For Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the first in his series of consultations was started with some prominent Nigerians who encouraged him to contest for the Presidency and they encouraged him to inform his principal – President Muhammadu Buhari.
That advice, of course, made a lot of sense. Why would the country’s number two citizen and, administratively, the closest politician to the President, have his genuine, rooted and widely acclaimed desire to continue from where his principal will stop by a third party?
The President was said to have, rightly, blessed Osinbajo’s ambition, yes, just as he did others including Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain and former governor of Lagos state under whose administration Osinbajo served as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
Of course, like his former boss, Tinubu, Osinbajo’s supporters have for long been campaigning for him. In January, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, who works directly under Osinbajo, declared that he will work against Tinubu.
Oh, yes, Osinbajo is well respected by those close to him and others who, in one way or the other, had any form of contact with him or heard him speak, convincingly, as he always does. Thus, his supporters started his bidding even before he made his intention to run publicly known.
Osinbajo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Wednesday recalled the story of how he was made the Vice President of the Federal Republic.
He narrated the story of his emergence when he hosted members of the State House Press Corps to an Iftar at his Aguda Residence, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the news of his nomination as running mate to then-candidate Muhammadu Buhari in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election came to him as a surprise.
He said that he was working on a case of a defection of a federal lawmaker at the Supreme Court when he learnt of his nomination.
“I was working on the case at Peniel Apartments in Abuja on December 18, 2014, when at about 1 a.m., I received a call from Rauf Aregbesola that they were coming to Lagos to pick me,” he said. “I said I was in Abuja. He said ‘good because you have been nominated as the vice-presidential candidate’ and I said is that how you nominate people?”
The Vice President added that after his case that day, he returned to his accommodation. He said that immediately after he removed his wig, he felt that “this is probably the last time I will be wearing it.”
He said Mr Rauf Aregbesola, who is the current Minister of Interior and the former governor of Ogun state, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, later in the day, took him to the presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Osinbajo, an individual’s life can change at any minute, and that was why he was telling his story to the journalists to trust and believe in God and always keep their hope alive and work to realise their dreams.
He said that he has always believed in and worked for a better Nigeria in his life and his decision to run for the office of the President in the 2023 election is to enable him to make a difference. He said, rightly so, that very few people have the kind of training and experience that he has.
He said he has, before and after he declared to run for President, met with various groups including governors, delegates and party leaders.Tellingly, Osinbajo said the Iftar he had with the journalists was the first one he held with members of a group that will not vote at the party primaries. Of course, what that says is the simplicity and humility of the man.
A humble person is not proud or arrogant. They do not brag or try to make themselves look better or more important than they are. They are courteous and respectful. Someone humble is also willing to admit when they make mistakes. A person who is humble because of these things will also likely be more honest.
Osinbajo is, indeed, a humble man who simply wants to live his life and had to be convinced to serve. He believed in God and humbly prayed to Him for guidance. As Vice President, he gives praise and credit where they are due and does not take the glory for himself.
And, he is cheerful and funny, as well. Osinbajo drew laughter from his audience when he said: “I am probably meeting you for your financial contribution. I don’t know why you think it’s a joke.” And, yet, he knew that he was joking and drew even more laughter from members of the State House Press Corps.
In the end, though of a different kind, the Vice President later sought the kind of support from the journalists which only they could provide.
Speaking earlier, the interim chairman of the State House Press Corps, Ismaila Chafe, said that many members of the corps have been reporting from the Presidential Villa for over a decade.
“We have seen presidents and vice presidents come and go,” he said. “But with profound humility, we can say that you have made a difference in the way you have related with the State House Press Corps. We can recall that not long after you assumed office, you gathered us here in this same hall for very engaging interaction. The memory of that meeting still lingers in us. And since then, you have maintained a close relationship with the corps.”
He said members of the State House Press Corps share the vision of the Vice President, especially his “supportive roles to ensure that this administration leaves a lasting legacy.”
“As a corps, we will continue to play our role in the most dispassionate way,” he said.
And, Osinbajo, a wise and intelligent lawyer and preacher, of course, clearly understands what it means for professionals to work dispassionately. He is wise and brilliant, too. Wisdom is, perhaps, more important than intelligence or being a policy wonk, it is said. A wise man will use good judgement in making decisions and understanding others. A wise leader, like Osinbajo, looks at how their choices will affect everyone. Instead of making a decision based on impulse, emotion, or simply on what a particular person says, a wise leader will look at a variety of options and weigh the pros and cons.
Still, in addition to these principles possessed by Osinbajo, it can be said that an ideal President would base decisions and actions on principle and wants people to be as free as possible and not one who wants to expand government power and his wealth and fame.
So far, after a careful analysis of the leading potential presidential candidates in the coming 2023 presidential election, it is imperative to be made known that Professor Yemi Osinbajo in the present political calculation comes fully prepared.
It is an undeniable fact that the Vice President has established a strong base upon which he can consolidate for the future and his political ideology has stood the test of time. Osinbajo has a huge intellectual endowment, pedigree and moral heft. Above all, his experience stands him out as a man for this moment and a man of greatness.
William Shakespeare, the wordsmith, tells us not to be wary of greatness, saying: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo ticks the three above boxes of Williams Shakespeare – he was born into greatness, he has a good pedigree, he’s the late sage’s son, and a scion of a world-acclaimed family.
He has also achieved greatness: as an academic, a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Osinbajo’s candidacy can hardly come second.A more significant fact is that Osinbajo has been acclaimed as one of the most engaged, experienced and utterly loyal Vice Presidents in the history of the country.