Life after office begins in Oslo for Osinbajo

Immediate past Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, SAN, on his arrival in Oslo (left), discussing with his hosts and other leaders (right), ahead of the 20th Oslo Forum hosted by the Norwegian Government at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Oslo, Norway, on Tuesday, June 12, 2023. Photos: Tolani Alli

By Oluwafemi Popoola

On Tuesday, 13th of June 2023, Nigeria’s immediate past Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, announced his arrival into the far northern Europe, Oslo the capital city of Norway to attend the 20th Oslo Forum hosted by the Norwegian Government. Stating the details of the visit on his social media accounts, Prof Osinbajo said, “I am in Oslo, Norway to attend the 20th Oslo Forum hosted by the Norwegian Government. It is an opportunity to speak with decision-makers, experts, peace process actors and reflect on the practice of mediation.”

The Oslo Forum is an annual retreat hosted by the Norwegian government. The retreat is said to be as relevant today as when it was established in 2003 with a major focus on conflict mediation and peace processes as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Over 100 conflict mediators, high-level decision-makers, experts and peace process actors from around the world are expected to gather outside Oslo from 13th to 14th of June, 2023, to exchange experiences of peace diplomacy and to discuss some of the present world’s most complex conflicts.

Among the dignitaries expected at the Forum include the Colombian Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva Durán, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Karim Khan, UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths and other high-level representatives. The ongoing Russia vs Ukraine war that has lasted for over 1 year and 3 months, amongst other global conflicts are part of what is to be discussed at the forum.

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To many Nigerians at home, the invitation of the former Nigeria’s Vice President who left office barely two weeks ago to participate in the Forum alongside other world leaders justifies what many have said about Osinbajo’s endearing personality and his rising global profile. This also confirms that the world recognizes the intellectual capacity and administrative prowess of the former VP Osinbajo. “While Osinbajo would be remembered, many presidents would be forgotten” Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, former Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank had stated during a book launch in honour of Osinbajo held in May.

Also, in an event organized by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in May this year, Mr. Ibrahim who had earlier praised the VP for his leadership peculiarities, appealed to him to assume the status of an African statesman after he leaves office. He said, “Now we really need statesmen like you coming out of office to really go and save the society, and something for Africa. There is life after office.”

So, to many who had always inquired what kind of life would Osinbajo live after leaving the VP office, the answers have been made available following his participation at the ongoing Oslo forum. He’s expected to lend his voice which would be needed to douse tension in many conflict zones in the world and also in Africa. Not only that the VP had also earlier been appointed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland to lead the Commonwealth election observers group for the Sierra Leone general elections. The general elections in Sierra Leone are scheduled for 24 June and Prof Osinbajo seems ready.

Ms Scotland, who had expressed her gratitude to the former VP for accepting the role, declared that she was confident that Osinbajo would lead the team well based on his understanding of the challenges across West Africa.

Evidently, the world can’t resist the intellectual prowess of Osinbajo as we expect other engagements going forward. As the country’s Vice President for eight years, he left a generational legacy of service, compassion and dedication to the people. What the future holds for Prof. Osinbajo is enormous. His best years of service to the world and humanity still lie ahead.

• Popoola is a political analyst and journalist. He can be reached through