Osinbajo: Most Allegations Against Government are Unverified 

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By Shola Oyeyipo 

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has advised the citizenry to always subject allegations against the federal government and the presidency to checks and not take them line hook and sinker.  

Osinbajo, who was a guest speaker yesterday at the Greater Nigeria Pastors Conference with the theme: ‘Towards a Better Nigeria’ organised by the founder, Foundation of Truth Assembly ( FOTA), Pastor Yomi Kasali,  said issues being raised against the government were untrue.  

Responding to questions of lopesidedness in federal appointments, non-arrest and prosecution of herdsmen allegedly responsible for gruesome murder of innocent citizens, alleged Islamisation of Nigeria and other issues raised by the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Dr. Mike Okonkwo, Osinbajo said though Nigeria stood at the threshold of significant challenges, the country was making positive progress.  

On allegation that the government was not doing enough to address the rampaging herdsmen allegedly because they were kinsmen of President Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo said Nigeria has had herdsmen-farmer clashes long before the emergence of the current government.

 

“Every year, there have been all manners of crisis but when President Muhammadu Buhari became president, because he is a Fulani, it became a convenient narrative to say it is because he is a Fulani man. 

 

“The question is,  what has happened over the years that give an impression that it is because the president is a Fulani man.  What we should do is how to prevent it. It will continue to escalate if we don’t find permanent solution to it,” he said. 

 

He added that contrary to the insinuation that nobody had been apprehended over the destructive activities of the herdsmen, many people were in detention and some on trial, but that nobody was paying attention to it. 

 

Talking about the Islamic Development Bank,  which Nigeria joined in 2005 and which some consider as a way to Islamise the country, the vice president said there was no harm in taking loans from the bank for national development.

 

 “When people talk of Islamic agenda sometimes I am lost.  It is not President Buhari that joined. Nigeria joined in 2005 and we become the first to sit as the director. The second is the current Finance Minister.  The question to ask is,  does it profit us, if it profits us do it. They have not said only Muslims can seat as directors,” Osinbajo stated. 

 

He also argued that wise borrowing as currently being contemplated by government was not a bad idea considering that government was investing the money on the much needed infrastructural development.

 

Disabusing the minds of Nigerians against alleged sectional imbalance in federal appointment, Osinbajo pointed out that currently Ogun State ranks highest in federal appointments with 21 appointments of heads of agencies, followed by Imo State,  Kano, Edo, Anambra, Kogi, Kwara and Kaduna. 

 

“It is easy to say there is an imbalance when a list is released but Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo and Yobe States, have no senior ministers whereas there are four senior ministers from the South-east.  Then Nasarawa and Borno where they voted massively for the president are asking ‘what have we done wrong? How many votes did you get from Imo?’ That is what they are asking the president,” he said. 

 

The vice president also noted that while some people were complaining that the country’s current security architecture were being headed only by Northerners, at some point in history there was a time when there was no single Northerner among the security chiefs whereas there were two Southerners and yet there were no issues raised about it. 

 

He advised that it was time that Nigeria should begin to deviate from ethnic, religious and other parochial considerations in appointment of people to office, rather merit should be the first consideration.

 

He assured the people that the Buhari administration remained committed to stamping out corruption and issues regarding the Ikoyigate, Abdulrasheed Maina and other pending corruption issues were receiving the attention of the president and that the outcomes would be made public soon. 

 

“Many of us know what happened with Maina.  He was accused of several different offences. At some point he ran away.  He surfaced and we heard that he is now back.  The fugitive who had disappeared resurfaced and was found somewhere and the president said he should be disengaged.

 

“I can’t preempt what will happen, we will have to wait for the president’s action,” the vice president said. 

 

He noted that there was nothing amiss in the widely reported saga between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, except that the issue became public. 

 

He expressed great optimism that Nigeria was marching toward self-sufficiency in agriculture, he urged the people to shun tribalism, religious intolerance and that Christian leaders must come together to the take their rightful place in national politics. 

 

“We talk of Islamic agenda, where is the Christian agenda. The key to the unity of Nigeria is in the church,” he opined. 

 

The Director-General, Institute for National Transformation, Prof Vincent Anigbogu, who spoke earlier had harped on the urgent need for human capital development and a collaborative effort among Christians so as to have a voice. 

 

“We are supposed to manifest excellence. Let us strive to be excellent. If we do,  all these questions we are asking will not arise.  Nigeria has plenty of work to do in building the future – human capacity hurdle is a mandate the Lord gave us.  We must stop to be politically naive. 

 

Bishop Okwonkwo also enjoined the church to be more proactive in contributing to national development, noting that “We are used to complaining – pointing fingers,  but with what God has endowed us,  what are we doing? It is not to go and talk about how big our churches are; biggest pastors are here but nothing is happening because the church is asleep.

“It is time for the church’s light to shine outside there and that includes being organised. No one church will be able to do what God wants to do in this country.  It is going to require synergy. If you don’t change your perspective, nothing will change. “

Kasali, the event convener said the agenda was discuss with shared interest in Nigeria, particularly how Nigeria could rank top among other nations and also clarify some rumours making the round on social media.