How the Journey Started-Vice President Osinbanjo

Vice President of Nigeria
Vice President of Nigeria

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has finally spoken out on his emergence as running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election staying that he was recommended by someone highly placed.

Osinbajo spoke at the presidential dinner organized in honor of over 200 graduates and beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programmes at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Speaking on the issue Wednesday night the Vice President was however silent on the person who recommended him for the position .

He said, “I was in a group of young men and women and one of them asked the question how did I become Vice President, I was never a politician or anything like that"

“So I tried to explain it is quite simple that someone somewhere has to recommend you. Somebody somewhere has to give you a helping hand."

“Whether to be a Vice President or to be an aircraft pilot or to be an engineer, somebody somewhere has to give you an opportunity and I think that all of you that are here today are the beneficiaries of the opportunities that you have somehow received".

“And this is why this event is so important. I think that it is one way we have to remind ourselves that we are bound as individuals to give opportunities to everyone”.

Controversy had broken out three weeks ago after the launch of a biography on the President titled “Muhammadu Buhari: Challenges of Leadership,” by an American author,  John Paden, where he claimed that  that Osinbajo emerged as Vice President despite the fact that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress Ahmed Bola Tinubu was against it.

According to Paden, the names of three nominees Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Osinbajo had been submitted to the President to pick from and he settled for Osinbajo.

According to Paden with Buhari coming from the North-West geopolitical zone, the Vice-Presidency had been ceded to the South-West geopolitical zone.

Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Tunji Bello however burst Paden’s side of the story describing it as half truth.

Bello who was commissioner for environment at the same time Osinbajo served as commissioner of Justice during Tinubu’s administration said he was involved in the process that produced the Vice President and therefore knew better.

According to him Tinubu settled for Osinbajo as a candidate that would be sellable to the South West, being legal luminary and a royal progressive a democrat and married to a grand daughter of a late prominent leader in the region.

The Vice President also charged the Niger Delta militants to lay down their arms and embrace peace, saying Nigeria particularly the region, was the greatest loser of the blowing up oil installations. According to him, blowing up pipelines was like cutting one’s nose to spite the face.

The beneficiaries were trained as pilots, automobile and electric transformer technicians amongst other skills both in Nigeria and in foreign institutions.

Out of the 260 outstanding graduands, 45 graduated with a first class while 171 graduated with Second-Class upper Division. Osinbajo urged the militants to  keep away from blowing up the oil pipelines, stressing that it had large negative effect on them, their region, the country and even the generations yet unborn.

He said: “The fact that you did so well was a tremendous opportunity for other people. “We all have the responsibility to ensure that the future of the country is one that is secure. That cannot happen under the atmosphere of conflict.

“There is no point blowing up pipelines. If they are blown, who are the losers at the end of the day, all of us. Even the upcoming ones”.

The Vice President said by the successful completion of the educational and vocational pursuits of the ex-agitators from the Niger-Delta region,  their future was now brighter.

He noted that government had by the Programme given the ex-agitators an opportunity to harness their God’s given potentials, urging them to pass the skill they have acquired to others too.

“This is more of a programmes for giving the young people an opportunity to succeed. That’s the reason why we are doing the various vocational trainings all over the country"

“The future is here and your time has come. Just looking at you guys, I just know that the future is bright. I see you becoming the great people that God has made"

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), earlier in his remarks stated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to Securing the Niger Delta region and to giving the youths in the area an opportunity to excel.

According to him, some of the beneficiaries who majored in automobile were able to build a 30 feet coaster bus even as he called on some other agitators to join the programme.

One of the First class graduates, Alexander Obiechna who spoke on behalf of other outstanding graduands thanked the president for the programme. He also called on the government to sustain the programme to 
accommodate others ex-agitators.

“We solicit for the sustenance of the programmes”, he said adding that the ex-agitators will become peace and ambassadors to the region.
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About Chidobe Ibeji