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Osinbajo: More than qualified

Osinbajo: More than qualified
May 12
08:46 2022

BY OLUREMI KOSOKO

The insistent return to the same subject matter by those bent on undermining the vice president’s candidacy for the presidency on the APC ticket smacks of desperation and provides evidence of the emptiness of their assertions. The latest version of this fool’s errand is to be found in Biodun Ladepo’s ‘The Most Unqualified’. His assertion, as expressed in its title, is that for a combination of religious reasons and issues of fidelity to a supposed liege and master, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is unqualified to aspire to the presidency.

I shall touch upon his arguments quickly because they are well-worn ground, and deserve peremptory treatment. Ladepo refers to Professor Osinbajo’s pastoral role in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) as evidence of the country’s threat of being turned into a theocracy. Attributing a role in Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s candidacy to the RCCG is preposterous and pure supposition, not borne out by the evidence. Similarly, the hypothetical parallel drawn between the candidacy of a Sheikh and a pastor is a false parallel. A pastor is often not a full-time engagement, while one rarely hears of a part-time Sheikh.

This is dangerously simplistic, reflecting the tactic of telling the big lie often enough in the hope that it gains traction. My understanding is that within the RCCG, a pastor like Pastor Osinbajo is someone with oversight responsibility for multiple parishes. Since becoming VP, he has remained a pastor while having no day-to-day oversight functions. When he becomes president, he will have even less time for the role. Is Ladepo’s problem that he has chosen not to stop being a pastor?

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Even more outlandish is the presumption that anyone holding the title of a pastor is automatically disqualified from the highest office in the land. If Osinbajo was not regarded as religiously toxic as vice president, he cannot be cast in that mould as president. Pastor Tunde Bakare, who is in active service, is not pilloried for throwing his hat in the ring, why should Osinbajo be?

The other ground on which Ladepo objects to Yemi Osinbajo’s candidacy is that he failed to pay obeisance, by giving Bola Ahmed Tinubu adequate notice and time to prepare himself for an Osinbajo candidacy. The naivety of Ladepo’s position is nothing short of staggering. In the world of electoral politics, showing one’s hand early as suggested would be an act of self-immolation that would end any chance of success before such plans could even fully crystallise. The author’s position is predicated on the belief that Osinbajo owes Tinubu a debt of loyalty; I beg to differ.

The penchant for godfatherism in our politics is not only all-pervasive, but it is also debilitating and deceitful. We must disavow the political approach that ties a man’s fortunes to a sponsor in perpetuity. We must seek out and promote men whose animating force is the good of the people and the polity, without the expectation of holding them in bondage from then on.

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Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s preeminent consideration in deciding whether to run for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is and ought to be what is in the best interest of Nigeria. His qualifications speak for themself. His desire to serve is palpable. His preparation is self-evident. His integrity is unimpeachable. Our need for his qualities is a notorious fact.

Kosoko writes from Lagos

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