Welcome Buhari, well done Osinbajo by Lekan Otufodunrin

When Professor Yemi Osinbajo was nominated as running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari, not many thought he fitted the bill.

Despite his accomplished status of being a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Professor of Law, some analysts felt Osinbajo, whose only involvement in government and politics was serving as Attorney General under former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would not add much value to the ticket, except for being able to attract votes of some Pentecostal Christians.

Even after assuming office, his ability as a good technocrat was not apparent to many who regard him as just another spare tyre, like most deputies and vice presidents are labelled.

However, the extended medical vacation which President Buhari had to take for about 50 days has given Osinbajo the opportunity to prove the real, good stuff he is made of and his capacity as a very competent deputy to his boss.

Within the period he acted as president, he has left no one in doubt that being an experienced politician is not the only qualification required to run a government, even at the highest level.

His pronouncements when he acknowledged that the federal government was hearing protesters loud and clear, official visits to the troubled Niger Delta states that are mainly governed by opposition governors and unscheduled visit to the Lagos International Airport are really commendable.

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That the militants in the Niger Delta have been on holiday is not unconnected with the peace moves he has made in the region on behalf of the federal government which has hitherto not been taken seriously about its commitment to appeasing aggrieved people in the area.

Such were the general impressive performance of Professor Osinbajo that even the opposition parties and even those regarded as ‘wailers’ could not but acknowledge that his style of leadership was different and more accommodating of all, irrespective of political divide.

To avoid being seen as going out of his way to outshine his boss, Osinbajo and other officials of the Presidency had to issue statements insisting that whatever he was doing was a continuation of the policies of the Buhari administration and not his personal initiative.

I have no doubt that Osinbajo didn’t set out to prove any point by whatever he did in his boss’  absence, rather the medical vacation was an opportunity for Nigerians to know that the professor is an asset to Buhari’s administration and he should continue to play major roles to attract more needed goodwill for the government.

It is commendable that President Buhari trusted Osinbajo well enough to hand over to him as Acting President before travelling out, and good enough the vice president exceeded expectations.

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Impressed by Osinbajo’s performance, Buhari has said the vice president with the benefit of youthful energy and intellect has to do more. He really has to do more due to many issues begging for the attention of the federal government.

Nigerians will need to get used to seeing more of Professor Osinbajo whenever the president is not available to attend to any issue.

The lesson of Osinbajo being able to effectively hold forth for Buhari is that capable persons should always be chosen as deputies or vice presidents.

They should be as good as their bosses since there may be need, like when President Buhari had to be away for medical treatment, for them to act in their absence.

Even when there is no vacuum, deputies should be assigned enough duties to prepare them for any eventuality instead of being sidelined as the case has been in some states.



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