Stories behind Nigerians’ applause for Osinbajo, by Laolu Akande

Then in government: Laolu Akande (right) as he joined Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to receive members of the PYO Collective, led by Mr. Richard Akinnola, authors of the book: "Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moment Of An Inspiring Leader," written in Vice President's honour, as they paid a courtesy visit his office at the Statehouse, Abuja, on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. Photo: Statehouse/Tolani Alli (FILE)

• Highlights what happened on 5 occasions VP acted as President, others

By Oluwafemi Popoola

Spokesperson of Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, has said many Nigerians will remember the success stories of the social intervention programmes of the Buhari-Osinbajo government for so long after they leave office, insisting that the programmes have impacted millions of lives across Nigeria.

Akande, who was featured on Arise News TV on Thursday, May 25, 2023, spoke during an interview session on several issues that bothered on economy, insecurity and his experience at the Aso Villa since the time the administration came on board in 2015.

He said the Buhari-Osinbajo government has done well in all spheres of governance most especially in establishing the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as the largest social protection programme in Africa.

His words, “I will tell you a story of over 1 million, otherwise, unemployed Nigerian graduates who because of the N-Power, Social Investment Programme of this administration are engaged whether they left Universities, Colleges of Education or Polytechnics, we do have a programme in place where for two years, the government will engage them, that is ongoing they have a story to tell.”

“We have a story of petty traders, over 2 million in the first term, I don’t even have the figure for the second term and I’m sure it’s going to be quite comparable. Over 2 million Nigerians have received collateral-free credit facilities that nobody ever thought they could get, now they have a story to tell.

“We have 50 million Nigerians under Social Register and about 5 to 7 million of them received cash conditional transfer as we speak today and that has never happened in the history of this country, they have a story to tell.

“The question is where are you looking? I do agree very easily, that there are other things to be done maybe this thing has not gone as much as we would have but clearly there are stories, credible stories of Nigerians in their millions whose lives have been impacted by this administration and who will never forget this administration.

Clarifying a question asked by the anchor who had inquired about how the VP managed the situation when he was Acting President amidst persistent concerns that he was held back by some powerful people in the Villa, Akande dismissed such notion saying VP Osinbajo had no constraints from any quarters because he was delegated full powers to act.

“There wasn’t a time when the President delegated authority to the Vice President as Acting President and he wasn’t able to use the authority, there was no such time.

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“This has happened 5 times in the last eight years, on 5 occasions the President did delegate authority to the Vice President who then became Acting President, and in each of those 5 times when power was delegated to him, there were no kind of constraints whatsoever because he had the authority.

“And clearly, I might add on those five occasions, Nigerians and in fact, the President have spoken very highly of his performance and what he was able to achieve on those occasions,” Akande stated.

Commenting on the book that was recently launched, titled Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader,” written in honour of the Vice President by 25 prominent journalists and writers across the country, Akande said, “The 25 journalists that wrote this book ‘Osinbajo’s Strides’ has done an excellent job in my view to document and detail the many achievements of the VP. And I think most Nigerians, if not all Nigerians have seen that this VP has shown sterling leadership qualities.”

“You need to be there yesterday (Wednesday, May 24, 2023), at the valedictory session of the Federal Executives Council and the valedictory session of the National Executive Council, where the VP is the chairman, to hear all the accolades and commendations. The VP has won all these commendations locally and internationally.

“It is just a question of where you are looking at. So, clearly, the book has detailed the successes, but I can tell you there is more you are going to be reading about what this VP has done,” Akande said.