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Osinbajo

Osinbajo and the parable of spare tyre politics

Ismail Omipidan

The saying, “Reject every form of corruption which divest resources from the poor,” by Pope Francis, appears apt in situating the recent sermon by the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to Nigerians on how to tackle corruption headlong.

In the last one month, he’s been seizing every available space and opportunity to tell Nigerians how he believed the corruption of the last five years destroyed the country’s economy.

Although, unlike Pope Francis, he is not a Catholic, Osinbajo has nonetheless distinguished himself as a pastor in Nigeria, with a track record of excellence and exemplary leadership, thus making his political sermons plausible in the ears of most Nigerians.

Only recently, at the Bola Tinubu’s 10th Colloquium, Osinbajo, again held the audience spellbound when he declared that no matter the antics of the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) government would continue to talk about the corruption allegedly perpetrated under the former president,

Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

This is just as he said the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was determined to change the narrative of Nigeria, known as a country where corruption was perpetrated with impunity.

Osinbajo, who described corruption as an existential problem for Nigeria, said: “Let me say that when we began our journey in 2014, our party, the APC, was determined to change the dominant narrative about our country. We were determined to ensure that the notion of a country rich in natural resources and even richer in human capital but being destroyed daily by grand corruption and the impunity of the looting of public resources, had to change.

“So we decided on two things; one, to invest heavily in agriculture to create jobs in the hinterland, provide enough food locally and for all in the urban areas and I’m sure with our agriculture programme, many will agree is already a success.

“In fact, Mr. President told a story of his own village where people use to lease out farms but now nobody is leasing out their farms anymore, everybody is on his own farms. The most interesting part of that story is that, not only are more people now going to Hajj, they are now marrying more wives.”

According to him, the administration embarked on a social investment programme to the tune of N500 billion, which he noted was the largest pro-poor programme in the history of Nigeria and the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, just to give the poor people hope.

He noted that this was done despite the fact in 2015 when they came in, oil prices fell by 50 percent, just as the country’s production fell from over 200 million barrels a day to less than 700,000 barrels a day, and that sometimes even 500,000 barrels per day.

Focusing on the testimonies of the beneficiaries of the Social Intervention Programme (SIP) on the occasion, the vice president noted that they were the practical evidences of the programme’s success, insisting that such a feat was possible because “if you do not steal the resources of the people, you can spend it on projects that concern the people, it is as simple as that.”

He went further to say, “we have seen today the empirical evidence of the successes of the programme and we have listened to several of the testimonies and stories…200,000 jobs for undergraduates involved in the N-Power, 300,000 more waiting to be employed, 7 million children being fed daily in 22 states so far, beneficiaries of micro credit loans going to about 300,000 and almost 700,000 household benefiting from conditional cash transfer.

“As for our fight against corruption, we realise as Mr. President said that if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us. Corruption is an existential problem for Nigeria.

“Let me pause here to reiterate, that from what I have seen in government in the past few years, the corruption of the previous five years destroyed the economy.

“Every time we talk about corruption, our opponents say, ‘don’t talk about it, just do your own, don’t talk about it.’ The Yoruba have an adage, ‘when the conversation comes to a matter of tales, the frog will say let us skip that, don’t talk about it.’ We will talk about it. The reason we will talk about it, is that we must let our people know we cannot afford to go this way again, never again should we allow this system where people take the resources of this country, and steal the resources of this country, used the resources against the people and at the same time they want to continue in rulership.

“The second is that we as a party and as your government must show the  difference between us and the previous government that impoverished the nation,” the vice president added.

Explaining why he believes that the current government was more accountable than the previous one, Osinbajo, whose office directly supervises the administration’s SIP, further said “let me give you an example, in 2014, when oil was $100 and $114, the actual releases of capital for three ministries – power, works and housing when they were three separate ministries, in total was N99 million, transportation N14 million, agriculture N15 million.

“Compare that to the actual releases to the same ministries in 2017 when oil prices were between $50 and $60 a barrel, it was N450 billion, N80 billion for transportation, N65 billion for agriculture, totalling N560 billion, in a time where we are earning at least 50 percent less than we were earning before. What is the reason why this is possible? It is possible because if you do not steal the resources of the people, you can spend it on projects that concern the people, it is as simple as that.

“I will give one more example; $3 billion was lost to something called, the Strategic Atlantic Alliance Contract in NNPC. The people simply took the oil and never paid back. The same $3 billion which is in trillion of naira, the minister of finance sat with us at the Economic Management Meeting, and we were proposing the following roads for the same $3 billion Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road, 2nd Niger Bridge, Enugu-Port Harcourt road, East West Road, Shagamu-Ore-Benin road, Kano-Maiduguri Road, Abuja-Lafia-Akwanga-Keffi Road, Lagos-Abeokuta Road, all for the same $3 billion. That is why the criminal looting of this country cannot be allowed to continue,” Osinbajo declares.

A useful spare tyre

Nigerian politicians have in the past likened the role of Vice President and that of deputy governor to a spare tyre of a vehicle, which is only deployed when any of the tyres are bad. For Osinbajo, however, his hands appear full. His first acid test came when he was made acting president, at a time Buhari was out of the country to attend to his ill-health. His stabilising role in the Niger Delta during the period is perhaps responsible for whatever peace the government enjoys today from the region.

Apart from supervising the SIP, he chairs the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), charged with the sole responsibility of removing “critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria,” and to “move Nigeria 20 places upwards in the World Bank Doing Business Rankings.”

By September last year, the World Bank ranked Nigeria 145th of 190 countries of the world in its latest report of Doing Business 2018.  Nigeria scored 52.03 points, which was slightly above the African Regional Average of 50.43 points, moving up 24 places in the rankings. Significantly, the country was also reported to be among the top 10 reformers globally. So far, the vice president has demonstrated that he is indeed a “spare tyre that is useful” whose role in the Buhari’s administration goes beyond the preaching of political sermons.

Early last month for instance while in Lagos, he seized the occasion to dispel the allegations that the Buhari government has failed in the development of the Niger Delta area, insisting instead that the Federal Government was doing its best in the region, while continuing regular dialogue with Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF).

“We began to dialogue with all the groups in the Niger Delta and we hold very regular meetings with PANDEF, which is the umbrella body. We also hold regular meetings with many of the groups in the Niger Delta and they are all actively involved with us.

“I don’t know whether you are familiar with the Maritime University.

The Maritime University has taken off, you know. Only a few days ago, the announcement was made that they are eligible for JAMB.

“Also, look at modular refineries, 38 licensed modular refineries investors have indicated interests (10 of the licensed refineries are at an advanced stage of development). One, of course, has started in Bayelsa; another is being shipped in at the moment.

“There are about three or four different engagements with modular refineries operators. So we are putting that together, and one of the critical things with modular refineries is that we are trying to ensure that, first of all, it is private-sector driven. Government has to provide the licenses, but also there is community involvement; communities also have a stake in the modular refineries. So we are doing that as well. We are working very hard on that.

“If you look on our website on all of the Niger Delta issues, we have almost a blow-by-blow account of what we are doing, including the Ogoni clean up. I think there is a lot going on. You can’t address all of the problems at once. We have provided plenty of information. We have Inter-ministerial meetings where the different stakeholders meet constantly with leaders of the Niger Delta,” he added.

Again, in February this year, at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Otun-Ekiti, Ekiti State, at the burial ceremony of Pa Daniel Olajide

Adebiyi, he told the congregation that his role in the Buhari’s administration was to add to the integrity, do the right thing and push the government in the right way.

While reminding the congregation that he was probably the first born-again Christian and pastor to be elected as Nigeria’s vice president, he said: “I believe very strongly that there is a reason for my being elected as vice president, and possibly the first born-again Christian, the first pastor to have been elected as vice president. God is not the God of accident. He understands expertly what He wants to do.  My role there is to add to the integrity, to do the right thing and make sure that we push our government in the right way.

“This is a golden opportunity for us as Christians. When the two of us agree on anything, the Lord our God will bring it to pass.  Agree with me that our country will be great and our country will be great.”

He said the government was desirous to do everything necessary to bring peace everywhere, “whether it has to do with herdsmen or not. I was talking at a security summit hosted by the National Assembly on clashes and security situation generally and we said there that what the Federal Government is doing is to make sure that nobody can take land and give it to anybody.”

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14 Comments

  1. Ezekiel Okeke 17th April 2018 at 6:25 am

    Osinbajo is complicit and collaborator of the enemy’s murder of this territory natives, in the plunder of this territory natives God given wealth, in the enemy’s fraudulent criminal activities under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria- he accepted and connived with the enemy in fraudulent criminal tout parading himself as Buhari, he accepted a situation where he is denied his elected duty to assume the duty of the elected president, if the president is dead or away- which is capital crime by law. If you are elected by a people for an office, you have duty by law to defend the mandate, if you failed to defend the mandate, it is capital crime by law- Osinbajo failed to defend the mandate he is elected, and the he connived with the enemy in fraudulent criminal activities of the enemy under the fraudulent criminal political name Nigeria. Osinbajo must go down with the enemy in this climax of the ongoing Revolution War of the natives under the natives Disintegrated Republics which secures the natives existence and future in 21st century world. It is over for the dead fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates in this natives territory. It is over for the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria in this natives territory. It is over for the enemy’s brainwashed terrorism mercenaries nickname military, police etc. in this natives territory. Only the Sword decides. God Is With Us!!!

  2. Emmanuel Chukwuma Umeh 17th April 2018 at 9:06 am

    Diversified corruption is on a high increase, especially under this current administration in NIGERIA Federation!

    If Vice President Osibanjo is democractically and politically transparent and honest about the issues of dealing with corruptions in NIGERIA Government, he should be reminded that there is all sorts of political corruptions on higher increase in today’s NIGERIA Government till date, including the corruptions of hate-speeches, of marginalization, militeralization, nepotism, brutality, oppressions and suppressions, as well as the corruptions of the socio-politically and socio-religiously masterminded ethinic cleansing by the Fulani’s herdsmen deadliest terrorists activities of mindless, senseless, and heartless killings in NIGERIA, under the current administration, as an extension of the Boko-Haran terrorism in NIGERIA!

    And more painfully, nothing democractically and politically reasonable is done to save the situation, while President Buhari is so busy, campaigning and seeking for the second term election, while the first is tragically woeful and very disastrous to NIGERIA and the NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures!

    • Seed Oracle 18th April 2018 at 9:08 am

      You have only mentioned forms of corruption. Mention one instance. Just mention one under this adminsitration that is being swept under the carpet. This adminsitration is doing its best Emmanuel. Give it credit! Dont just talk. Be factual. Tell the truth: it wont kill you!

  3. Peter Okeke 17th April 2018 at 12:36 pm

    If you want to fight corruption, fight it with an utmost sincerity. Start with your party APC that has more former PDP suspected corrupt people as members. Take the fight beyond Jonathan government’s era to Buhari era as a military leader. The numbers of convictions you can secure of high profile personnel in court will underscore the seriousness you attache to th process. If you can’t do it then you are a party Nigerians should consider as neck buried in corruption and not even trying hard to cover.

    • Seed Oracle 18th April 2018 at 9:06 am

      Can you say that corruption is not indeed being fought? Can you investigate someone who has not had access to the treasury? Was it not the PDP regime that last handled the treasury? They are the ones that should be investigated. When the Buhari adminsitration finishes its tenure, we would investigate them. For now we would focus on those that just left. And they must return everything that has been stolen. Go and find out how much has been recovered by the Buhari adminsitration. Over 2 Trillion Naira in two years. Please give credit when due. Do you know what it takes to get a conviction, with our current judicial system? One that was destroyed by the PDP adminsitration that turned it to a highest bidder game? The APC has done well – it is just 2 and a half years into power. Compare it with 16. They have done well. Give them credit when due.

  4. Oluwabash 17th April 2018 at 10:02 pm

    I’ve read many opinion articles written to ridicule the Vice President and many like this towed the same directive. I can say this is another calculated attempt to misinform and demonize the Vice President.

    While moving forward, I think its necessary we remember where we are coming from. That some few elites shared a N150 billion to themselves and the beneficiaries asking us to keep silent is appealing.

    The GEJ administration had enough resources to put things tight, but instead plundered our resources.

    How about infrastructure – Zero! So many abandoned projects that they owed contractors who in turn downsize and later led us into recession.

    Nigeria is out of recession; the economy is fling fine; more than a trillion naira on infrastructure with direct benefit of employment to young people.

    The Social Investment program has directly and indirectly benefited more than 7 million people. Looters are facing charges; the public sector is being cleansed and millions of Nigerians are yearning for the return of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

    Change….progress!

  5. Ezekiel Okeke 18th April 2018 at 6:32 am

    @Oluwabash, only the Sword decides- if the said 2019 will come, if the fraudulent criminal political name Nigeria will exist in this natives territory in 2019, if the dead fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates will exist in this natives territory in 2019, if the enemy’s brainwashed terrorism mercenaries nickname military, police etc. will exist in this natives territory in 2019, if the fraudulent criminal tout parading himself as Buhari will exist in this natives territory in 2019. You Oluwabash should get to your Sword now in the ongoing Revolution War of the natives under the natives Disintegrated Republics for your said 2019 etc. Only the Sword decides. God Is With Us!!!

    • Oluwabash 18th April 2018 at 8:08 am

      This is evil imagination that will only happen in your dream. May I inform you that the entity, “Nigeria” will remain.

      Our diversity make us unique as a country. You may be calling for war probably because you watch it on home videos but can you stand it?

      I think you should reexamine yourself and reprocess your thought. Your call for sword won’t suffice.

      Come 2019, President Buhari will win the race and Nigeria will remain as one.

      • Seed Oracle 18th April 2018 at 9:08 am

        Very true Oluwabash!

    • Oluwabash 18th April 2018 at 8:48 am

      As a nation, it fors no one good if the country burns.

      Aside that the security apparatus won’t allow, what are we doing as individual to avert such? We can’t hate someone because he stopped looting and because hr keeps mentioning where we are coming from.

      Yes there were many beneficiaries in the looting spree but at whose expense? The me and you that won’t have access to hospitals due to bad roads, dilapidated structures, massive debt and malnourished economy.

      I think we should give accolades to this govt for reversing a bad trend in the public sector and restoring hope and confidence in governance.

  6. Ezekiel Okeke 18th April 2018 at 8:41 am

    @Oluwabash, it is no longer about fallacy, fairy tales, sermon. The reality is already on the ground going on. It is obvious you’re ignorant, blind and deaf, that it why you have no knowledge of it. Such ignorant like you will go down in the ongoing Revolution War of the natives under the natives Disintegrated Republics which secures the natives existence and future in 21st century world. When an old man like Danjuma who is key player of the system which has come to an end tells you to get to your Sword or you’re gone, and you are still singing the so-called 2019 song etc., are you not the most idiot on earth who is dreaming and watching the so-called 2019 in your home video? Only the Sword decides. God Is With Us!!!

    • Oluwabash 18th April 2018 at 8:54 am

      You don’t need to be abusive, Ezekiel. This revolution is coming only from your imagination and thought.

      No one, not even your immediate family members will join you to carry cutlass and hoe like it happened in Rwanda.

      Elder Statesman Danjuma erred; it may interest you to known that same Theophilus Danjuma conducted the Zakari Biu mission in Benue and Odi Village in Bayelsa where a whole community was razed down by the military. Same man is calling for anarchy and you think his children will partake in it?

      Danjuma has benefited more from the system than you preaching hate. Thus, it makes no sense glorifying Danjuma’s call to anarchy and ignoring the many security interventions of the federal govt to restore peace in affected communities.

  7. Wada3 18th April 2018 at 9:14 am

    What a wonderful collections! Before I move on with my contribution here, I will like to disagree with the nomenclature that office of the Vice President is a spare tyre. It can only be regarded as spare tire when that position is been occupied by an incompetent person. Today, we have a man who is fit, competent for that position, and most importantly share the same principle with the President. They both believes Nigeria’s interest is above personal one. Some times, I wonder how God brought these two men from different background together with a common identity; that is integrity. I can’t forget so fast the yeoman job done by the Vice President when the President was a way for medical leave. He showed us that, truly he is a reliable man; not ambitious; very diligent and above all, very patriotic to the core.
    Reading the comments of discussants here, I was a little bit disappointed. Disappointed not because of any serious issue, but, because, their names shows that they are my tribesmen. Let me use this medium to enlighten some of my people who may not have visited the eastern region for a long time that Ndigbo have never had it so good. Some allowed themselves to be used by the same people that siphoned funds that would have been used to construct second Niger Bridge, Federal Roads and many other projects in our region since 1999. And today, they want to use you to say the list of corrupt element release is one sided even when they have not denied stealing. Haba nwanem wake up to the reality, what did Jonathan that we supported in 2011 did for us? For your information, today, the 2nd Niger bridge with many other federal roads are seriously being constructed by Buhari/Osinbajo’s government.
    Finally, more grease to the elbow of this Vice President for his patriotism

  8. Ezekiel Okeke 18th April 2018 at 10:29 am

    @Oluwabash, characteristics of one’s nature emphasis in not abuse. When late Fela use the phrase “suffering an smiling” in his music, someone like you will say it is abusive. One who is suffering and smiling is one who do not know he is suffering. One who stands for the dead fulani fraudulent criminal sultanate political government with its emirates and the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria, is one who do not know those two political instruments are the mess behind the afflictions etc. in this natives territory. Oluwabash, you’re one of those who are suffering and smiling because you do not know you are suffering, you are one of those slaves who no longer know they are slaves. You’re pitiable.

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