2023: What Nigerians should expect in Osinbajo Presidency

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

By Kehinde Adeoye

In the past weeks after Monday, April 11, 2022, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s declaration speech has been the most talked about in the public space as everyone began to have a bite from every bit and piece of the inspiring speech.

Both the literate and nonliterate Nigerians participated in the engagements in what looked like the most engaged political discussion in Nigeria’s recent history. The statistics of the declaration video are mouth-watering as it gained traction in both the mainstream media and other news blogs in Nigeria, especially the micro-blogging space, Twitter and Facebook.

Up until now, the hashtag #OsinbajoDeclares still trends in Nigeria. This has left so much to be said for analysts, Osinbajo enthusiasts and the rest of the world.

The declaration did not come as a shock to many because the rumour had been persistent over the last few months, but the dynamics around it have left many talking with so much to be said.

Right from the moment the former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu made his intention known to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, it became a national debate whether or not Osinbajo would run. It grew to become a subject of analysis not just for political and social commentators, but for every average Nigerian who has followed the political proceedings, especially the Tinubu-Osinbajo conundrum.

Asiwaju’s earlier declaration of interest in the Presidency had spurred up more calls for Osinbajo as his support base grew astronomically.

Many believe Osinbajo had begun his consultation perhaps earlier than Asiwaju, as undoubtedly, the Vice President has enjoyed the love of many, especially the youth who believes he has all it takes to attend to the growing economic concerns in the country and provide jobs for millions of unemployed Nigerians.

Osinbajo’s performance when he supervised the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) is a strong indication that he has the capacity and the intellect to provide jobs for our teeming youths if he becomes Nigeria’s president in 2023.

In his declaration video, first of all, his style of declaration was away from the norm. No one could have predicted it, not even his teeming supporters.

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The VP totally deviated from the conventional styles Nigerians were used to and which, of course, several other candidates have explored over the years. The big hall or open-air and a heavy crowd kind of presentation are what used to be obtainable. That was the expectation from many Nigerians, but the Star Boy as fondly called came up with the most unique form of declaration that probably costs nothing or little monetary cost to arrange. This in a way tells us how less extravagant his style of governance would be if elected.

In the first part of his speech, he made sure he referenced the President, calling him a patriot and a servant of the nation in war and peace. This is not far from the truth because President Buhari in the last seven years has dedicated his all to see a better Nigeria. Despite the many challenges, especially in the area of security and economy, he has remained an optimist, with the utmost hope and belief that the best is on the way.

The Vice President made sure he took a few steps back to bring memories of the giant strides of the Buhari-led administration. He highlighted some of his activities over the last seven years, his engagements with so many sectors, and his official visits to different states and regions in Nigeria, especially in Borno State, the Northeastern state, ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgents, the less privileged and all.

Osinbajo is widely regarded as the backbone of the administration. It is believed that the President hands over to him the most difficult tasks and he always executes them with finesse. This can be seen in his implementation of the National Social Investment Programmes, the MSMEs clinic and the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), which got so many praises and commendations home and abroad.

Osinbajo has related immensely with every sector. Nigeria’s security, agriculture, mining, economy, military, infrastructure, business environment, the creative and other sectors. He has identified with them, he understands their concerns, and he knows what they want and what they need.

One of such programmes Osinbajo pioneered called: “The Family Chat,” where he visits the homes of the less privileged, engages them from time to time, and relates well with them to identify the average concern of the common man, has been another highlight of his personality. This is something out of the ordinary. Only someone with great love for the people can ever think of that.

Osinbajo’s involvement with the MSMEs clinic and Trader Moni, one of the components of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) under the National Social Investment Programmes allows him to walk within markets and business points, which he didn’t shy away from.

President Buhari at a time showed concern about the way Osinbajo mingles with the people in public. But do you blame the President? He was only trying to protect his most-prized asset. Osinbajo is no doubt a man of the people. What is bred in the bones never goes through the flesh.

No wonder he said: “I’ve stood where you stand and sat where you sit. I know and understand our hopes, aspirations and fears from a place of relatable proximity; and I believe that in those hopes and aspirations are the seeds for the great Nigeria that we all desire”

Osinbajo, in the video, proceeded with the promise to complete the massive infrastructural developments already embarked upon by this administration. What we have seen in the last seven years is an unbelievable and massive turnaround, especially in the area of road and rail. He also touched on every important sector with the promise to extensively complete ongoing projects and executive other plans of the administration.

The need to create a tech economy was also mentioned. Osinbajo is known to be a big fan of tech development and the business environment, and his involvement with the social welfare schemes and the MSMEs clinic are all in a bid to provide jobs for millions of Nigerians, especially the unemployed graduates.

Osinbajo’s involvement with PEBEC has created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Just recently, Nigeria ranked high in the world bank ease of doing business. This is a testament to Osinbajo’s vision for the growth and expansion of local businesses.

As we all know, unity is the bedrock of progress. If the country is divided, coming together for a singular purpose will be impossible. Over the years, we have suffered the consequence of religious intolerance, bigotry, tribal sentiment and hate. The division between us has dragged us a mile back.

At this time, Nigeria needs a leader who understands that a unified nation would grow in no time. The coming together of tribes and religions will help businesses improve, it will bring everyone together to reach a common goal, and so far, Osinbajo has been an advocate of peace and unity.

Osinbajo preaches unity at any chance he gets. While speaking on the need for Nigerians to come together, he said: “Let us build a Nigeria where the man from Nnewi sees the man in Gusau as his brother, where the woman in Warri sees the woman in Jalingo as her sister, where the love of our nation burns alike in the hearts of boys and girls from Gboko to Yenagoa”

“Where everywhere in this land is home for everyone, where our diversities, tribes and faiths unite, rather than divide us.”

“Let our tribes become one tribe; the Nigerian tribe, where all are treated fairly, justly and with respect. Where all are given equal access to the abundant opportunities that God has bestowed on this nation.”

Fellow Nigerians, I can confidently say we already have a clue of what Osinbajo intends to achieve, what his desires and aspirations are for the country. We are sure that every sector will have a touch of difference. This is no doubt what Nigerians want and deserve at this trying time.

• Adeoye is a public affairs analyst.