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2023: Osibanjo and the interest of the North

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By Abdulhamid Ibrahim Musa

The 2023 elections are around the corner. As expected politicians, especially those who have no clear vision and well thought-out people-oriented programmes that motivate them to run for office are doing nothing else but trying to run down those who they perceive are a major threat to their own inordinate and selfish ambition.

So you find that such dubious politicians hire hack writers to use ridiculous lies and false propaganda to try to pull down persons they see as better than them, who the voting public will support in view of their credibility, experience, competence and good graces.

It is on this note that one has observed that there has been a deliberate attempts to denigrate Vice President Yemi Osinbajo before and after he made a declaration for the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

These hack writers ply their trade to get money to put food in their bellies. They can even lie and work for Satan, if he is ready to pay them. They are like al-‘Eis (Esau), the twin brother of Ya’qub (Jacob) who, for a pot of food, sold his own future blessing. They don’t care about the future of their children and that of Nigeria, especially the North. So they are ready to write big lies even for Satan against anybody Satan pays them to lie against.

These hired writers have gone full throttle spewing out all sorts of wild tales against an innocent man, Osinbajo in line with the propaganda tactic of the infamous Josef Goebbels of Hitler’s Germany, who caused the Second World War in 1945 that led to much suffering all over the world.

They believe that the bigger the lie, the better. Then they go ahead and keep repeating the lies. Finally, they ensure such lies appeal to emotions as well as create anxiety and fears in the target population (in this case northerners and Muslims) about the credible aspirant so that the dubious politicians can have their way to exploit the innocent public who are not aware of what is going on.

The latest lies of these hired writers against Osinbajo is that he is a religious fanatic ,who does not like Muslims! What a lie!

They are doing this for their pay masters because Osinbajo is a good man and they have nothing good to write about. They would obviously have been happy if he was a pagan or atheist and then they would have materials to use against him. But because they cannot find such, they resort to say he is a religious fanatic.

Our President, Muhammadu Buhari, who is a Muslim, chose Osinbajo to be his Vice President. Buhari is not a fool. He would not have chosen a religious fanatic two times to be his deputy. He would simply have changed him in 2019 and heavens would not fall.

The kind of person Nigeria needs to take over leadership from Buhari in 2023 is a man who fears God, a man of truth and a man who hates covetousness. We need a leader who will not pervert justice, nor take bribes. But one who is just. We need a leader who will not pamper corruption but see to it that system reforms and innovations that discourage and prevent corrupt practices are initiated and implemented.

Nigeria is facing all kinds of challenges which, to be factual, are not a direct fault of the Buhari administration but rather a result of many years of lack of modern leadership, and now things have gone full circle. So as a nation, we face troubles in many areas. We face the desperate poverty especially in the North, coupled with youth unemployment and associated ills of criminalities. Worse still, we are still remain a mono-product economy, largely oil dependent and other tiers of government are still being literally baby fed. From the geopolitical angle, there are threats of secession by some groups within the polity.

Nigeria is at a crossroads where the qualities of our next President are of utmost importance to all Nigerians. What should matter more now are not where the person comes from or religion but the experience, capacity, honesty, credibility and competence of the person.

Development research reveals that putting the best suited in terms of informed awareness, the degree of preparedness and professional specialisation are key factors in leapfrogging development in any nation.

A President must play many roles, including administrative director, party head, Commander-in-Chief, number one diplomat, spokesman for social justice, a friend of labour, and moulder of the federal judicial system. He is a good example to his people, one whose office commands and enables him to set the standard of ethics and excellence for all. Osinbajo clearly fits these roles.

In any case, concerning the lies being peddled by some mischievous persons, there are numerous reasons to show that Osinbajo likes Muslims and the North.

He is humble, gracious and has a connection and common touch with people in the North as testified by many who know him including the Emir of Gombe, who, when the Vice President visited Gombe declared: “We are studying your (Osinbajo’s) humility and grace; we appreciate and we pray for more success in your journey”. President Buhari also said as much when Osinbajo turned 64.

We cannot afford to have any arrogant person who is quick to anger to lead us at this time. Osinbajo’s professional trajectory before offering himself to serve the nation shows a man with a developed mind.

Right from his school days, he won prizes left, right and centre as a result of his intellectual fecundity. And in his professional career, he became a Professor of Law at the young age of 33 as well as becoming a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the course of his legal career and practice. So in terms of understanding of issues, policy formulation and implementation, in Osinbajo we will have a man who has the right mental set and knows his onions.

Osinbajo’s devotion to the national cause is not in doubt. From his utterances and actions, one can see a leader who believes in the unity and progress of all Nigerians.

One can also see that Osinbajo has a wide network of friends/associates across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria well before he became the nation’s No 2. Besides, evidence shows that as VP, his staff and political appointments reflect the diversity of our nation and his circle of friends has widened even more. In fact, many of his close workers and associates are Muslims. He does not discriminate against anyone because of religion.

One of the major tasks of a President is to give hope to the people and to envision a meaningful future for all irrespective of religion. From all his utterances, Osinbajo sees a hopeful future for Nigeria. Hear him: “Our (Muslims, Christians, all Nigerians) greatness is only hidden slightly now by the clouds, but these clouds will clear. And what we will see for ourselves is a great nation, the nation that God has purposed us to be”. He said this much some time ago when the Nasarawa State Traditional Council conferred on him the title of Madagun Jihar Nasarawa.
We need a God fearing leader who has no history of religious extremism in view of the fact that we are a multi-religious nation. As Nigerians we have to tolerate one another and work for the good of each other irrespective of our religious faith. Even Farooq Kperogi, a strong critic of Osinbajo, had no choice but to declare, “To his credit, (Osinbajo) hasn’t been associated with extremist and exclusivist religious rhetoric”.

It is on record that the VP has never expressed extreme statements even when there had been times when people tried to inflame religious passions in the country. His has been a voice for compassion, moderation and concord. Though a Christian and a pastor, Osinbajo, at a point in time, attended the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs council’s general assembly where he presented the keynote lecture.

Another area that makes Osinbajo an interesting pick for the top job is that he is honest. Here is a man who, as Commissioner for Justice, turned down an offer by a construction firm to build a house for him but rather asked them to convert the resources to build a public library for the Lagos judiciary.

It is clear that President Buhari has deliberately assigned duties to him in all strategic areas of our national life and issues within the polity to prepare him for an even greater task. And I believe that for Buhari to leave a lasting legacy, Osinbajo, who performed well in Buhari’s absence to the admiration of the President and the Emir of Daura, remains the best bet in 2023 even for Buhari.

The President is certainly bothered about who succeeds him because he loves Nigeria. So I will not be surprised if he supports Osinbajo to be his successor because you cannot say you have succeeded until you have a good and reliable successor.

In Osinbajo is a man of thought and action, who has religious tolerance; a clearheaded person with vast experience and who is also in touch with the ideas of the age. He belongs to a class of public officers who have elected to build systems of governance that favour the overall national interest over personal gain. This is the kind of man all Nigerians, be you Muslim, Christian or whatever, should support to be our next President.

To get who becomes the President in 2023 wrong will be a costly mistake as there may be more social problems leading to a host of catastrophic consequences for the country, especially for the North. It is therefore good that Osinbajo, who is tolerant, best prepared and who has already demonstrated capacity, is chosen to become President in 2023. We should not be deceived by paid writers who seek to deceive the unwary Muslim or Northerner or any other Nigerian at that using religion as a weapon.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim Musa writes from Kano

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