By Seyi Gesinde
Reflecting on the state of the economy globally with the most current development in the United Kingdom which has forced its Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to resign, only six weeks after she was sworn in, honestly, handling the economy of a nation is not an easy task. She tried her best during this period and she is commended for her contributions and final decision. She remains a stateswoman.
As economic managers are globally being unsettled by harsh economic waves, back home, we should commend the role Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, is playing under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, as the Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC).
Superintending over NEC, VP Osinbajo’s role is to “advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various governments of the federation.”
Indisputably, Osinbajo played his role creditably well, offering top-notch clues to drive the perplexed national economy both at the State and Federal levels.
Osinbajo is the problem-solver — can solve unsolvable puzzles! And most importantly, he is a brilliant team player, not a self-trumpeter but one, who sees his principal as the author of every governmental achievement.
That the Buhari-Osinbajo administration is holding this country together, amid the global economic crisis — even though their predecessors powered this same government at a time the world celebrated an oil boom, yet, the economy handed over to them was cash-strapped and was quick to enter into a recession.
Alas! With the pathfinder’s touch, the economy bounced back at a time the World Super Powers could not find immediate solutions to the embarrassing failure the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown brought on the global economy, truly, the Buhari-Osinbajo administration tried! The government deserves a round of applause for keeping the country together amid myriad challenges.
What was the way out? The success was hinged on the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), that VP Osinbajo packaged for the government as approved by President Buhari, who equally appointed Osinbajo to drive it. And with it, the government announced over two million jobs were either retained or created through the implementation of the ESP programmes when businesses were folding up in some developed economies globally.
Even before Covid-19, as a government aiming to create a welfare state, it had since 2016 launched what it called the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), primarily to tackle poverty and hunger across the country, with Osinbajo, put in charge as the brain behind the idea.
Under the NSIP, the focus here was to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including children, youth and women. So far, as documented, more than four million Nigerians have benefited in the process also supported by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning (MBNP) and other notable MDAs with aligned goals.
Like the Bible readers will remember how Joseph offered a clue to the terrible dream of King Pharaoh of Egypt, as it was later interpreted to be a revelation of the economic conundrum hanging upon the nation, but which Joseph designed a solvable policy to arrest it.
If a good manager was not found, even with the best of the policy propounded, with the economic quagmire, Egypt risked being plunged into excruciating famine. Then, a brilliant manager was needed, and in trying to find a man to appoint to drive Joseph’s wise counsel, as stated in the Book of Genesis Chapter 48, So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” Referring to Joseph.
The story continues: “Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.”
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.”
This is the story of Osinbajo, he is the Joseph of our time. No wonder the President called him “a dedicated and reliable deputy.”
Prof Osinbajo is a faithful support base of President Buhari, whom he described as “a reliable and dedicated deputy who is not only admirably competent but also exudes confidence and passion in the performance of his job; a cool-headed gentleman who puts the interest of Nigeria above other narrow considerations.”
More and more convinced about his impeccable character, President Buhari further described Vice President Osinbajo as “an incredibly patient politician who demonstrates remarkable intellectual and mental energy in the discharge of his duties. I’m proud to have selected him as my running mate, and he has given a good account of himself since our journey began in 2015.”
As we can see, Buhari trusted Osinbajo so much with power as his second-in-command, the reason he often put him forward to arrest challenging situations.
So far, offering solutions to knotty situations is an effortless task of our Star Boy, we hail you, Prof!