By Fejiro Johnson
When Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited Delta State on Thursday, April 28, the people of the State came out in droves to welcome the VP. The women at the venue of the delegates meeting sang songs in honour of Osinbajo, with one striking message.
In Pidgin English parlance, they sang “follow who know road”, meaning, follow the person that knows the right way to go. Simply put. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is the most favourite among the presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress.
As at Wednesday night, May 24, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has visited 33 states and the FCT in continuation of his consultations with APC stakeholders and delegates across the country ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primaries. In the North, during his visits, excited crowd chanted, Sai Buhari! Sai Osinbajo! You’re a good leader.” In the South East, the people greeted him with utmost respect and adoration as they sang “Ndewoo” to him with gusto. “God has already chosen you from childhood,” the Eze Imo, HRH Eze Emmanuel Okeke, said to the VP.
In the South West, they agree that Osinbajo is indeed a true Omoluabi, a man of honour, virtue and integrity. In the South South, they welcome him with open arms for leading government’s efforts to restore peace and stability in the region. Simply put, they will follow Osinbajo all the way.
Despite the humility of the VP, who has said on different occasions that the APC has competent aspirants for the position of president, there is an undoubted unanimity in the voices of delegates and people on the streets – matter of fact, among Nigerians nationwide and in the Diaspora, that VP Osinbajo is widely regarded as the best candidate and the right man to lead Nigeria come May 29, 2023.
By Thursday, with Lagos and Benue states next, the VP will have completed his nationwide tour of 36 states and the FCT, seeking for delegates and stakeholders’ support and votes for the forthcoming APC presidential primaries this weekend.
In every state he has visited so far, Prof Osinbajo has received massive welcome – sometimes akin to a carnival atmosphere, with dancing, singing and banners dancing in the skies – from people, including on the streets, supporters, cultural dancers, residents and very enthusiastic party delegates, who always came out in numbers to declare their support for the VP’s candidacy.
Even during his interactions with delegates in 33 states that he has visited so far, you could see the palpable adoration on their faces as the VP responded brilliantly and honestly to their questions or took individual photographs with them. There are maybe about 7,000 photographs of delegates and stakeholders with the Vice President in someone’s prized possession in every corner of Nigeria today. Brilliant as ever, the VP laced his interactions with wise words and explanations that left the delegates clapping enthusiastically and further pledging their support in words.
To rephrase a popular television advert, the clamour for Osinbajo for President is “everywhere you go.” During his visit to Yobe State, the VP said of his suitability for the job of the president: “I put myself forward as a presidential aspirant and this is after having served as vice president for the past seven years under President Muhammadu Buhari and in that capacity as vice president, I have worked very closely with the president. The president has given me all the exposure that any vice president could ask for. As a matter of fact, I must say that I doubt if there is any vice president who has had the number of responsibilities, the exposure both local and international that the president has given me in my service as vice president.
“I have also acted as president when the president was away on either medical vacation or his regular vacation. He has made sure that I have been given the opportunity to serve our country in that capacity. And over the past seven years, I have learnt a lot about governing a diverse and complex country like Nigeria.” Even the stakeholders and delegates agree.
“We have other aspirants like the chairman said, but we know that we can separate the chuff from the grains. You will be the best president Nigeria will have. You know the in and out of the government, you know where the roof is leaking, you know what it needs be done to put Nigeria on the right part,” said the Deputy Governor of Plateau, Prof. Sonny Tyoden. In Niger Delta and other parts of the county too, the refrain is the same. “There is no gainsaying that they all are probably shivering where they are because of your credentials; coupled with your calmness, your humility and great respect for culture and being a true man of God, who has the fear of God in his heart.” Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, said to Osinbajo when he visited Edo and Delta States.
Similarly, the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, noted that the VP did not need to come to seek the votes of the delegates in the state, because Borno is 100 per cent in support of the VP’s aspiration. During the Vice President’s meeting with Borno delegates, Governor Zulum said: “It is the prayers of all Nigerians at this critical time for a visionary leader that will take the country to a greater height; and that leader with the capacity and capability to achieve this is Vice President Yemi Osinbajo,” adding that, “this was the consensus of the people of Borno.” The consensus is nationwide, it rightly seems. In Plateau, for instance, the roaring applause for Prof. Osinbajo was exciting as the Deputy Governor came up to introduce the VP.
“APC Osinbajo! Everywhere you go! Osinbajo everywhere you go! Osinbajo!” the delegates went back and forth, in a sing song manner. And the Osinbajo nationwide support movement momentum is finely building to a positive crescendo for the Vice President’s presidential aspiration. At this stage, only the delegates can say no, but if their favourable responses at the VP’s interactions, is the yardstick to determine the swing of their votes at the APC primaries, then it is safe to say that an overwhelming percentage of them have said yes, including the once anti-Osinbajo delegates.
For instance, a viral photo and Facebook post of a die-hard supporter of a popular candidate from the South West posted that Osinbajo took photographs with them after the delegates meeting despite the fact that they wore branded face caps of the other presidential aspirant.
That is who the Vice President is, a unifier, a man of integrity, credibility and character worthy of emulation. It’s the delegates dance for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. It doesn’t matter if it is 2,340 or 7,800, as the signing and implementation of the 2022 Electoral Act will allow; the odds point majorly in one direction- in favour of the Vice President clinching the APC presidential candidate ticket.
My message to all delegates, as the VP noted, would be for them to leave sentiments aside, vote in the best interest of the country, vote for the future of your children and generations to come. Vox populi, Vox Die, the famous quote goes. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Delegates, please listen to the voice of our people who are yearning for a leader who represents the best of us and the best in us. Osinbajo is the right man and the best candidate across all parry lines to lead Nigeria from May 29, 2023 as president into its manifest destiny of greatness and prosperity.
Please vote wisely. Nigeria needs you.
•Johnson, a public affairs analyst and commentator, writes from Abuja