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OPINION

Osinbajo: Courage and Tenacity Amidst Close Shave

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Nigeria’s Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, could be linked to the fabled cat with seven lives. Twice, in recent times, he has survived helicopter incidents that could have silenced him. The first was in August 2018 in Abuja, when a helicopter that was to take him back to Aso Villa, after gracing a state function, malfunctioned as it was air-bound. Osinbajo had to travel by road.

The second and more recent one was in Kabba, Kogi State, on his way to the All Progressives Congress’ house-to-house campaign.

It’s almost certain that were an extensive, and focused and intensive vox pop were to be conducted especially amongst unrepentant atheists, disbelievers, pagans, free-thinkers etc., on the two near-fatal in accident, survived by Osinbajo, they would nod that it was Providence. They would also nod – and very rapidly too – that Providence was on the side of Osinbajo – alongside the pilot and his co-travellers, primarily because he is an industrious, conscientious and unswerving combatant against corruption in the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Osinbajo encounters were rare and unique because of their circumstances and timing; rare because, as some Lagos-based aviation historians have told this writer, nobody of Osinbajo’s caliber and status, has had such uninviting nasty experience; unique because the two instances that would have been rudely reminiscent of Soyinka’s prize-winning poetic line: “This close contortion – I”, involved a top son of this country in a transportation contraption that wings itself, like a bird, so to speak.

Nigeria has had series air disasters. Osinbajo near-fatal experience demands a thorough investigation and, more than anything else, a sustainable renaissance of maintenance culture – of airplanes and helicopters in the aviation industry. And that is because, in the non-opaque words of William Shakespeare (the sole, legitimate W.S!), “When beggars die, there are no comets seen, but the heavens, themselves, blaze forth the death of the princes.”

While Osinbajo has been quite grateful to the merciful and infinitely kind Christ for his intercession, he has been boundlessly and convincingly gracious to express gratitude to the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) – Pastor Enoch Adeboye (“My Daddy in the Lord”) – for praying without ceasing for his sake. Osinbajo’s escape, in Kabba from the ugly and vicious fangs of death was miraculous. He is, therefore, expected, whenever he’s less busy, to not only give testimony – probably at a much-publicized combined service – beyond what has been reported in newspapers, radio, television and social media – make a very generous offering and, for as long as he remains in office, pay a gargantuan tithe, when due, to the temple of God, where he worships and for the spreading of Christ’s gospel reconciliation of humankind to God.

And yet, it was Osinbajo’s philosophical calmness after the near-fatal crash to go about his mission in what was a provincial headquarters during the colonial times. If Osinbajo were the fetish kind – a man who probably doesn’t go to kirk, still less say his prayers before going to bed; a man who sees no wisdom in investing gargantuan hope, trust and confidence in Christ – the nation would have been mourning; at a time so close to the 2019 general election. If he were a disbeliever, he would have called a press a conference to accuse the devils amongst his political opponents for wanting to waste him. His miraculous survival of the Kabba crash is conclusive evidence that, indeed, the devil is a liar. Amen, somebody!

His courage and audacity, given the circumstance of the Kabba crash, has won him the people’s hearts. None has he accused. Generous he has been, as he acknowledged the congratulatory messages of the good people of this country.

Kabba, therefore, is a national sacrifice by Osinbajo. To the people of Kabba, Osinbajo personifies good governance. It was courageous of Osinbajo that the instructive and healthy pro-APC messages – the war against corruption by fishing out the men (and women) whose ungodly intent remains how well to condemn a crushing majority of the people of this immeasurably blest country to tattered penury; the Traders Moni empowerment and entrepreneurship initiative; the feeding-at-school programme, etc., sounded pleasant in the ears of the Kabba people. Besides, Osinbajo said that  the Buhari administration had, through investing a huge sum of the gargantuan money recovered from the looters of the Nigerian treasury, attracted millions of primary and secondary school children back to the classrooms and had, therefore, created – in a welfarist fashion – employment for their parents.

That relief is a forward-looking strategy by the Buhari administration to make education a fairly accessible state offer – in place of egregiously expensive ignorance – so that their beneficiaries would not end up as a bundle of “a wasted generation”; a deservedly wasted generation of unrepentantly rascally lot, who’d take pride in ‘kidnapping’ pro-hate speech radio stations, in return for a gargantuan ransom! Soyinka should go to hell, where he’ll be consumed “. . . without gastronomic options,” by an unquenchable Holy Ghost fire! Amen, somebody!

He rightly argued that that laughter can only be sustained with an APC government in power. He was also quick to remind the people of Kabba that the Buhari pensioners’ achievement called for a visibly generous investment of voters’ trust in the Buhari administration in that most pensioners who are now receiving their dues regularly can afford, with some relative ease, pay the school fees of their children and take good care of themselves as they walk gradually into the twilight zone. They are the pensioners, who side with Buhari, whom they think, by his action, believes in the biblical saying that, “the labourer deserves his wages”. Amen, somebody!

The Buhari pensioners’ gospel taken to Kabba, by Osinbajo, is a ringing indictment of the PDP administrations that, for nearly two decades into the Fourth Republic, callously refused to hearken to the pleas of Nigerian pensioners that they should be paid what was constitutionally their dues, especially when the means – the Manna-like windfall that was $147 per barrel of crude oil – was readily available during the PDP administration headed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Osinbajo reminded the Kabba people that a legion of such pensioners had died, while on the queue – in most instances under an unforgiving sun – while waiting for what was constitutionally theirs.

Nduka, a veteran journalist, writes from Lagos


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