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Osinbajo’s integrity and the rest of them BY Oluwafemi Popoola


Ever since Vice President Yemi Osinbajo assumed office after the historic 2015 election win, so much has been said on his integrity and personality which was the major selling point for the APC during their 2015 election campaign.

Prof Osinbajo, the former Attorney General of Lagos State, and a Professor of Law embodied the promises of a new moral order going by his long history of integrity as a public officer, this he brightly displayed in Lagos State politics, as his impeccable record when he led the legal reforms in the state is white as snow, not now to talk of his attributes thus far as the Vice President of Nigeria, an office which offers him a constitutional role of the chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC).

As expected, there has been a legion of commentaries and discussions by many observers, writers, political commentators, analysts and revisionists directed at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) pastor in a bid to dissect his faith, politics, philosophy and integrity.

In the Nigerian political context and possibly other climes, the moment an individual presents him/herself for a political post, his life automatically becomes a subject of pubic scrutiny. While one would expect that such scrutiny is inevitable as politicians anywhere in the world are expected to be accountable to their people, but the amoral politics of the Nigerian landscape presents a different reality.

Going by Nigeria’s chequered political history, many traditional politicians are generally viewed with distrust because they are sometimes seen as simply occupying public offices for occupying sake, rather than truly serving the people in their exalted position. This general assumption makes political offices in the country a no go area for persons with high moral value and decency.

While the Vice President has enjoyed a great deal of affection and praises by many commentators which is an alien experience for politicians in this country where they are generally held in low esteem, Osinbajo has also endured a furnace of persecution, denudation and name calling like “V.P. Academics” from his traducers, who believe he should not be treated differently. Well, life they say is a mixed bag and Osinbajo’s political career is no different. It has not entirely been a bed of roses for the sprightly 64-year-old, neither has it been a golgotha of thorns.

Osinbajo’s reputation and longstanding integrity was firstly put to the fire in a virulent manner at the backdrop of Tunde Fowler’s exit from the Federal Inland Revenue Service due to corruption cases.

A letter from the late President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had surfaced on the Internet querying the FIRS boss on the discrepancy in their figures. The following day, the story came up that the VP allegedly took N90 billion from that same FIRS to fund the 2019 elections. It was the most confusing story of the year in 2019. There were a lot of insinuations and gossips. While some believed it was a knife fight in the APC party politics by some cabals who wanted to reduce Osinbajo growing influence, others posited that the purveyors of such malicious lie had planned it well by dragging Osinbajo to the Fowler’s corruption story due to their similar backgrounds and chummy relationship. Fowler was a childhood friend and a former classmate of the VP.

With another intent to puncture the integrity of the former Law Professor, the Vice President was also dragged into the issue of the N5.8 billion National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) scandal this time by the opposition PDP.

The main opposition party had claimed that the Vice President had “failed to provide a cogent response to the report of the House of Representatives on the N33 billion NEMA fraud in addition to allegations that the N5.8 billion was withdrawn from the national coffers, while he was Acting President, without legislative consent and expended without recourse to extant due process, procurement and contract rules.”

Babafemi Ojudu, the presidential political adviser while responding to the claim said, “Nowhere in the House of Representative Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness report was there an allegation of corruption against the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and this is why claims against him from some quarters regarding the report are mere political contrivances intended to distract him.

“It is evident that the opposition are in search of company for their acts of grand corruption which brought Nigeria to its knees as of May 2015. They cannot find that company in the Vice President.