An Appreciation By Wahab Shittu
Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCFR on 8th March 2019 celebrated his 62nd birthday characteristically in a quiet manner devoid of any ceremonies because the celebrant is not given to noise making and loud celebrations.
He is just a very simple person who is very passionate about project Nigeria and by extension, service to God and humanity.
I recall that when the Vice President clocked 60 two years ago, I wrote about my former teacher as follows:
“Yesterday, the 8th of March 2017, the Great man clocked 60. Today I write to pay fitting tribute to Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCFR at 60 not because he was my old teacher and remain forever my teacher, not because he is a first rate Professor and an acknowledged expert of the Law of Evidence;
not because of the present position he occupies as the Acting President of the country; not because of his status as a distinguished Senior Advocate of Nigeria and certainly not on account of his past distinguished public service record that is widely acknowledged by all and sundry and many more of such accomplishments that one may have lost count.
But significantly because of the huge difference our most humble, unassuming leader of people with purposive direction and vision has brought to the character of governance.
Yet more significantly without undermining his boss and without losing his calm and humility for which he is now widely known.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCFR has always impressed me even before he rose to his present height by his commitment to core values, uncommon advocacy and oratorical skills and because of his uncommon passion for service and humanitarian causes.
I am also impressed by his commitment to standards and excellence in whatever he does, a trait he has refreshingly brought to governance in the conduct of public affairs.
There is also the element of his famed integrity which has continued to soar inspite of exposure to public resources and sensitive positions in high places.
One must also not fail mention his empathy for the cause of the down trodden and those disadvantaged in the scheme of things in our society.
The other attribute that is worth celebrating as the renowned Professor clocks 60 is his fierce loyalty. Once Professor Osinbajo gives his word to you, you can safely go to sleep.
Not one driven by vaulting ambition, he is one person who believes that whatever one achieves in life is only by His grace.
This trait of loyalty is sadly lacking in many places today but Osinbajo stands out as a huge difference.
I must also refer to his huge brain as a man of ideas with vast networks to tap from in moving the society forward.
I have said it before and it bears repeating once again that Professor Yemi Osinbajo inspite of his accomplishments is extremely humble – very humble and I dare say strikingly humble.
This trait of humility is very uncommon and on this score Professor Yemi Osinbajo deserves to be celebrated.
I have closely monitored his activities as the Vice-President and now the Acting President of the country and one is impressed by his commitment to unite the country as well as his disposition of being highly detribalized.
In implementing the policies of this administration and standing in effectively for his boss, the Prof. may have succeeded in calming frayed nerves, stabilizing the polity and effectively making the point that you can be effective without undermining your boss.
His public pronouncements have been quite measured and matured. He has retained his image of being calm, cool and collected.
At 60, Prof what else can I say? You have made many of us who passed through you as your students extremely proud indeed.
The reality today is that even though the administration may have scored highly in curbing corruption and insurgency, the economy is still in bad shape as Nigerians yearn for employment opportunities, shelter and roof on their heads, food on their tables and many other dividends of democracy.
Now that Prof. is 60 what should we expect of the Buhari/Osinbajo joint ticket in the Nigerian social/political and economic landscape?
The answer may have been provided by the eminent prof himself. In a recent video clip of one of his several sermons as a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God the Prof admonished all to ‘farabale’, ‘farabale’, ‘farabale’, meaning ‘calm down’, ‘calm down’, ‘calm down’ because the best wine is still coming.
Therefore, Nigerians should remain hopeful that the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket would spring surprises and deliver good governance at least before the expiration of their tenure. Knowing the prof as much as I do, he meant every word in this regard.
I bear public testimony that at 60 professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCFR is one Nigerian who will and can never steal just like his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Gold and silver I have none to give but to wish you abundant God’s blessings and merciful grace as you continue to stay loyal with uncommon commitment to worthy causes.
Happy birthday Prof! May your future be brighter than your past Amen.”
This year, in celebrating the enigma who is the celebrant, I prefer to join millions of his admirers in offering gratitude and appreciation to God Almighty for spearing his life given the tragic events he escaped during the year.
Many will recall that on Saturday 2nd February, 2019 the Vice President narrowly survived an air crash after the helicopter carrying him and his entourage crash-landed at the Kabbah Township Stadium, Kogi State.
It was widely reported that apart from the vice president, there were 11 other people on board the aircraft, including the minister of state for Labour and Productivity, Prof Stephen Ocheni, senior presidential aides, security officials and the crew.
Significantly, the Vice-President inspite of the crash exhibited uncommon courage when he continued the campaign activities immediately after surviving the helicopter crash. His conduct in this regard is unprecedented.
It will also be recalled that on June 7, 2018 a chopper that was to convey Osinbajo from the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada in Abuja, was forced to land, few seconds after takeoff.
The foregoing tragic incidents which the celebrant escaped is the major reason for appreciation in the celebration of the celebrant at 62.
Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCFR at 62 has shown that he is not only a man of ideas and vision but clearly, a man of creativity and innovation.
I will illustrate this point with his activities during the campaigns in the build up to the last presidential election.
Many will recall that while most of the opposition parties had gone to the zones and the states to launch their campaigns, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo did the unthinkable by launching a door-to-door campaign in the Nyanya and Karu aisle of the FCT.
The Vice President also took the campaign to the homes of ordinary Nigerians and walk the streets of major towns and villages to preach the message of the next level.
This is significant given the fact that door-to-door campaign is usually employed by state house of assembly or some National Assembly candidates during campaigns. It is a rarity in presidential campaign and the credit must go to the celebrant.
No less significant is the role of the celebrant in stabilising the polity in the last three years of this administration.
The celebrant has tremendously assisted gravely in realizing the vision and mission of the Buhari’s administration as encapsulated in the change agenda and several other policy document.
His leadership in the economic team has helped to resuscitate the economy on the path of prosperity and progress.
So much are the contributions of the celebrant that one commentator volunteered this comments on the celebrant as follows:
“For the myriad of problems facing the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has never shied away from proffering workable solutions and a typical example is the farmers/herders clashes which he has been in the forefront in addressing the fundamental causes.
This has contributed along with the security approach in restoring relative peace in the restive communities.
Professor Osinbajo has proven that his position can be used to give support to his principal President Muhammadu Buhari rather than fight for supremacy or undermine the principal as we witnessed in past dispensations.
As a loyal party member, he has at critical periods brokered peace towards ensuring the cohesion necessary for the growth of the party and democracy in the country.
He has also earned the confidence of President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress as a peace maker, solution provider and out-of-the box thinker in resolving several knotty issues that crop up from time to time.
His interventions in other issues of national importance are also worthy of mention.
Recently he opted to intervene in redressing the action of the Lagos state government in forcing luxury bus owners to relocate to a location that is obviously unsuitable for them to continue rendering seamless transport services to travellers from Lagos to other parts of the country.
By offering to help find solution to the transporters’ plight he has demonstrated responsible leadership, especially considering the pivotal role transportation plays in the economic development of the country.
Added to the fact that he leads the administration’s economic team, he is the most suitable to help find solution to such unnecessary disruption in the movement of goods and services across the country.
Even in the United States, transport companies own bus terminals as we have in the Greyhound Bus Company and many others.
It can therefore be said that Professor Yemi Osinbajo is a blessing to the Buhari administration and Nigeria in general.
History is replete with examples of such highly rated statesmen like President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who had rare opportunities of leadership to transform their societies and presently Nigeria is witnessing a focused leadership that is positioning the country well.”
In concluding my tribute on the celebrant at 62, may I congratulate him for delivering his state, Ogun State to the ruling All Progressives Congress in the last gubernatorial elections culminating in the emergence of Prince Dapo Abiodun, the APC candidate as the governor elect.
This may have demonstrated especially for the celebrant honour at home and positioned the Vice-President as a grass root politician and statesman.
Except to add that Professor Yemi Osinbajo is more of a statesman than a politician because given his track record and vision, he has always been focused on the next generation.
At 62 for the celebrant and for many of us his well-wishers, the key word of gratitude for his life is APPRECIATION! APPRECIATION! APPRECIATION to God for sparing his life thus far and appreciation in anticipation that God will spare his life further for many many years to come.
Congratulations Professor Yemi Osinbajo at 62. I wish you many more years of prosperous service to the nation and boundless happiness in your personal, professional and public life.