Osinbajo Averts Impending Unrest, Calms FCT Protesters

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday averted what was an impending civil unrest when he alighted from his convoy to assuage protesters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Vice President who was headed to Ekiti state for the launch of the National Home Grown School Feeding scheme ran into the protesters who had barricaded the road, he alighted from his car and had a chat with the irate youths who began chanting his name soon as he was identified.

The protesters comprising mainly of young men and some women from Gbayi village were protesting at Gossa, the alleged invasion of their land by the Nigerian Military, urged the Vice President to intervene in the issue.

Responding to their plea, the Vice President assured them that he would meet with the village leaders to find lasting solution to the problem at hand.

He urged the youth to seek more diplomatic ways of solving issues. He assured them that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is dedicated to the people and that the dividend of democracy will be enjoyed by all.

The protesters said if they had known that the Vice President was going to ply the road they would not have acted in the manner which they did.

Thereafter, the youths once again began to chant his name and then made way for the Vice President to proceed to the airport.

Speaking to the media, a protester who identified himself as Danlami Abdulgafar praised Prof. Osinbajo for his humane nature. He said the Vice President understands and relates with the plight of ordinary Nigerians.

“Imagine that all Nigerians politicians are like Prof. (Osinbajo), this country would have succeeded since the 70s. He came down from his vehicle and he addressed us, in fact we were happy that he accorded us so much respect.

Another protester, Gwatana Muktar said if it were to be any other politician they would not even listen to the person. “You know during campaign he visited almost all the villages and we saw him first hand. He is a very humble man and God will continue to bless him,” he said.

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Re: Osinbajo’s Crocodile Tears In Kigali, By Muhammad Gulani

Nigeria is an African power. It’s economy, its politics, its people and the character of these rare diverse heterogeneous society has easily made it the Giant of Africa. So there is no wonder that as a country, we were invited to the 25th National Commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide that held in Kigali, Rwanda. Representing Nigeria and its President was Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo – A pastor and an academician with depth of experience in law and governance.

So when the writer of “Osinbajos Crocodile Tears in Kigali” asked “What is the Situation in Osinbajos Nigeria? And answered with the word “pathetic” my first thought was that the writer either did not appreciate who the Vice President was, or did not appreciate Nigeria from a holistic point of view, or both – which is most likely.

It is surprising for one to think of the Nigerian state and the statements of the Vice President as a pun or as Casmir Igbokwe dubbed it in his article as“Crocodile Tears”, we all know that the Vice President has continuously shown that he is a man of Integrity, a man of God and would never disrespect the Nigerian people by playing politics with their lives.

As a country, I do believe that we are not yet where we should be – we are not yet at El-Dorado – but it is undeniable that progress is being made across board. Albeit slow and steady, nonetheless it is progress and that is what is key.

While speaking on the issues surrounding the NDIGBO people, the writer was quick to mislead his readers by pushing the narrative that the present government appointments were mostly Northern deliberately forgetting to take a broader look at appointments shared in the country. The Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General of NIMASA, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Head of Service among numerous others are all from the Southern parts of the country. Perhaps the writer willfully forgets that the Southern parts of the country is not limited to the South East alone, but also covers the South South and the South West – each clamoring for more representation as much as the other.

The southern parts of Nigeria is also as diverse in tribe and culture as the North.

The single narrative of the “Sidelined Igbos” deployed by the writer cannot stand the test of reality when one fact-checks the many benefits they enjoy in personnel and policies in this government.

Across the country are various construction projects, in every state of the Federation a federal project is ongoing. The President Buhari administration is working overdrive in terms of infrastructure deployment. Of key interest to any observer of the infrastructure being deployed across the country is the famous Second Niger Bridge. It finds itself in the heart of the South East and South South and has been an item clamored for by these people for decades.

The Buhari Administration has committed over N31Billion to the main works of the 2nd Niger Bridge. Work is over 51 percent completed. With little resources, President Buhari’s administration is doing quite a bogus lot for the people of the region.

The writer attempts to suggest tolerance of hate speech by the Buhari administration. Such a pedestal claim does not stand a place in reality. The President has been very categorical on this, and willingly signed the Peace Accord to enthrone sanity in the communications and campaigns during the electioneering periods.

It is so easy to dwell in the negatives of society forgetting the many good the world has to offer. That Nigeria has moved four places up in the Human Development Index and has also moved up in the Ease Of Doing Business Ranking are testaments to a country in upward motion. Nigeria today has attained self sufficient in rice production and has began even exportation. Foreing Direct Investments into the country has reached record levels; insecurity is being tackled ruthlessly and sincerely.

The various Social Investment Programs of this Administration prove that indeed better days for Nigerians are here. The programmes have reached a record 12 Million direct beneficiaries.

Terrorism is being fought day in day out in the areas of the North East and the Buhari administration can beat its chest to say it has recorded tangible achievements here. The banditry in Zamfara is being taken seriously. The full force of Nigeria’s military and other security arms have weighed in and are bombarding these criminals daily. The“Operation Sharan Daji”has been launched specifically to deal with the Zamfara bandits. Progress is being made.

The Vice President has also shown utmost sincerity and has never tried to downplay the killings in these areas. He has visited Benue, Plateau and Kaduna over killings that occurred in the areas – especially communal and inter-tribal clashes. He has advocated for forgiveness and offered pragmatic solutions towards peace building in these societies. He has seen to the facilitation of Peace and Reconciliation Committee in states like Kaduna, and Benue among many others.

It is not in the nature of the Vice President both as an academician and as a man of God to play politics with the life of the people. Security is everyones responsibility and the Vice President has emphasized that time and again.

He rightfully pointed out during his remarks to journalists in Kigali “We must not allow a repeat of what happened in Rwanda.” Statements like that of Casmir Igbokwe tell only a lopsided truth that fuel division, fuel hate and promote tension. These were the harbingers of the nasty events of the Rwandan genocide. Mr. Igbokwe has not learnt his lesson. It appears in fact, that Professor Osinbajo’s sermon was indeed for him.

The problem with the single story is that it shows a thing as a single thing, forgetting that there are two sides to a coin. Nigeria just like any other country is as diverse in its triumphs and problems and it is highly unfair to Igbokwe’s reader and Nigerians to view our complexities from only the negatives.

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is a father and God fearing man, he has shown this time after time, will never play politics with his people.

Muhammad Gulani, is a political commentator and writes from Zaria, Kaduna

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Fake News: Osinbajo Never Said Kogi Govt Will Be In Trouble

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo never said Kogi State government will be in trouble if he had died in a helicopter crash, transcript of his goodwill message has revealed.

Newspaper and online platforms had published reports that Prof. Osinbajo had claimed that the Kogi State Government would be in trouble if he had died in the helicopter crash.

Speaking at a special thanksgiving service at the Banquet Hall in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Prof. Osinbajo thanked God for his live and for surviving the crash.

God is truly worthy of praise and thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Him enough. I and my family, and so many of us here today have so many reasons to thank Him.

Occasionally, my wife and I reflect on how unlikely our journey here is. She frequently reminds me that all she wanted was a quiet life as one of the many families of academics living on the university campus. That was all that I promised, and that’s all that she really expected, but here we are.

If someone had said to me in 2013, “you will be campaigning across the country; attending rallies and that you would win the elections and become the Vice President of Nigeria”, I would, because I am generally polite, have said amen, but in my heart, I would have said what a crazy chap!

Anyone who knows how difficult it is to campaign for Local Government Chairman and win, will understand how difficult it is to accept that merely because someone said so, that you would be elected into any position. I’m sure many of us here today, also celebrating the success of the elections, national assembly members and governors-elect also, would accept that except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it. It is impossible to know the outcomes of anything. It is the Almighty God who brings about the wonderful phase that we celebrate and thank Him for.

I realize that I have no special qualification to be here or to have enjoyed such an incredible promotion. Psalms 75:6 says for exaltation comes neither from the East nor from the West nor from the South, all the exaltations comes from God.

Psalms 75:7 says but God is the Judge; He puts down one, and He exalts another. I want to thank the Almighty God for exaltations. I want to thank Him also for all of us here present, and those believing God for exaltations. I believe the Lord God Almighty would promote you also in Jesus name.

On the 2nd of February 2019, God gave me and members of my family, friends and colleagues, even further reasons to know that if not for His mercies, we would have been consumed. We were going to Kogi for a two-day campaign tour, and then our helicopter crashed as we got in to land at Kabba. You know how it is when things happen, everybody becomes spiritual; everybody becomes a prophet, people saying why and how?

I remember in the split second when the incident occurred, for a second, there was absolute silence and nobody said anything. It was my brother who started shouting Jesus Jesus Jesus! But for a moment, there was complete silence in the helicopter.

On reflection, it occurred to me that if we had died, that is what would have happened, complete silence, nobody saying a single word. A few minutes later with all of the activities, all of us got out of the helicopter without a scratch. God is surely worthy to be praised!

I reflected over the various problems that would have occurred; the smaller problems would have been the rumours, how did it happen? Who did it? Why did they do it? With the way we are, I just felt sorry for so many people who would have been involved in conspiracy theories of things they knew absolutely nothing about. But God delivered them too because they would have had to explain themselves.

We bless the name of God that He not only wrought such a great deliverance, but that He did it in such a way that only He could take the glory. We give all the glory to Him!

I want to thank everyone who has supported in so many different ways, all through the campaigns and elections, so much support and prayers, so much love and kindness. I pray that the Almighty God would be kind to you also, you will never lack in support, you will never lack in care and affection, you will never lack the genuine prayers of those who want you to succeed in the mighty name of Jesus.

I pray that all of us will travel in aircrafts and the Almighty God will always deliver. It is by His grace that we are delivered. It is not by anything we do or we are careful not to do.

I recall that there was a gentleman who was talking about how it is always good to exercise, but another friend of ours reminded him that there was a particular gentleman who we all knew very well, who died while exercising. So I think that all we can depend on is the sheer grace of the Almighty God.

So we praise the Almighty God and I want each and every one of us who believes that the Almighty God is worthy of praise, shout one mighty halleluiah!

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We Will Expand Tradermoni, N-Power, School Feeding, Others – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government will expand Social Investment Programmes including TraderMoni, N-Power and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

Speaking at the 11th Bola Tinubu Colloquium themed: ‘Work For People’ at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Thursday, he assured Nigerians of better times.

Prof. Osinbajo explained that at the Next Level many Nigerians will benefit from the programmes introduced by the federal government.

“We are talking again about our Social Investment Programmes (SIPs). At the Next Level, we will, of course, expand our Social Investment Programme; at the moment, the programme is the biggest of its kind anywhere in the African continent. 

“In our school feeding programme, we are feeding every day, 9.2 million children in public schools across 26 states.

“That programme is important not just from the point of view of providing nutrition for many of the young people in public schools, many of whom come from very poor parents and may not be assured of a decent meal a day.

“It is a very important programme for us also because of the multiplier-effect on agriculture and also in the distribution of the products and also those we employ as cooks.

“The same is true of our TraderMoni programme, a component of our Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), where we are giving money to the bottom of the trading pyramid in Nigeria.

“It is a programme of the Bank of Industry where we give loans of N10, 000 to petty traders through their mobile phones and they get N15,000 when they pay back, then N20,000 and more up to N100,000.

“The same is true of our MarketMoni which we give to traders in cooperatives. So far, we have over a million TraderMoni beneficiaries and about 500,000 MarketMoni beneficiaries and we intend to expand the scope of that.

“We also intend to expand the scope of our N-Power programme which is our job scheme for young people. Young graduates coming out of school and some non-graduates.

“At the moment, we are engaging 500,000 of these young people and we pay them every month. Most of them have devices/tablets that contain training materials in enhancing their viability skills and also helps them to provide services to people who require them. 

“We intend to expand the programme; we must expand the programme because 1.7million people come out of school and are looking for jobs every single year, we are able to bridge that gap by engaging 500,000 of them as soon as they come out of school.  

“So, the Next Level promises to be exciting, though a bit challenging as possibly as where we are coming from. But as the President has said repeatedly, we have no other focus but the progress of this country. And we will ensure that step-by-step, we get to where it is that we promised to take the country. 

“I want to say to you all that the Next Level is for all of us and I urge that all of us cooperate to take us to this Next Level,” he said in his speech.

So, on behalf of the President, Muhammadu Buhari whom I represent here today, I want to wish Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, happy birthday and to thank you all for making out time to come to this event.

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30,000 Petty Traders Receive Trader Moni Loans After Elections

Contrary to speculations in some quarters, the TraderMoni scheme and other GEEP micro-credit products (MarketMoni and FarmerMoni) – a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, are still very much in operation, Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President (Office of the Vice President), has said.

Mr Akande disclosed this in a progress report on the GEEP micro-credit products (TraderMoni, MarketMoni, and FarmerMoni).

According to him, “So far, a target of 30,000 minimum beneficiaries per state has been achieved in majority of the 36 states and FCT since after the national and state polls.”


Besides, he added that “what the implementing agency has been doing since the last phase of disbursements is generating the balance of program funding while ramping up on the states with shortages.”

“Consequently, disbursements have continued to happen in the states; for instance, we have had over 28,000 disbursements across 10 states since after the elections.

“Our priority is ramping up these numbers in the balance of states before we move to phase two of the program after detailed reviews and structural enhancements for larger scale.

“Under the Next Level agenda, Trader Moni loans will target ten million petty traders, a significant ramp up from the initial target of two million beneficiaries.

On the role of the Ministry for Industry, Trade and Investment in the implementation of the scheme, he said, “it is actively involved in the project.”

Mr Akande said, “that ministry is, in fact the oversighting Ministry of Bank of Industry, which is the deploying agency. The office of the Minister executes the GEEP program via the Bank of Industry. 

“The governance structure of GEEP includes the office of the Vice President (National Social Investment Office), The Ministry of Trade and Investment, and the Bank of Industry.” 

Speaking on measures adopted to enhance repayments, the Presidential Media Aide said GEEP has pioneered innovative solutions to drive repayment compliance.

“Working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), we successfully piloted the concept of the BVN as digital collateral; and we saw repayment go up significantly on the MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans.

“For TraderMoni, beneficiaries can pay back at any commercial bank in the country just like a NEPA or WAEC bill; all they need to provide the bank teller with is their phone number. We also developed and successfully piloted scratch cards as a repayment option for beneficiaries who stay kilometres away from the nearest banks in their community. The cards are loaded the same way Telco recharge cards are loaded, thus requiring no new learning curve.

“This improved repayment received compliance to the extent that in January, the Bank of Industry began second level disbursements – disbursements of N15,000 – to beneficiaries in Lagos, Borno, Ogun and Oyo states for trader who had successfully paid back their first N10,000 loans,” Mr Akande disclosed. 

According to him, “GEEP’s vision (in the long term) remains to empower the over 30 million MSMEs in Nigeria with interest-free, collateral-free loans.”

The GEEP programme, a component of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) has since inception about two years ago, impacted many lives, improved living conditions and expanded opportunities for ordinary Nigerians to do petty trading as well as small and medium scale businesses. 

Under the Trader Moni scheme, an initial N10,000 loan is given to petty traders and once they repay within six months, they can receive a new N15,000 loan and when they repay that they can get another N20,000 loan until they get as much as N100,000

 

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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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