Leadership lessons for Osinbajo’s critics -By Olajimi Smith

Filed under: Democracy & Governance,Political Issues |

In the age of “alternative facts”, the media has been awash with fake news, “post-truths” and outright untruths; where people claiming to be authors or journalists, gleefully revel in these three 21st century anomalies.

It seems some notable names, including a former minister of aviation, have been co-opted into the small, bitter crowd that dishes out such anomalies, disjointedly stewed with plenty of bile and hateful statements.

Such persons have also attempted to denigrate the personality of the Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, SAN, by giving their ‘readers’ a bumpy ride with personal biases and bitterness.

Albeit, in the real world, where truth, fairness and objectivity, not alternative facts, still count for something, such articles are, at best, inconsequential, as they only succeed, in the end, to be indigestible to objective, sane minds, and also leave a bad taste in the mouths of neutral individuals.

Let’s face the facts, do not be clouded by the lies in the disjointed articles against Prof. Osinbajo, including the one written by a former minister of aviation.

The former minister needs to be reminded that officials under the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan were involved in corruption that stank to the heavens.

The vice president said that “N100bn and $289m were withdrawn in cash by President Goodluck Jonathan two weeks before the presidential election ostensibly for security. This was unprecedented stealing and it led to the economic recession that we are suffering today.”

He didn’t even present one fact when he alleged that it was “wild, baseless and frankly absurd allegations and wilful and premeditated display of perfidy.” All he attempted at were unwarranted personal attacks on the vice president, with unfounded statement and libellous claims.

Osinbajo only scratched the surface when he mentioned the amount. Since 2015, Nigerians have come to realise the monumental corruption that happened under Jonathan’s watch; from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki, and many other officials in the former administration accused of corruption. The list goes on. Nigeria is still recovering from this wanton thievery from its national purse.

To cover his lack of facts, he based his false claims on false claim; that he could only support with more false claims.

Again, for the umpteenth time, there is no $25 billion NNPC contract scam anywhere. A quick reminder for doubting Thomases, no contracts were procured by the NNPC. Prof. Osinbajo, while as Acting President, only approved Joint Venture Financing arrangements.

Also, there is no agenda by President Muhammadu Buhari to Islamise the country. Like Osinbajo noted, both the Islamic Development Bank and Sukuk bonds are not evidence of any plans by the present administration to Islamise Nigeria.

For instance, Nigeria joined the bank in 2005, under the administration of a Christian, President Olusegun Obasanjo, while the country is today the fourth largest shareholder of the bank.

However, the article in question simply raised a long list of personal grievances against the person of the vice president and the fact that he is committed to the service of his fatherland as vice president. The author, being a former minister, should know and understand the chain of commands and the importance of service to one’s fatherland. Both President Buhari and the vice president are united and work together to achieve the administration’s common goal: to make Nigeria better.

Sadly, it seems the necessary qualities of leadership, among which is service, is lost on Osinbajo’s critics. It seems this new critic is more focused on pursuing his selfish motives than working for his country and in tandem with his former principals.

Also, President Buhari’s comments to the World Bank were taken out of context. The Presidency and the World Bank have since come out to clarify this. The North-East was what the President asked to be given more priority, and the North-East of the country is just a subset of northern Nigeria. In case he pretends not to know, international agencies like the World Bank and NGOs usually give more priority to crisis areas like the North-East that had been ravaged by insurgency.

The vice president, also has condemned, in strongest terms, every form of religious, tribal or ethnic sentiments and violence by any group or individual. He also condemned hate speech, which he described as an act of terrorism.

Even attempting to explain the bulk of disjointed statements in the article is labouring, as it lacks substance, it is almost akin to giving prominence on the table to a badly prepared dish.

Many have adjudged the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo, to be forthright and honest. It has been attested to many times, from the Niger Delta elders forum, Christian and Muslim leaders, some of whom came to visit the Presidential Villa, Abuja recently. Even the man on the streets could be asked about the vice president’s leadership, his selfless service to fatherland and his candour, and they would affirm these. Then people should ask the same of the man turning a critic of Osinbajo. I am certain the answer would be as different as night and day.

I want to kindly leave those uninformed critics with the words of a former First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama, “How we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. How we insist that this hateful language they hear from public figures on TV (or online) does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is: when they go low, we go high.

“With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We, as parents, are the most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as President and First Lady, because we know that our words and actions matter. Not just to our girls (and boys), but to children all across this country.”

Smith, a public affairs analyst, sent this piece from Abuja

 

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