Vice President Yemi Osinbajo means different things to different people. As a student, he showed brilliance at every level of education he passed through. At University of Lagos (UNILAG) where he obtained a degree in law, he distinguished himself, bagging second class upper on graduation.
That set the stage for a robust teaching career for Osinbajo at his alma mater where his outstanding character got him noticed by then Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, who took him in as his Special Assistant
That marked his foray into governance. Even if that was under a military dispensation, he must have learnt some rudiments of politics. His second foray into politics came in 1999 when, still based on his brilliant credentials in law, Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu invited him to join his cabinet as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State and he did not disappoint. The bulk of the law reforms that endure today in the state were initiated under that administration.
The flawless delivery of the Lagos cabinet job and his deep commitment to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a platform to lift the nation out of the morass of the past must have recommended the professor of law, among other factors, for his latest assignment in Aso Rock where he is Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. For instance, after the formation of the APC in 2013, Osinbajo was tasked, with other notable Nigerians, to design and produce a manifesto for the new political party.
This culminated in the presentation of the ‘Roadmap to a New Nigeria’, a document published by APC as its manifesto if elected to power. The highlights of the Roadmap included a free school meal plan, a conditional cash transfer to the 25 million poorest Nigerians if they enrol their children in school and immunise them. There were also a number of programs designed to create economic opportunities for Nigeria’s massive youth population. With the involvement of the VP in the design and production of the APC, the Buhari administration has, in its wisdom, allowed the implementation of some of the key components to fall under the supervision of the VP.
For instance, the school meal and conditional cash transfer components of the APC government manifesto are aggressively being pursued under the Office of the VP with evidence from across the 36 states showing that both programmes are a huge success. There is obviously no better way to describe the situation other than the fact that Osinbajo has acquitted himself very well.
The implementation of the anti-corruption crusade of the administration is also being carried by relevant MDAs in collaboration with the Office of the VP. This is not a surprise given that Osinbajo has carved a niche for himself as a professor of law.
The successes the administration has made on its anti-corruption drive, which is one of the three key electioneering promises of the APC government (the two others being security and economic growth), cannot be celebrated without mentioning the contribution of the VP who has stood solidly behind the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against those who want him out on the grounds of his non-compromising stance to recover huge public funds stolen by past government officials, especially those of the immediate past administration. Meanwhile, the VP is a pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in the country, the Redeemed Christian Church of God. And it was on that premise that Osinbajo spoke truth to those who will rather that the nation stops talking about the large scale corruption perpetrated by the immediate past administration and which everyone agrees virtually killed the economy. The VP spoke alongside Tinubu at the colloquim to mark the 66th birthday of the APC national leader. Osinbajo, who described corruption as an existential problem for Nigeria, had said,
“The corruption of the previous five years destroyed the economy.” “They say don’t talk about it. What should we talk about? If we are not talking about it, what then is the lesson to Nigerians?” Tinubu said. He said that the former ruling Peoples Democratic Party wasted the nation’s resources when production was at maximum. But those who do not want to continue to hear the truth about how corruption of the Jonathan administration brought the economy to a point that it nearly collapsed, expectedly, have joined issues with the VP because they don’t want to be reminded of their ugly past and, by so doing, amend their ways. But this appears to have been formulated for them to know the truth, amend their ways and make reparation so that they can be forgiven by God and man, and be free. That is the VP and Tinubu’s simple message.