I hired those with desire to fix Nigeria, says Osinbajo at valedictory dinner with office staff

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN

• Talks of a team united by public spirit

• Despite challenges, the Nigerian story is of hope, courage, great future — VP

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has stated that his desire to make Nigeria better, alongside President Muhammadu Buhari, in the last eight years, was the reason he specifically hired those who have the desire to fix Nigeria.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this yesterday evening in his remarks at a valedictory dinner organised in his honour by the staff of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

The Vice President was accompanied to the dinner by his wife, Her Excellency, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, whom the VP described as “my most potent weapon.”

According to the Vice President at the event “I’m honoured to have worked with such incredible people; everyone put in exceptional hard work. I personally interviewed most of you that worked with me. I wanted people who had a heart for this country, genuine love and concern about the progress of this nation.

“Eight years have gone by very quickly, I must say. Here we are today a few days to the inauguration. There are many great experiences, great things that have happened and I’m glad we’ve come this far.”

Commending the OVP staff for their dedication and patriotism – while highlighting the selfless service of his Police and Security Details, civil servants, his Chief of Staff, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, and Special Assistants among others, Prof. Osinbajo expressed gratitude to everyone for their support throughout the eight years of the Buhari Administration.

He was also presented with gifts at the dinner event including handwritten valedictory notes from staff members.

Referencing the incredible work of the OVP staff, Prof. Osinbajo said as an example that “when we talk about the Social Investment Programmes, we would talk about Maryam Uwais. No two ways about that, because she was in charge (then) and made it successful,” he said.

The Vice President further commended the Deputy Chief of Staff Mr. Ade Ipaye, a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State (2011 to 2015), for his loyalty, dedication and brilliant service.

In his remarks, Prof. Osinbajo also noted that the Nigeria’s story, despite the challenges, is one filled with hope, courage, triumphs and the incredible talents and potential of its people, for a better future.

Highlighting the country’s potential to become a world leader in different sectors, the Vice President said, “The story of our country is a story of incredible talents, everywhere you turn, you will find talents.”

He conceded that there are some tensions and challenges, “but we must not give up. We mustn’t be despondent or discouraged by any challenge or circumstance. This country is so precious and our people talented, so much that we can bless the entire world.”

With a thankful heart, the VP also recalled how God saved him and 11 others with him from the helicopter crash on February 2, 2019, in Kogi State. He also recalled a similar chopper forced landing in Gwagwalada in June 2018. Then, the chopper conveying him and members of his “Main Party” from the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, made a forceful landing a few seconds after take-off.

“I’m truly grateful to the Almighty God,” the VP said.

Before the VP’s remarks, the VP’s wife also spoke and thanked the OVP staff and everyone for their support for the Vice President’s work throughout the administration’s tenure.

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“Thank you for celebrating him tonight, ” she relished, beaming with bright smiles.

After eight years, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration officially ends its second and final tenure on Monday, May 29, when the new government of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his deputy, Senator Kashim Shettima, would be sworn- in.

Earlier on Thursday, Prof. Osinbajo had received the incoming VP and took him on a tour of the Vice-Presidential wing of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

Earlier yesterday afternoon, the Vice President, at the Presidential Villa, had gone around on a farewell visit to the respective offices of the staff in the Office of the Vice President. He went from door to door, both on the ground and top floors thanking both political appointees and civil servants for their dedication and support in the last eight years of the Buhari Administration.

The dinner event which featured music by the Abuja International Choir and a spoken word performance by Tamara Dogubo, also featured selected remarks from staff of the Office of the Vice President and some MDAs. They all lauded the VP for his meritorious and selfless service to the nation as its number two, and deputy to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The remarks included those from DCOS, Ade Ipaye; Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Maryam Uwais; former Nigerian Ambassador to Jamaica, Janet Olisa; Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Chiedu Ugbo; and Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera.

While speaking on behalf of the OVP staff, DCOS Ipaye, noted the rigour that goes with planning and organisation by the VP. According to him “Despite the inquisitive mind, despite the hardworking disposition and meticulous planning mode that His Excellency is always in, no matter how little the operation we want to do at the office, or even at home, His Excellency believes in thorough planning. We don’t take anything for granted, we must examine it every step of the way.”

In her own remarks, Mrs Uwais spoke of the VP’s integrity, character and competence. Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande also later presented a surprise gift to DCOS Ipaye, on behalf of the OVP staff.

In a similar vein, the Managing Director of the NDPHC, Mr Chiedu Ugbo said the VP, while he was a Professor of Law at the University of Lagos, “taught and made the law of evidence, a difficult area, very easy. You’ve remained a moral compass in my life. I wish you God’s speed.”

Also, in his remarks on behalf of other Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government, Mr Irukera said, “My other name for him (Prof. Osinbajo) is the ‘captain and the master of the salvage crew.’ He showed us that public service is a platform to do much good and have a greater impact. May your tribe increase in this country, sir. The people and nation are grateful to you. You’ve touched people’s hearts in many ways.”

There were remarks on behalf of the Civil Servants by a Director in the OVP, Mrs Tukubo Edubio, who was accompanied to the event by the State House delegation of senior civil servants.

A short clip capturing videos and photos of iconic moments of the Vice President from the last four years was also broadcasted at the event. It was put together by the VP’s personal photographer and Special Assistant on Visual Communications, Tolani Alli, as Narrator.

Aside from the present and past staff of the Office of the Vice President, there were other dignitaries at the event, including former Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali; Dr Bashir Gwandu, the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI and Dr Sani Aliyu, a member of the Presidential Health Reform Committee among others.