By Seun Johnson
For any country to achieve or attain greatness it is largely dependent on people which must first understand their roles as citizens. They must know the implications of every action taken, how positive is the action and what is the drive or motive of that action. We can argue from now till tomorrow that leaders determine what we do but I can say leaders are just there to coordinate our affairs and beliefs.
We can’t also forget that the leaders are a crop of individuals who are products of various homes from the society and often society is always a product of individuals. So, a society that desires change must first and foremost change everyone’s unhelpful dispositions.
Nigerian society is riddled with people with humongous selfish desires and aspirations. This, has, unfortunately, crippled the movement towards the greatness we anticipate. A situation where individuals swim in the ocean of personal gains rather than national gains will lead nowhere. It is tantamount to efforts in futility.
Since independence, we have had strings of chances of putting our country on the path of development but few powerful individuals, have had their grip on the Nation. They saw no need to sacrifice or bury their evil desires for national gains.
Nigerians once had the opportunity to choose a man to lead them, someone whose closest rivals even attested to his brilliance and leadership skills, the man whom Nigerians believed could salvage the country given his proven capabilities and achievements at the regional government. The man was Obafemi Awolowo.
In the words of Odumegwu Ojukwu, “Obafemi Awolowo was the best President, Nigeria never had.” Nigeria lost a golden opportunity by missing the leadership of the late sage at the central government. Awo as fondly called was head above the shoulder of his peers in life and even in death. Awo is dead but his memory lives on.
Fast forward to the present time providence, just a few months ago, presented a great opportunity for us to leverage on as a society seeking real leadership in the person of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the current Nigerian Vice President.
The candidacy of a man that has elevated the office of Nigeria’s Vice President from just being a mere spear tire to a serious active office was a good and promising one. This is the man that has proven to be the best Vice president we have ever had in our democratic history given his numerous achievements.
I say this with a deep sense of responsibility, Osinbajo is a different breed of Nigerian politician. He has breathed fresh air into the polity. His politics is different from that of Nigerian traditional politicians. Osinbajo has shown us that no matter the difficulties you can make a difference.
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He has made a difference in present-day Nigerian politics. Not only when he was acting President with remarkable impacts but even as Vice President, he influenced many impactful programmes for the poor masses and the people in general.
With limited executive functions, Osinbajo is still giving us the best season of that office which cannot be denied by even the opposition party and those disaffected with the government.
He’s being seen as the backbone of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government. His credentials are unquestionable so are his integrity, dedication, loyalty, empathy, professionalism and understanding of issues are impeccable.
Coincidentally, this same Osinbajo has a family connection with the same man who Nigerians venerate so much, Awo of Africa. His wife shares the same family with the best President we never had. I guess God gave us a second chance but yet we allowed the same evil and unholy ambitions, ethnicity, religiosity and more to overshadow our age-long quest for development and prosperity as a nation.
It is safe to say we are not ready for the emergence of a new Nigeria. But for the optimists, the future is always bright. We can still get it but maybe not now.
However, to rekindle the hope of a New Nigeria, knowing God is ever kind to his people, it is the same Osinbajo He is sending to us, to confidently reassure Nigerians that, it is not all over for the country, that Nigeria’s future will be great.
VP Osinbajo said despite its challenges, the future of Nigeria will be far more glorious and peaceful than her past, and the nation’s lights will shine bright, with opportunities, equity, justice, and righteousness.
Prof Osinbajo, who spoke on Sunday, September 25, 2022, at the 62nd Independence Day anniversary service, held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, to mark Nigeria’s October 1 Independence Day anniversary of Nigeria clocking 62, declared that “the future of Nigeria will be far more glorious, more peaceful than her past, and so it shall be for you too. Every year will be happier for you, more glorious, more prosperous and more peaceful, in Jesus’ name.”
He even prayed for Nigerians, not minding what the delegates had done to him at the last presidential primary election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), denying him to fulfil his presidential aspiration in 2023, while also admonishing them, reflecting on the chances for a better Nigeria, saying, “we stand at the gates of a new nation. And we see its lights shining bright. The nation of God’s promises. A nation of opportunities, of equity and justice, a secure and prosperous nation, a nation of laws and righteousness.
“Even if what we see today seems bleak, and dark, we are confident that God who owns the heavens and the earth will fulfil His promises concerning this nation.”
What else do we say? Nothing to add. Surely, Prof Osinbajo as a supersonic and visionary leader, exemplary all through as a public servant and still a model in power, has a date with history. He will surely lead Nigeria to that Promised Land he envisioned someday.
• Johnson is a social and event analyst.