Last week, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, shook the entire political landscape in the country when he threw his hat into the ring and publicly declared to run for the most exalted office in the land- the office of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. It must be said that his declaration came as a shock to many. Not a few expected he would decline to run for president, going by his close ties with his political mentor and benefactor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Without a doubt, PYO as his admirers prefers to call him is more than eminently qualified to aspire to become the next president of the country. He is brilliant, he is eloquent, he’s a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and what’s more, he has been deputy to President Muhammadu Buhari for about seven years, so it is only expected that anyone in his position would aspire to move up a notch higher. But Yemi Osinbajo isn’t just anyone, he is one of the closest allies to the national leader of the APC, the man who presented his name and nominated him as the running mate to PMB. This, among other reasons, is why many were shocked when PYO actually went on to declare to run for president. And, as would be expected, his declaration has incurred the wrath of many Tinubu loyalists and ordinary admirers alike, who felt that, as a mark of respect and gratitude to the man who raised him up from obscurity to a position of absolute prominence and power, PYO should never have declared to go on a head-on collision with Tinubu.
The story of the relationship between vice president Yemi Osinbajo and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been well documented. They go back a long way. When Asiwaju was governor of Lagos State, Yemi Osinbajo got his first political job ever. He was made Attorney General by BAT and then Commissioner for Justice in Lagos (1999 -2007). He was one of Tinubu’s most trusted aides. City People has it on good authority that the land on which his present house in Banana Island, Lagos, was built was gifted to him by Asiwaju. Even the cost of building the house was largely undertaken by the former Lagos State Governor. That’s how close they are. And in 21015, when it became apparent that Tinubu couldn’t run with Buhari as his deputy, he gave Osinbajo the biggest opportunity he could ever have dreamt of when he offered him the VP slot on a platter of gold. Osinbajo is on the last lap of his second term in office. He has served his principal well. The majority of Nigerians think that he has not done too badly as the deputy to a president that hasn’t been exactly popular. They thought the professor would be looking forward to the end of his administration’s tenure next year so he could retire quietly and go back to more private life in the academic world. But they thought wrong. Prof has tasted real power. He wants to become president. He wants to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
How will this play out for him? How will he be able to look in the eye of Asiwaju, his benefactor, and be the man to stand between him and his lifetime dream of becoming president of the federal republic of Nigeria? Now that he has declared, how will he deal with the torrents of vitriolic attacks that will be directed at him from every part of the country, especially the southwest? Does he have answers to many of the questions people are waiting to ask him at this time regarding his aspiration? There are so many burning questions Nigerians are already asking the vice president, questions to which they demand answers and the following are some of those questions.
For most Nigerians who have followed closely the relationship between Tinubu and Osinbajo, the very first question they will probably ask is the one that raises the issue of loyalty and betrayal. Many are still puzzled as to how or why on earth has the vice president decided to go toe-to-toe on the political battlefield with the very man that made him everything he has become and accomplished today? Is it the lure of the irresistible attraction and power that comes with the office of the president, the most powerful man in the land? Why would the once humble and level headed professor become so obsessed with acquiring power so much so that he would literally slaughter a relationship that has given him far much more than he could ever have hoped for? Within and outside the Tinubu camp, it is believed that Osinbajo is the largest beneficiary of the Asiwaju political empire. This is not debatable. He is expected to demonstrate the highest level of unwavering loyalty to his leader. He is the last person anyone expected would turn around to square up against Jagaban, the man who taught him every single thing he knows in politics. But it appears the professor now listens only to the sycophants and boot lickers around him, who urge him to throw loyalty to the dogs and take his destiny into his own hands.
This next observation is very key and it is one question the vice president would have to continuously deal with in the course of his campaigns and political debates if he does go on to pick the party’s presidential ticket. The vice president is the head of the Nigerian Economic Council, and right under his watch, the Nigerian economy has gone comatose. For seven years, he has watched helplessly as Nigeria’s economy is plunged into shambles, with the Naira at its lowest ebb, bringing untold hardship upon Nigerians who are now said to be living below the poverty line. The question is, having been in charge of the country’s economy for seven years and performed woefully in those seven years, what will he do differently if elected president? What sort of opportunities is he waiting to get to be able to turn the economy around that he has not had yet?
In his declaration speech, the vice president said he wishes to build on the legacies that his principal, President Buhari, would be leaving behind when he hands overcome next year, possibly to him, now the question is, what legacy is he talking about? What legacy is he planning or hoping to build on if and when he becomes president? Is he by any chance implying that he will continue with the ruinous legacies of his principal, a legacy of bloodshed, a legacy of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, economic hardship and impending anarchy? If truth be told, Nigeria has never been more divided under any leader than it is now under Osinbajo and his principal.
And what in heaven’s name, happened to the Trader Moni initiative spearheaded by his Excellency? PYO should tell us exactly what happened to the initiative. The programme has long been exposed as a fraud designed merely to curry the votes of gullible Nigerians in the run-up to the 2019 Presidential election and through which monumental fraud was committed. No account has been rendered yet as to how the monies were disbursed, what was spent from the Trader Moni account and what was left in its coffers.
What about the school feeding programme supposedly targeted at taking 10 million children off the streets and back to school? Mr Vice President played a pivotal role in this programme, we hear it has become a cesspit of corruption and maladministration under his watch, he should tell Nigerians how these monies were spent and the volume of corruption that was perpetrated right under his nose.
Following his declaration, some very livid Ikenne people are asking PYO some very critical questions. They want him to tell them, what has he done for Ikenne in the past? What has Mr Vice President done for the people of Ikenne where he comes from? Since he became vice president, what development did he bring to Ogun state and Ikenne?
Let us go a step further. There have been accusations flying about, with proofs we must add, that our dear PYO has been giving ample opportunities to only members of his beloved RCCG. In fact, in political circles, it has been known long before now, that if you are not a member of the RCCG, then your chances of getting any form of assistance from the Veepee is almost zero! Facts including names of RCCG members and the various juicy positions they hold with the present administration are beginning to emerge. The theory is that PYO seeks to enhance his chances of becoming president by placing RCCG members in several positions and possibly making good Pastor Adeboye’s prophecy in which he said a member of the RCCG will become the president of Nigeria in his lifetime. And Yemi Osinbajo believes very strongly that he is the man in that prophecy. How true is this? Are these facts real, fabricated or imagined? Only Mr Vice President can give us answers.
Some members of the ASUU community are also very bitter with the vice president. There is an ASUU striker that’s been lingering for months now with no end in sight as the federal government continues to call the bluff of the association. PYO was an ASUU member while in Uni Lag as a professor of Law, as the number 2 man, what has he done to intervene and put an end to the face-off between the government and the association? Is he even bothered about this at all?
Some social critics also want to know, why the vice president was silent throughout the Endsars period? Why didn’t he say anything about the killing of innocent lives at the time? Why did he keep quiet and looked the other way as Nigerians kept asking the government questions as to who sent the unknown soldiers and why did they go to disperse a group of harmless youths with live ammunition? President Buhari was barely talking to Nigerians at the time, so naturally, the onus fell on him to do t6he talking. First and foremost, as a father himself and as the vice president of the country, didn’t he think there was a need for him to speak out and show empathy to the families whose loved ones were slain? Many Nigerians are yet to understand why he chose to remain silent and pretend he had no idea what was going on.
And what about the rampaging herdsmen and bandits who continue to thirst for the blood of innocent Nigerians? Are these the legacies of the Buhari administration that he plans to build on if he emerges president? Why is he not saying anything about this menace? Is he afraid of his principal? The erudite professor is yet to make any significant statement on these issues. He is yet to make any strong pronouncement or statement declaring war against the Fulani herdsmen and kidnappers killing his people, raping the women and taking over their farmlands even in the south-west. But why many ask? Is he quiet so he won’t rock the boat of his romance with the northern power blocs? Is he afraid if he speaks harshly about their kinsmen they could make life difficult for him inside Aso Rock? Is that it? Is this also the reason he has been mute over the Sunday Igboho saga? Does it matter to him at all that a Yoruba man, before his released, was hounded into prison in a foreign land just because he was courageous enough to fight and protect his people from the killer herdsmen when it was obvious the government was not ready to lift a finger to protect them? Is it right that the young man, a Yoruba just as the VP, who has not attacked or killed a herdsman, is still in prison custody while killer herdsmen, kidnappers and bandits are roaming freely all over the country and the vice president did not make any visible move to have him set free?
Let us go back to his Ikenne home now. How many people in his home town in Ikenne has the vice president empowered? How come we have not heard of a massive foundation that he runs strictly to empower Ikenne people? How come he is not known for lifting up his people and giving them a reason to be thankful to God for making their son the vice president of the federal republic of Nigeria? How come no one has heard of any multi-million naira Osinbajo scholarship foundation that has helped young Ikenne indigents realize their academic aspirations? How come he is not looking in this direction? What has he done for Ogun people in general, can he or any of his close aides proffer answers?
As a last-minute arrangement to prepare him for his presidential campaign, PYO hurriedly moved his party membership base from Lagos to Ikenne, and one of the APC chieftains asked, ‘can the vice president tell us the name of his Ward chairman in Ikenne?’ Funny but true. Does he know the name of his ward chairman? It’s very unlikely. This is because he was never really a politician and he has never been close to his people since he became vice president.
The questions are endless. One can go on and on. Clearly, without a doubt, the vice president is in for a rough time ahead now that he has decided to go head to head with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Many are dying to take him on, demanding to get his answers to some of the questions that have been asked here. Clearly, the people are no longer swayed by his eloquence and oratory abilities. They want answers. They demand action. They demand a president that has the capacity to make true changes, not one that hides under his principal and fails to keep not even one of the hundreds of promises they made to Nigerians back in 2015 when they were begging for our votes. The electorates are waiting, Nigerians are waiting, Professor Yemi Osinbajo should, as a matter of urgency, come out to give answers to these questions one after the other, if indeed he sincerely considers himself suitable to be the next president of the federal republic of Nigeria.