forward.

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

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Nation-Building Comes With Innovation And Patience Says Vice President Osinbajo

“I was at an event in Lagos where some old boys of Kings College, a Federal Government college were gathered. So, there was in their midst, Adebayo Ogunlesi, Christian Yoruba gentleman, who founded one of the most successful private capital firms in the world, there was Keem Bello-Osagie, Muslim from Edo State, once a major investor in UBA and Etisalat, Emir of Kano and former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido; they were all classmates and they have continued to work together promoting each other over the years.”

“The classification of Nigerians as “indigenes” and “non-indigenes”, is our own form of divisionism and has long contradicted our declared aspirations towards unity in diversity. All that should matter in evaluating ourselves, is where we live and fulfill our civic obligations. This is why our Social Investment Programmes are being administered on the basis of residency. The eligible beneficiaries were selected based on their states of residence and none was discriminated against on any basis.” – Osinbajo


SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE LAGOS COUNTRY CLUB, ON THE 30THOF JULY, 2019.

Protocols.

It gives me great pleasure to join you all in celebrating what is a truly remarkable milestone for the Lagos Country Club. It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most reputed voluntary associations and recreational institutions in Lagos and indeed, Nigeria, going on seven decades and still going strong. Congratulations!

I am also glad to note that the Club continues to advance the noble goals for which it was founded in 1949, notably to promote family values, use sports and other recreational activities to deepen social solidarity and promoting inter-ethnic and inter-racial understanding among people.

I shall be speaking for a few minutes on the topic, “Promoting National Cohesion as a means of Promoting Progress and Prosperity.” It just so happens that this is a subject that is in consonance with the foundational ethos of the Club. Indeed, the Club’s membership which is multicultural, ecumenical and composed of people from diverse backgrounds, is a testament to your commitment to fostering understanding across ethnic, racial and other lines of identity. 

The spectacle of so many people of diverse creeds and ethnicities, united by a common purpose and vision, is perhaps the most profound hallmark of the Lagos Country Club. In this sense, the Club is achieving in an understated, but not insignificant scale, the sort of cohesion and civic mutuality that we all aspire to as a nation.

I think that we can also all agree that the subject of my remarks is apt for the times in which we live. We are, as a people, facing challenges that are testing the bonds of our fraternity, unity and our shared humanity.

In parts of the country, we have seen sectarian clashes and insurgency, and immediately after the elections, a rise in kidnappings in different parts of the country. But perhaps the worst threat is from those who would use these challenges to sow discord and division in the nation, by exploiting harrowing tragedies, fanning them into the flames of conflict, manipulating even genuine differences of perspective, opinion and sundry national challenges, as opportunities to promote prejudice, bigotry and strife. That is in my view, the greatest threat of all.

Nigeria is a complex country, composed of over 180 million people of 250 ethnic groups, who speak about 400 different languages and dialects. She belongs to the league of nations, composed of a multiplicity of ethnicities and creeds. It has become commonplace for people to define Nigeria’s diversity as a uniquely problematic attribute that condemns us to perennial volatility and internecine strife on a regular basis. However, we must reject these notions as unfounded. Nigeria is not in any way exceptional or unusual simply because she is diverse.

Mobilizing the people of a country as complex and heterogeneous as ours, under the banner of a common purpose was never going to be an easy task, but this is not to say that it is impossible.  Multi-religious and multi-ethnic countries all over the world, grapple daily with tensions that come with diversity.

The United States of America, for example, has a long history of difficult race relations and minority discontent and that is on an on-going basis. Although the motto of the country is, “E Pluribus Unum” which means “Out of many, one”, and is meant to convey the idea of unity in diversity, there are minority communities who see themselves as marginalized and excluded from the mainstream of society. 

European nations are confronting the rise of rightwing populism and nationalism and the revival of identities long thought to have been buried under the supranational banner of the European Union and its multicultural aspirations of all of those nations. Immigration is complicating the demographic reality of these nations, unleashing greater diversity, which in turn, carries a greater potential for tension and friction between the different groups.

Today, we hear, almost daily, of the steps that are being taken to restrict immigration in many of these countries and in many of those cases, it promotes tension in those societies.

The rise of xenophobia, nationalism and other forms of chauvinism on the global scene, indicates that the challenge of managing diversity is not just a Nigerian or an African problem. Racial, ethnic and sectarian tensions, are common to diverse societies everywhere. Just as heterogeneity does not condemn a society to perpetual conflict, neither does homogeneity in itself, insure a society against strife. The mere fact that we all speak the same language or belong to the same tribe doesn’t mean that there won’t be strife. In the same way, the mere fact that we all speak different languages or belong to different tribes and religion doesn’t mean there must be strife.

Somalia is probably the best answer to the suggestion that all our national challenges will be resolved by our disintegration into small ethnically and culturally homogenous enclaves. Somalia is composed of just one ethnic group, the Somali, who speak the same language and almost all of them practice the same religion. None of these attributes has prevented her from being mired in conflict for four decades.

A few years ago, many commentators were advocating for the splitting up of Sudan as a solution to its long history of conflict.  They called for the disintegration of the country in the belief that such a measure would bring peace to both North and South Sudan who, relieved of the burden of coexistence, would be free to thrive separately. This has not been the case. Instead, South Sudan has been plagued by various conflicts, while its Northern neighbour is reeling from severe political unrest. If the odyssey of South Sudan teaches us anything, it is that by simply separating from people we do not like or people we believe to be fundamentally different from us, is not a solution to the onerous challenge of nation-building in the context of heterogeneous societies. The challenge of nation-building comes with being innovative, patient and being ready to see the greater good.

Everything we have learned from the annals of history and from contemporary reports from all over the world, tells us that social diversity can either be a trigger for conflict or a fountain of prosperity and progress. Diversity in and of itself is not a problem, it is what we do with it that matters. Whether or not socio-cultural variety results in strife or collective success entirely depends on how a society chooses to manage it.

Diversity has the potential to ignite conflict because when elements from dissimilar origins, principles and orientations, meet a measure of tension and abrasion, is inevitable. This dynamic applies regardless of whether the context under consideration is between races, ethnicities, creeds, clans or nation-states.

Prejudice and bias are part of the human condition and are understandable initial psychological responses to any form of plurality. It is very rare to find any cultural or parochial group of any kind that does not have some prejudice against another cultural group. There is nothing innately wrong in people feeling that their cultural group is superior to others. Indeed, many people feel that their cultural group is superior to others; if you ask the Yorubas, they’d tell you that they are the leading cultural group in the whole of Nigeria, if you ask the Igbos, they would say, “there is nothing like us, we are the best”. Ask the Fulanis or Hausas, they would say, “we are pre-eminent”. It is not unusual for cultural groups to believe that they are superior. It would be a lie for anyone to say that they do not have some prejudice somewhere in favour of their own tribe.

But leadership is crucial in determining whether diversity will mean conflict or phenomenal progress. By leadership, I mean the elite as made up of the political, business, religious, civic and social leaders of society. They determine the direction in which their communities go.

Depending on the narratives that the elites chose to propagate, they could either stoke the embers of fear and doubt, or smoothen the rough edges of diversity and pave way for integration.  The diverse elements then become building blocks with which to construct a superior collective that produces greater outcomes than the sum of its parts. 

When we invoke Nigeria’s peerless potential, as we frequently do, it is the outsized results of such synergy that we are referring to. 

So how can diversity and national cohesion lead to prosperity?

It is no accident that the most affluent economies in the world are places that have learned to leverage diversity. In the 21st century, the true wealth of nations is human capital, talent. This means that places that have learned to attract and retain the most diverse pool of skilled human resources are easily winning the race for success.

Diversity means a multiplicity of perspectives and worldviews, but this also provides a broad range of cultural, philosophical and intellectual approaches for solving problems. In this rich soil, nourished by various ideas and schools of thought, productive synthesis is possible and innovation flourishes. Thus, the world’s richest nations today, are those places that have learned how to attract talent from various places and how to harness their diversity as a driver of growth.

One of the more obvious examples of this principle is the United States of America, a nation established by immigrants and that has continued to be renewed by generations of migrants from all around the world. Indeed, the American Dream is widely described as the idea that anyone may come from anywhere in the world, seek fortune in America, and succeed through hard work and determination. America’s global economic preeminence is due in large part, to its longstanding creative management of diversity, but of course, it is not always a success, but it is the best example we can find. It is not a coincidence that global brands like Google, Intel, Yahoo, Mattel and other firms, were either established or co-founded by immigrants or their descendants.

Many Western nations implement immigration policies that actively attract the best talents from all over the world, to bolster their economies.  Today, Canada has opened up its doors, it says it wants talent from everywhere and is attracting talent from Nigeria. Canada has you know, has huge land size but very few people. By simply opening up its doors as one of the most advanced economies in the world, it is attracting people from everywhere but it is insisting that it would bring in only persons of proven talent, highly skilled and knowledgeable to make their country better.

When nations have succumbed to shortsighted and narrow-minded policies that victimize minorities, they have learned how not to effectively utilize human resources and they often suffer from all forms of prejudice. Any country that oppresses minorities, promotes practices that further separatism, that country invariably regresses rather than progresses.

 For example, when the Ugandan tyrant, Idi Amin expelled East African Indians from Uganda, most of them fled to the United Kingdom and they had a positive impact on the British economy.  As for Uganda, its expulsion of the Indians who were the most skilled and economically productive segment of the population compounded the decline of Uganda’s floundering economy.

Similarly, it can be said that America’s ascendancy as a global power in the 20th century gained momentum as it began to accept Jews fleeing anti-Semitic persecution in Europe. Those European societies were run by fascist regimes that violently opposed heterogeneity and sought to implement a racist vision of national purity and homogeneity based on white supremacy. Those fleeing Jews had been part of the intelligentsia in Europe and brought their considerable skills, knowledge and intellect to the nation that had welcomed them and given them refuge. Some of them were instrumental in America’s development of nuclear capabilities and therefore, an important part of how and why the US achieved the status of a super power. The acceptance of plurality by the American society is largely responsible even for its military prowess.

The same principle of diversity and national cohesion must drive economic growth and this applies even in Nigeria. Our most dynamic economic spaces have been historically multicultural cities like Lagos and Kano.

Lagos as a port city, obviously benefitted from its coastal location as a gateway to the African continent for traders and adventurers from beyond the seas, as well as from the hinterland. Kano was a major terminal on the trans-Saharan trade route, drawing commercial traffic from as far north as the Maghreb and the Middle East and from Southern Nigeria.

From the foregoing, it is clear that when we create spaces for migratory talent to flourish without discrimination, there is an economic multiplier effect that results in an ever-increasing radius of growth. 

But perhaps there is also a little more to the prosperity of Lagos. In contemporary times, the conscious decision of Bola Tinubu, then Governor of Lagos to appoint his commissioners from everywhere in Nigeria, is partly responsible for the peerless progress of Lagos State from 1999.

He appointed Mr. Wale Edun from Ogun State as Finance Commissioner, Rauf Aregbesola from Osun as Commissioner for Works, Fola Arthur Worrey from Delta as Commissioner for Lands, Ben Akabueze from Anambra as Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Lai Mohammed from Kwara State as Chief of Staff and I, from Ogun State as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. In that period, he was opposed by Lagos indigenes, who felt that by virtue of “indigeneship”, they were qualified to be commissioners. They would argue and the argument is always valid, that why should anybody come from “their own State” to come and be commissioners “in our own State.”

Lagos undertook fiscal, real property, judicial and environmental reforms that have made the State a model for the rest of the country today. Today, Lagos State Internally Generated Revenue is greater than the combination of 31 States’ IGR put together. How did that happen? A fiscal reform took place. Tinubu took the best minds that he could find to do the job.

Nigeria is the same nation that produced Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, Wole Soyinka, Yoruba, of no known religion and Jelani Aliyu, Fulani, Muslim, a world-class designer of motor vehicles. Nigeria is the nation it is because of the collective strength of its many talents, attributes and the various contours of this great country.

How then can we transform diversity into cohesion? I think if properly harnessed, diversity is a powerful driver of economic growth and is therefore desirable. However, as I said earlier, whether diversity leads to conflict or engenders prosperity depends on the extent to which our institutions, promote cohesion and the key to promoting cohesion is inclusion.

In other words, people pull together and work together when they believe that they are part of the same group, when they share a common vision, goal and when they aggregate around a common objective. We witness how Nigerians come together as one when our National Team is playing. Our vision is clear, our objective is certain at those moments, we want our nation to win.

In an earlier generation, institutions such as the National Youth Service Corps and Federal Government Colleges, and later, Unity Schools, were established to foster national cohesion. The essential idea was to take young Nigerians drawn from diverse backgrounds and place them in the same academic and social context located in places far from home.

The goal was to expose young Nigerians to different communities and people, acquaint them with their country’s cultural, geographical and social diversity and in so doing, demystify the sense that the “others”, are different from us and so we shouldn’t associate with them. Such shared experiences are deeply educational because they make it possible for citizens of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society to humanize each other.

In the years since these institutions were created, more Nigerians have been exposed to people and cultures different from theirs. I was at an event in Lagos where some old boys of Kings College, a Federal Government college were gathered. So, there was in their midst, Adebayo Ogunlesi, Christian Yoruba gentleman, who founded one of the most successful private capital firms in the world, there was Keem Bello-Osagie, Muslim from Edo State, once a major investor in UBA and Etisalat, Emir of Kano and former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido; they were all classmates and they have continued to work together promoting each other over the years. It was a deliberate step taken in establishing Federal Government Colleges ensuring that these young men were able to spend time together, learn together and know that there was no real difference between them and so they have stayed united.

Even working in diversity, take deliberateness and dedication in creating the kind of unity and convergence we want to see.

The challenge for us is to continue to defuse the potential perils of diversity by continuing to pursue measures that promote social inclusion and national cohesion.  One of the most important ramparts of national cohesion are the guarantees of fundamental freedoms. The right to life, which comes with it the duty of governments to ensure peace and security, freedom of movement, freedom of worship, and the rule of law. Everyone must be reasonably assured that their lives and livelihoods will be protected by the government, that their disputes will be fairly and justly resolved, regardless of their ethnicity or faith.

This is the main challenge of every diverse society, the assurance of the protection of basic rights and freedoms. Our challenges as a nation basically centre around these issues; religious conflicts, farmer/ herder clashes in the Northcentral and many parts of the Northwest, Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, and militancy in the Niger Delta.

When law enforcement institutions are weak, there is a huge opportunity to run divisive narratives. By that, I mean that where, for example, the security agencies do not speedily apprehend criminals, or where the criminal justice system is slow, then there is room for people to say, “they don’t arrest and prosecute Fulani herders when they kill”. It is convenient to forget that there are other people who have committed offences and have not been arrested.

Also, because the law enforcement officers are often not resident in the communities where they are posted for policing duties, it is easier to promote doubt about their commitment to ensuring the safety of the communities they police. This is why policing has to be a communal function, and police officers are required to understand their terrain.

Where the quality and integrity of judges is in doubt, it is easier to find parochial reasons for unfavourable decisions. When you don’t trust or think that the judge is competent, if you get a wrong decision, you will find all sorts of reasons why the decision is wrong. People will say the judge was bribed, it is because the judge is Christian and I am Muslim; there will be reasons for the judge’s incompetence.


The answer to these issues is simple. In diverse societies, we must do all that is necessary to strengthen the institutions of law enforcement, security, the administration of justice and the rule of law. The challenge is dynamic and our approach must also be dynamic. Which is why I believe that State Police in a large and diverse federation is imperative. However, this requires a constitutional amendment, a product of consensus of our legislators.

In the interim, the Federal Government has approved community policing as an option. The IGP recently announced the plan. An important component is that the new approach to police recruitments would be that policemen will be recruited in each local government and after training, will be required to remain in their local governments. 

The plan also involves interfaces between traditional rulers, State Neighbourhood watches or vigilante programmes and the police. The security architecture needs to be as domestic as possible, where it favours the use of local persons, local institutions, it is bound to be more effective.  The security architecture is now being re-engineered for greater use of technology and more integration of the use of security platforms. A few days ago, the rescue of some persons kidnapped in Ore Benin road and the arrest of the kidnappers was successfully executed because tracking technology and police helicopter were quickly deployed.

Governors of the Southwest States have also committed to purchasing electronic surveillance and tracking systems and patrol vehicles for the use of law enforcement agencies. The coming together of State Governors in the different zones to police the inter-state roads is an important part of keeping security. The various challenges we have can only lead to a situation of rebuilding and strengthening a better security architecture by taking advantage of this current situation. All those involved in the security framework of the country are sensitive to the various issues that are called for.

We must strengthen our judicial system, first by the appointment of judges of integrity and sound legal knowledge. In 1999, when I was appointed Commissioner of Justice in Lagos, we conducted a survey of lawyers who practiced in the Lagos High Court, we took a sample of 200 lawyers and asked them their perception of judges in Lagos State. The options were, “Just and Fair, Corrupt, Notoriously Corrupt”. 89% of the respondents said judges were notoriously corrupt. So, we also asked them what they had done about these judges and no one said anything. Since 1967 when the State was established till 1999, not one Magistrate has been sacked for corruption, not a single judge has been dismissed from office.

We set out to change the system, we decided we would appoint judges differently, it wouldn’t be on a man-know-man basis, we would headhunt and they would go through a series of test and scrutiny from the Nigerian Bar Association. We were conscious of the pedigree and integrity of these judges and we took them through the whole process. We appointed 26 judges in 2001. We took care of their welfare and salaries and improved their salaries considerably. We ensured that judges would have accommodation provided by the State Government. This made a dramatic difference in the quality of judges.

In 2007, a similar survey was conducted by the World Bank regarding high court judges, and the results were that 0% felt that judges were corrupt. It is not to say that people had become saints overnight; first, it was because they were better paid, secondly, in that period, 3 judges had been dismissed, 21 magistrates had been dismissed. People recognized there would be consequences for their actions. It is possible for us to build stronger institutions by a deliberate process of strengthening them and giving people greater confidence in the system and in the protection of their rights before the law.

But beyond maintaining security and law enforcement, we must also clearly, understand the nature of the problems we face.


We must not allow false or skewed narratives, no matter how plausible they may sound. As I had occasion to say (2019 Nigerian Army Day Celebrations on the of 6th July, 2019) elsewhere on the insurgency in the Northeast, and I quote, “since Boko Haram, we have seen other threats emerging. Islamic State West Africa, ISWAP and others in the Lake Chad Islands and parts of Southern Borno.  Radical Islamist Terrorism is an evil that must be seen as the common enemy of all faiths, including Islam. 

As the President said and I paraphrase, anyone who says Allahu Akbar and goes on to kill is either insane or dangerously ignorant of the tenets of Islam.  The likes of Boko Haram, ISIS, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and many Salafist-Jihadist ideologies are expansionist ideologies that feed purely on hate; hatred of any person or group that does not belong to their particular sect. They have no redressible grievances, so there are no terms of reference for peace. These are fanatics committed to a twisted creed. They exploit the ignorance of the tenets of Islam, poverty and exclusion, recruit men and women and use children to perpetrate the most heinous atrocities.  They are motivated by a satanic desire to control communities by murder and terror.

Whether it is in Iraq, Borno or Syria, their victims are men, women and children, Muslim or Christians, so long as they do not share their sick ideology. They target churches, mosques markets and motor parks where people gather, using children as human bombs to kill randomly, regardless of tribe or faith. I have seen the charred bodies of the dead, men women children killed by suicide bombers, in Gombe, Borno, Kano. The bombs are the ultimate agnostic destroyers. No discrimination in death.  The challenge for us is to recognize this extremism for what it is; to form alliances across faiths and ethnicities, to destroy an evil that confronts us all.” It is not an evil that confronts one religion.  


This is the reason why in Borno, in the centers of Islam in various places where you find death and destruction, it would then be a false narrative if someone says this is an attack only on Christians. We must understand the nature of the problem.


As Nigerians, we have grown up familiar with the constant habit of some in scholarly, political and journalistic circles making it seem that our diversity by itself is a problem. But it is worth asking whether we are really as diverse as some insist that we are.

There is no denying that we have differences, but the question, are these differences so fundamental as to utterly negate the possibility of cohesion? My answer is no and indeed we must recognize the extent of our shared values. We all esteem the extended family and its corollary notions of welfare and social obligation above unbridled individualism. We share a sociocultural emphasis on solidarity, kinship and community values, which promote the collective interest. All over this country, if we look, we will recognize ourselves in each other because we share the same fundamental aspirations.

A few days ago, I was in Zaria to commiserate with the family of late Precious Owolabi, who was shot during the protests by the Shiites in Abuja last week. His parents have been living in Kaduna State and his father and mother were Youth Corpers in 1990 and married there and lived there. All of the neighbours who came there to mourn are from different ethnic groups and tribes. The parents didn’t move to Lagos to mourn, they remained in Kaduna. All of us, wherever we are from, have the same cares and concerns. All those who gathered there were those who felt the pain of the mother who lost her child. None of them thought it was a light matter because it happened to a man called Owolabi and his wife. They all felt the common pain of that loss.


In fact, I would argue that rather than mere diversity itself being a curse, it is the allocation of access to social, economic and political opportunities on the basis of identity, that is deeply problematic. The problem is not ethnic or religious differences by themselves, the problem is the struggle for opportunities on the basis of those differences. We see this when Nigerians are denied opportunity on the basis of their State of origin or because they are “non-indigenes.” We see it when a Nigerian that has been resident in a State all his life is suddenly excluded from admission into an educational institution or an employment opportunity because he is not considered an “indigene.” Or when a young Nigerian who has served in a particular state during his NYSC year is suddenly excluded from opportunity because he or she is dubbed a “non-indigene” of the State.  Not only do these practices undermine national cohesion, but they also feed profound resentments that many people feel.

Honesty demands that we begin to recognize the ways in which we perpetuate institutional discrimination and cause people to see their ethnicities and religions, as weapons for procuring opportunity, often at the expense of others. We must also realize the ways in which our system generates perverse incentives to practice prejudice and undermine national cohesion. Because people are forced to play up their ethnic and religious identities to achieve success, there is a tremendous incentive to deploy identity politics, to be irredentist and to mobilize along even smaller group identities.

Identity politics itself is inherently divisive because it turns people against each other and makes them aliens and strangers. As resources become scarce, identity-based claims to a share of the national patrimony, become more aggressive and lead increasingly to conflict. Under these circumstances, identity politics causes us to see each other as competitors and rivals, instead of compatriots and eventually we begin to demonize each other as “enemies.”

Very frequently, the reason people, particularly the elites, hold on to parochial identities, is because it is a negotiating tool. When a person says “my people have been marginalized”, what he is saying is that “I want an appointment and if you don’t give me that appointment, I am ready to make it seem that a whole people have been marginalized.”  

No matter who is president of Nigeria, it doesn’t mean his people would benefit the most.  The reality of our nation is that the common needs of our people are the same; they require education, a place to live, job opportunities, economic advancement and it is not served by any narrow ethnic considerations. It doesn’t help and had never helped.

Rwanda experienced a genocidal civil war in the early 1990s. That conflict was rooted in the promotion of differences between the Hutu and the Tutsi by colonial authorities and the subsequent institutionalization of this notion by Rwandan post-independent elites.

When the war broke out in 1994, it was the culmination of many years of simmering animosity between the Hutus and the Tutsis. Over twenty years later, Rwanda has become the poster child for post-conflict recovery and effective governance.  One of the things the Rwandan government has done to advance national cohesion is to abolish the ethnic categorizations of their citizens as either Hutu or Tutsi and promote the Rwandan national identity above all other subnational constituencies. Indeed, the use of these ethnic particulars in Rwanda has been criminalized as “divisionism.”

In learning from Rwanda, we have to de-emphasize the elements of our national life that negate cohesion. One of the ways we can do this is by downplaying concepts like “indigeneship” and ultimately erasing it from our national lexicon. The classification of Nigerians as “indigenes” and “non-indigenes”, is our own form of divisionism and has long contradicted our declared aspirations towards unity in diversity. All that should matter in evaluating ourselves, is where we live and fulfill our civic obligations. This is why our Social Investment Programmes are being administered on the basis of residency. The eligible beneficiaries were selected based on their states of residence and none was discriminated against on any basis.

This approach is consistent with our broader philosophy of fostering national cohesion by broadening access to opportunity for all Nigerians without qualification. The framers of the constitution clearly understood the importance of civic mutuality and wrote a number of provisions aimed at promoting national cohesion. Among these constitutional provisions are those found in the Second Chapter on the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy which stipulates that “National integration shall be actively encouraged whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be abolished.”

The government is further enjoined to “Secure full residence rights for every citizen in all parts of the Federation” and even to “Encourage inter-marriage among persons from different places of origin, or of different religious, ethnic or linguistic association or ties.”

In light of these provisions, it is clear that the promotion of national cohesion for progress and prosperity is a constitutional imperative. I am gratified to note that Kaduna State, for example, to some extent, has abolished all institutionalized discrimination based on the indigene-settler dichotomy and is advancing the cause of common citizenship by making residency the sole basis for providing public goods. This is an important and exemplary step in our pursuit of a country that works for all of us. It may not be perfectly implemented, but that it has become the subject of legislation itself, is progress in the right direction.

Our Federation will never be perfect, nothing organized by humans will ever be, but we must work for a better union; a fairer, more equitable and more just arrangement is possible. We can do better. But that must come from accepting that unity is ultimately more beneficial to all, that unity cannot be justly negotiated under duress, every group must first accept the notion that unity is a desirable option.  

As governments, as leaders, political, religious and in business, we can preach a different message. Those of us who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, cannot be found preaching hate from our pulpits because it contradicts the very essence of our faith. Our faith says we must fight hate with love, we can insist that all children must be fed, children must go to school and have good healthcare whether we are Christians or Muslims, Igbo, Fulani, Ibibio or Itshekiri. We can insist that all our people anywhere, whether in Zamfara, Borno, Benue or Oyo, deserve the protection of the police and law enforcement promptly and decisively.

We cannot condemn killings only when they touch our own because all of us share a common humanity. The death of people is not a mere occurrence, each person who dies means a grieving devasted mother, father, siblings and friends.

Each death demeans all, whether we speak their language or not. The Nigeria of our dreams cannot emerge from tribal irredentism, religious division, identity politics and cultural chauvinism.

There is no Nigerian tribe that does not have its own histories and folklores of greatness and achievement. But none on its own can be as great as this nation of so many and such diversity.

The truth is that any group that suggests that its destiny is outside the Nigerian Commonwealth and so must separate to achieve or realize its ambition will find soon enough that even within that group there are many little splinters, factions waiting to cut the pie into smaller sizes, hoping that by so doing they would eat a larger piece. It is a fallacy that is repeated time and time again.

The enduring truth is simple those who can unite will always be stronger than those who want to go alone. Unity is ultimately stronger than separateness.

Six decades after independence from the British Empire, Nigeria remains a work in progress and is still in many ways, under construction. Nation-building is the task before us and it is not a task only for those of us in government, it is for all of us.

We must create spaces and institutions that nurture a higher sense of inclusion and commonality. Whether in or out of politics, we have a duty to mobilize people in the name of something much higher, greater and nobler, than petty self-serving agendas and parochial, divisive and chauvinistic causes.

As elites, we have a responsibility to see our various sub-national constituencies, not as small mutually alienated fragments, but as elements with which we can forge the sort of grand cohesion that will truly transform our potential into progress and prosperity.

For seventy years, the Lagos Country Club has, in its own small way, served to promote cohesion and peaceful co-existence by providing a recreational haven for people of different creeds and cultures.

As you continue along the arc of your journey, I wish you every success. It is my fervent hope that the ideals of peaceful coexistence, togetherness, fraternity and mutuality, which you have exemplified thus far, will continue to be transposed on a larger scale in our lives and in our nation.

Thank you for listening. 

Released by:
Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
31st July 2019 

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Promoting National Unity Fosters Progress And Prosperity, Says Osinbajo

Promoting national unity and cohesion amongst Nigeria’s diverse population rather than divisiveness will guarantee the kind of progress and prosperity that citizens have long desired, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. 

Prof.  Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday in Lagos while delivering the 70th Anniversary Lecture of the Lagos Country Club, entitled, “Promoting National Cohesion for Progress and Prosperity.”

According to him, “Everything we have learned from the annals of history and from contemporary reports from all over the world, tells us that social diversity can either be a trigger for conflict or a fountain of prosperity and progress. 

“Diversity in and of itself is not a problem; it is what we do with it that matters. Whether or not sociocultural variety results in strife or collective success entirely depends on how a society choose to manage it.”

The Vice President said though the challenges of insecurity occasioned by hate speech and promotion of divisiveness is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, the same principle of diversity and national cohesion driving economic growth in other successful nations applies even in Nigeria.

Citing local examples of States that have harnessed their diversities to attain some levels of progress and prosperity, the Vice President said, “our most dynamic economic spaces have been historically multicultural cities like Lagos and Kano”.

“Lagos as a port city obviously benefitted from its coastal location as a gateway to the African continent for traders and adventurers from beyond the seas as well as from the hinterland. Kano was a major terminal on the trans-Saharan trade drawing commercial traffic from as far North as the Maghreb and the Middle East and from Southern Nigeria. 

“The conscious decision of Bola Tinubu then Governor of Lagos to appoint his commissioners from everywhere in Nigeria is partly responsible for the peerless progress of Lagos State. 

“He appointed Mr Wale Edun from Ogun State as Finance Commissioner, Rauf Aregbesola from Osun as Commissioner for Works, Fola Arthur Worrey from Delta as Commissioner for Lands, Ben Akabueze from Anambra as Commissoner for Budget and Planning, Lai Mohammed from Kwara State as Chief of Staff and I, from Ogun State, as his Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. 

“Lagos undertook fiscal, real property, judicial and environmental reforms that has made the State a model for the rest of the country. Nigeria is the same nation that produced Philip Emeagwali, an Igbo Christian; Africa’s first Nobel laureate in Literature, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Yoruba, of no known religion; and Jelani Aliyu, Fulani, Muslim, a world class designer of motor vehicles. Nigeria is the nation it is because of the collective strength of its many talents, attributes and contours.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that when we create spaces for migratory talent to flourish without discrimination, there is an economic multiplier effect that results in an ever-increasing radius of growth,” he said.

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said, “It is no accident that that the most affluent economies in the world are places that have learned to leverage diversity. In the 21st century, the true wealth of nations is human capital.”

According to him, “this means that places that have learned to attract and retain the most diverse pool of skilled human resources are easily winning the race for success. Diversity means a multiplicity of perspectives and world views, but this also provides a broad range of cultural, philosophical and intellectual approaches for solving problems. 

“In this rich soil, nourished by various ideas and schools of thought, productive synthesis is possible and innovation flourishes. Thus, the world’s richest nations are those places that have learned how to attract talent from various places and to harness diversity as a driver of growth.”

The Vice President said Nigeria can transform its diversity into cohesion that would lead to greater prosperity, noting that the Buhari administration has adopted and initiated programmes that leveraged on the diversity of Nigeria’s population.

He said, “The classification of Nigerians as “indigenes” and “non-indigenes” is our own form of divisionism and has long contradicted our declared aspirations towards unity in diversity. All that should matter in evaluating ourselves is where we live and fulfil our civic obligations. This is why our Social Investment Programmes are being administered on the basis of residency.

“The eligible beneficiaries were selected based on their states of residence and none was discriminated against on any basis. This approach is consistent with our broader philosophy of fostering national cohesion by broadening access to opportunity for all Nigerians without qualification.”

He urged Nigerians to “continue to defuse the potential perils of diversity by continuing to pursue measures that promote social inclusion and national cohesion.”

On ensuring the protection of rights, lives and property in a diverse society like Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo said, “one of the most important ramparts of national cohesion are the guarantees of fundamental freedoms. The right to life, which comes with the duty of governments to ensure peace and security, freedom of movement, freedom of Worship, and the rule of law.”

According to him, “everyone must be reasonably assured that their lives and livelihoods will be protected by government, that their disputes will be fairly and justly resolved regardless of their ethnicity or faith.  Our challenges as a nation basically centre around these issues – religious conflicts, farmer-herder clashes in the North Central and many parts of the North West, Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, and militancy in the Niger Delta. 

“When law enforcement institutions are weak there is a huge opportunity to run divisive narratives. By that I mean that where, for example, the security agencies do not speedily apprehend criminals, or the criminal justice system is slow, then there is room for people to say that authorities don’t arrest and prosecute Fulani herders when they kill because the law enforcement officers are often not resident in the communities where they are posted for policing duties; then it is easier to promote doubt about their commitment to ensuring the safety of the communities they police.”

Still on the issue of law and order, the Vice President said, “where the quality and integrity of judges is in doubt, it is easier to find parochial reasons for unfavourable decisions.”

Citing the reforms carried out by the Lagos State Government between 1999 and 2007 as an example, the Vice President said “we must strengthen our judicial system, first by the appointment of judges of integrity and sound legal knowledge and then putting in place a welfare package that discourages misconduct.”

He added, “In diverse societies we must do all that is necessary to strengthen the institutions of law enforcement, security and the rule of law. The challenge is dynamic and our approach must also be dynamic. 

“Which is why I believe that State Police in a large, diverse federation is imperative. However, this requires constitutional amendment a product of consensus of our legislators. In the interim the Federal Government has approved the community policing option.

“The IGP recently announced the plan. An important component is that in the new approach to police recruitments. Police officers will be recruited in each local government and after training will be required to remain in their local governments.  

“The plan also involves interfaces between traditional rulers, State neighbourhood watch or vigilante programmes and the police. The security architecture is now being reengineered for greater use of technology and more integration of the use of security platforms.”

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Recruiting Police Officers From Their Communities To Serve There Will Improve Security In States – Osinbajo

In continuation of the series of consultations with a number of leading traditional rulers in different states to help bolster security architecture in local communities and effectively tackle security challenges around the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, met with traditional rulers in Osogbo, Osun State capital, today.

Speaking with the press after the meeting with Obas in the state, including the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran; and several leading traditional rulers in the State, Prof. Osinbajo said this part of the consultations highlighted the importance of community policing as a major aspect of improving the security architecture in States.

The Vice President further said that effective collaboration between local police officers alongside neighbourhood watch programmes in States would help combat security challenges. 

Prof. Osinbajo noted that traditional rulers constitute a very important part of this arrangement (security architecture) in states, because they act as the interface between the State governments’ and Federal Government’s security architecture.

“We try to look at how all of these would work effectively. Obviously, we need more men and women on ground, we need more security,” he said.

The Vice President added, “We spent a fair amount of time trying to understand the security architecture of the State; where the difficulties may lie and steps that need to be taken. As you know, we’ve already had consultations with the State governors, including State governors of the South West. We’ve also held consultations with the service chiefs.

“So, this stage of the consultations with the traditional rulers is very important, because they are the most important component of the security architecture of the State, in particular because of the plans that we have for community policing. And I’m sure you’ve heard the Inspector General of Police talking about this. It will involve recruiting policemen locally in their local government areas, and letting them remain in their local government areas where they’ve been recruited. Obviously, they would better understand the landscape, their neighbourhood and places. 

“And of course, we also expect that they would be working with the neighbourhood watch programmes in the various States.”

The Vice President assured Nigerians that the Buhari administration has set up measures to effectively tackle security challenges nationwide, including the recent Shi’ites protest in Abuja, emphasizing that President Buhari puts a premium on the lives and security of all Nigerians.

According to him “I’m sure you heard already what the President said about it (Shiites protest) and the instructions that was given to the Inspector General of Police. Some of these issues are dynamic and we have to keep ensuring that we are steps ahead of them. I’m very confident that given a lot of what has been done already, and what the IG himself intends to put in place, we’ll be able to contain most of the security challenges without much problems.”

The Vice President was accompanied by the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Alabi, who hosted the meeting at the Government House, Osogbo. Other security chiefs, including from the police and the military were also in attendance.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
23rd July, 2019

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Nigeria Will Be Peaceful As FG, States Tackling Security Challenges – Osinbajo

The Federal Government is making concerted efforts to tackle the country’s security challenges to ensure protection of lives and property, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said today in Ondo during a condolence visit to Pa Reuben Fasoranti, whose daughter, Mrs. Funke Olakunrin, was killed by gunmen a few days ago in the State.

Condemning the killing, Prof. Osinbajo prayed for God to comfort the family, noting that Government and security agencies will ensure the killers are brought to book.

The Vice President who was accosted by journalists after condoling with the Fasoranti and Olakunrin families in Ondo stated that “this is a massive tragedy as you can imagine, and we have seen it precipitated here and there, kidnappings and death. By and large, we are looking at the whole security architecture and trying to upscale the security architecture, to ensure that we are able to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.”

“We can be hopeful that we will see peace and calm as some of the steps we are taking come into fruition. As you all know, I have met with the Governors in the Southwest and Governors in the different zones, everybody is coming together to look at what to do to ensure that security is adequate and that everyone feels safe and secure.”

Speaking further, the Vice President emphasized the importance of community policing to prevent the occurrence of such dastardly crimes.

He said, “As you know, the President, very recently, met with the Service Chiefs, and also with the Inspector General of Police, and they have laid out a new policy on Community Policing. One of the most important things in these sorts of crimes, because they are largely economic crimes, is that people are trying to make money by kidnappings.

“One of the most important things is gathering intelligence and that is why we have Community Policing; where policemen will be trained in their own local governments and remain there. This is as close as we can get to the Community Policing structure that we expect to have.

“The other thing is that we are also engaging the Army, so there will be a bit more military presence, especially along the roads and as you’ve heard, the Inspector General of Police has committed to full coverage with even helicopters, first in the search for the killers, and also to ensure adequate presence to deter this kind of terrible situation from recurring.”

While noting the challenges of security in a hugely populated and dynamic country like Nigeria, the Vice President said the government will continue to take dynamic measures to tackle the challenges to secure lives and property.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

Office of the Vice President

14th July, 2019

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A Communique Of A Meeting By The NEC Committee On Farmers/Herders Crisis

  1. The NEC Committee on the Farmers/Herders Crisis under the chairmanship of Mr. Vice President, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo met today, 3rd July, 2019.
  2. Members that were present were Mr. Vice President who presided over the meeting, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State who is the Chairman of the NEC-Sub Technical Committee on Farmers/Herders crisis, Governor of Kebi State who is the Vice Chairman of Food Security Council, Governor of Plateau State, Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President; office of the Vice President, Permanent Secretary; Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Andrew Kwasali-Secretary of the NEC-Sub Technical Committee on Farmers/Herders Crisis and Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  3. Members deliberated on the NEC and Federal Government approved programme of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
  4. Members are aware that Mr. President has suspended the implementation of RUGA programme initiated and implemented alone by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources because it is not consistent with the NEC and FGN approved NLTP which has programmes of rehabilitation of displaced IDPs within crisis States and development of Ranching in any willing State of the federation.
  5. The beauty of NLTP is that what NEC and FGN approved is only voluntary to all the 36 States who may like to participate.
  6. That any state that is interested in NLTP is required to bring development plan in line with NLTP for implementation in his State which will be unique to the State based on the challenges of the State.
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Osinbajo’s Rise And Climb: Through The Hearts Of Nigerians, And Through Our Rough Political Waters, By Richard Ogundiya

For most of the country’s democratic sovereignty, there’s been enough disparagement about the weakness of the nation’s second office. However, one gripping fact from the 2019 general elections is the rising power of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the public’s increased interest for his job more than in other election cycles.

Six years ago I sat in a room filled with young professionals and graduates who claimed to be interested in national politics, only 3 people knew who the Vice President of Nigeria was at the time, Namadi Sambo. It wasn’t so strange, the same goes for Atiku Abubakar, President Buhari’s strongest contender in the 2019 general elections; not a lot of people can point out to his deeds and accomplishments as the Vice President of Nigeria between 1999 to 2007, save allegations that haunt him to this day. By his own conduct, Professor-turned-Politician, Yemi Osinbajo, a central across-the-board figure, exercising his shrewdness and mild suaveness in his service as Buhari’s deputy provoked this sudden outburst for credo. While many argue that the VP office is like the human appendix, a vestigial organ on the body politic – unnecessary, Prof as he is fondly called has broken the jinx; he is arguably Nigeria’s most industrious VP on record. Since assuming office in 2015, he has worked with relevant departments and agencies to identify problems and recommend solutions regarding economic development, healthcare, foreign exchange policies, poverty alleviation and food security.

With vast experience in international law practice and academia, the VP has served in several positions of authority and contributes to the national discourse even before his foray into active politics. As Attorney General of Lagos State, he is credited with undertaking far-reaching significant judicial reforms, addressing critical areas as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training and discipline as well as access to justice for the poor by establishing appropriate institutions in the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC). He solitarily founded the Orderly Society Trust (OST), an excel literacy programme that aims to provide children in public primary schools with the same level of training in English as is available to their counterparts in private schools. His drive for getting the average Nigerian child quality education doesn’t stop at that, he organized the Liberty Schools Project that still provides free primary school education with free school lunches to poor children. The Project currently has three sites, one very close to where I live in Lagos.

In 2016, when the nation’s economy hit a nosedive, the VP alongside the National Economic Council which he chairs presented ‘59 strategies for implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). The efforts of the NEC were instrumental in defining Nigeria’s policy direction and prudence that saw Nigeria ushered out of a recession quicker than economists predicted. Policies such as the unpopular ban of FOREX provisions to 41 items made significant impact in managing our scarce Dollars at that time.

On the President’s directive, he plays a significant role in the ‘Niger Delta New Vision’ plan – a set of promises, solutions and initiatives the President Buhari administration has set in place for the restoration of peace and ensuring the region benefits maximally from the nation’s oil wealth. The programme has fostered security in the creeks and enabled an increase in production and hitch-free flow of crude to the international market. Along with 12 Federal Ministries and state governments, Professor Osinbajo launched the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Clinic (MSME), a scheme addressing the plethora of challenges affecting the growth and productivity of growing businesses to bring about significant and sustainable GDP growth, employment generation and increase in local productivity.

Osinbajo’s claim to fame can be traced back to May 2017 when he was conferred the Acting President of the Federation during President Buhari’s medical leave. Unlike his predecessors, President Buhari vested all legal powers to him in accordance with the constitution. As Acting President, Osinbajo exhibited fearlessness and charisma, taking decisive and perhaps dramatic actions. He ordered the overhaul of SARS – the Police’s notorious anti-robbery squad and demanded quick investigation of numerous allegations of assaults by the unit. He sacked Daura, the DSS Chief, describing his actions as ‘unacceptable and a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all accepted notions of law and order’. Indeed, he knows his stuff. In that interlude, when he wasn’t leading FEC meetings, he was engaging the 36 states with a keen interest in grassroots politics, women affairs, agriculture and young people. He has shown a mastery of communication and responsibility; like President Buhari, he is still actively engaged in the fight for the return of kidnapped girls and the welfare of their families; during the campaigns, he held numerous town hall meetings across the country and participated in youth-led initiatives clamouring for change. In less than 5 years on the national scene, he has gained good popularity among the Nigerian people for his achievements and dexterity in handling national issues.

In the cyberspace, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has gathered the most likes, comments and engagements, grossing over 500,000 likes on Facebook, 2 million followers on Twitter and 500,000 Instagram subscribers and social strength of 16 million, he is the second most-followed Nigerian politician after his boss President Muhammadu Buhari. For the first time in a long time we are witnessing a proactive and dynamic 62-year-old man – petite, eloquent, tech-savvy, and an unassuming leader.

While a vice presidential pick has never been solely credited with swinging an election, it can leave an indelible impression about the judgment of a would-be president or help address something that is lacking at the top of the ticket; whether it be a regional appeal, ideological purity, religious sentiments or a gap in their resume. Sometimes, it’s all of the above.

His role in the country’s technological ecosystem cannot be easily undermined. From being part of a tech tour around hubs and start-ups across Nigeria to facilitating the 2016 Aso Villa Demo day, a platform meant to promote innovation and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups solving local problems. Interestingly, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg made his first trip to Africa and was also part of the pitch competition to which the VP played host. At the Google For Nigeria 2018 event, Osinbajo assured that Nigeria will partner with Google to boost internet connectivity nationwide. You’ll also catch the VP at creative events and spaces where Nigeria’s new age is being celebrated. Whether it’s at the Ake Book Festival, Art Summits or Fashion Week, he appeals as a desirable model of what a progressive leader should be.

Many also love him for his religious ties, prior to his role as VP, Professor Osinbajo served as a top pastor in the Redeemed Christian church of God, Nigeria’s largest Pentecostal Church body, but beyond this, his sheer honesty, intellectual acuity and genuine delight has caused him to be loved by all and sundry. His rise to the heart of the Nigerian people has been an easy climb.

Richard Ogundiya is a Journalist covering technology, politics, development and culture in Africa.

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