By: Abba Bashir
The Osun people came out en-masse on the streets of Osogbo to show unyielding support for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, regarding 2023, and the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun, Larooye II, himself capped it up with a ringing endorsement for the presidential aspirant, describing him as “incoming president” much in line with the sentiments on the streets.
In a statement signed by senior special assistant to the vice President on Media and Publicity Laolu Akande quoted Osinbajo as saying it was a carnival-like atmosphere in Osogbo, and a warm reception also in Owerri, Imo State capital, where Prof. Osinbajo visited on Friday in continuation of his nationwide consultations with stakeholders and delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In both State capitals, excited residents trooped out in large numbers, singing, dancing and just showing their admiration with loud cheers, and various banners of endorsement to welcome Prof. Osinbajo at every stop and location he visited.
On his arrival in Owerri, the Vice President who was accompanied by the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, was received by State Party chieftains and senior government officials. While in Osogbo, the VP was received by the Osun State Deputy Governor, Benedict Olugboyega Alabi, party stalwarts and other senior State government officials.
Later in the evening in Abuja, the VP also interacted with delegates from Kogi State, many of whom spoke highly of him and the hope his aspiration holds for the country after a time of interaction, featuring a Question-and-Answer session.
With Imo, Osun State and Kogi State, the Vice President has now met with delegates in 24 States and the FCT in his ongoing consultations with APC stakeholders, where the VP has received wide acclaim and also held townhall-styled interactive sessions featuring Question-and-Answer sessions.
First in Owerri and then Oshogbo, the VP proceeded from the airport and helipad to pay courtesy calls on the respective traditional rulers, where he formally informed them of his decision to run for president.
During his interactions with stakeholders, the Vice President noted that Nigeria is at a very critical point in her history where elected leaders must show a sense of urgency in addressing the nation’s challenges, while the people must decide to go in the right direction for the sake of posterity.
Speaking during his courtesy visit to the Palace of the Chairman of the Imo State Traditional Rulers’ Council, His Royal Highness, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, in Owerri, the Vice President said, “We are at a point in the history of our country where we must decide in which direction to go. “And one of the important things to consider is that our country is going through various challenges”.
“So, most of us who are coming forward to offer ourselves for the number one position in our country, especially within our party, come with a sense of urgency and a sense of the burden that such an office will require now and such office places upon us now.”
Similarly, in Osogbo, Osun State, while interacting with the APC delegates, the VO stated that despite the country’s challenges, they, and the citizenry must make their decisions not based on present sentiments, but for the nation’s best interests and future generations.
“God gives us experience and knowledge so that we can use it for the benefit of the people… Generations after us must benefit from what we have learnt and we have no choice but to ensure that we give the very best that we have,” the VP noted.
“With utmost humility, clearly, I can do for our country what our country needs today, and without sentiments, I have the knowledge and experience to do it from day one,” Prof. Osinbajo affirmed.
In Imo, where he was received at the Palace by His Royal Majesty, Eze Emmanuel Okeke and members of the State’s Traditional Council, the monarch praised the Vice President for his leadership qualities.
“Your Excellency, whatever we are going to say here, God knows best, because God already chose you from childhood, and elevating you as a pastor. From there, he upgraded you… Instead of leaving you in the church, he made you be the second in command, general overseer of the country.”
“More grease to your elbow. May God continue to assist you, and we pray that He will grant your heart’s desire,” Eze Okeke remarked, as he gave the VP royal blessings.
Just like his Imo counterpart, the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Olanipekun, Larooye II, also gave his resounding royal blessings to the VP on his visit to his palace.
Describing Prof. Osinbajo as the “incoming president,” the Osun Monarch prayed for the VP’s success, noting that having served as vice president creditably well, he was well prepared and much qualified to become president.
“All that is needed to rule this country, God has granted you, so you are qualified. You will get there,” the Ataoja said.
The Ataoja urged both Federal and State Governments not to ignore the developmental needs of Oshogbo.
During his interactive sessions with delegates from the three States, Prof. Osinbajo addressed several national issues and exchanged ideas on issues of national development, governance and politics, including restructuring and how to improve security, economy, infrastructure, education, and health care, among other sectors.
Speaking with Imo delegates, Prof. Osinbajo said he will explore ways by which viable industries are promoted for further economic development in the southeast region, which is renowned for its enterprise.
“I think that you have a good ambassador here in the person of the Governor of Imo State because every time we meet, in our discussions, it’s not always politics, our discussions are on how we are going to build, what are we going to build, how are we going to improve the economy,” the VP added.
Similarly, in his interactions with Osun delegates, the VP observed that the State was a Progressives State, and commended stakeholders for their development efforts over the years.
He pointed out that his knowledge and experience as Vice President would be used to serve the Nigerian people as President.
“In the seven years that I have served, I have, as a true Omoluabi, served faithfully and loyally to the president, the constitution and the nation. And Mr. President has responded by ensuring that I see everything that needs to be seen in government. He is an open and transparent leader.”
He also pointed out his dedication and efforts in ensuring the success of the ruling party and its various programmes in government.
Speaking to the media in Owerri afterwards, the VP noted that his interactions with delegates in the two States have been wonderful and very rewarding.
“We talked about a wide range of issues from the economy, security, to education and what we need to do and some of the current challenges and how we intend to deal with those current challenges.
“We were able to rub minds on some of the critical issues that concern our country and also projecting into the future to see in what ways the future will be much better than what we have.”
He also spoke to reporters after his interaction with APC stakeholders in Osun State.
“We spent a lot of time talking about the issues that concern the country: economy, security and so many other issues including education, healthcare. So, it’s been a very rewarding, very wonderful interaction and I am sure that it’s been very profitable all around,” the VP disclosed.