Prof Adefemiwa Oluwole
Reading through the acerbic remarks against President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, by Pa Ayo Adebanjo, a chieftain of Afenifere, published by Sunday Punch evokes a feeling that time is fading fast on the old man on his knowledge of events and
the strong values that these two leaders represent for Nigeria at the moment.
By his viewpoints on the government of President Buhari, Pa Adebanjo has not been good to his rating as an elder stateman normally credited with wisdom and knowledge of political history of Nigeria and as an otherwise notable leader of Afenifere.
It is understandable that Pa Adebanjo, an old horse in the struggle for Yoruba interest in national Politics is at his game again, but he
should be reminded pointedly that his spurious attack on the persons of the President and his deputy at this point in time, is misdirected, jaundiced and lacking depth whichever way we dice it.
For the good that both President Buhari and Professor Osinbajo hold for Nigeria since 2015 can hardly be gainsaid or so easily dismissed by the old partisan, political & ethnic operative.
If Pa Adebanjo had kept within the realms of noble conduct of public commentary, many would have welcomed his views. But his forays into cash and carry political advocacy which he championed under the Jonathan administration is the stain that taints his rather reputable past and association with some of the sages of Lord.
For instance, Adebanjo sat by, watching and getting patronized by a regime that made nonsense of the Yorubas repeatedly in the 5 to 6 years of the Jonathan years! He found his voice again when more progressive Yoruba forces took the bull by the horns and delivered Nigeria from the waste and wanton national disgrace that PDP & Jonathan had brought Nigeria to. Except that Pa Adebanjo took sides with the enemies of that progressive and triumphant movement.
Having lost the election Pa Adebanjo is yet to recover, but continues to do the bidding of those who turned Yorubas and their interest into 3rd rank.
To start with, Pa Adebanjo should not forget that President Buhari assumed office in 2015, meeting a near collapsed state of governance
in which case phenomenal looting by government officials rendered the economy literally prostrate, reeling into recession, almost immediately. It was worst for the same government that was left with an immediate option to fight insecurity and festering agitations for regional self-determination, within a little time.
By the omissions of the past government, Boko Haram terrorism became a major concern, taking over vast portions of the entire landscape of the north eastern zone of Nigeria, even threatening the Federal Capital Territory and adjoining states.
President Buhari, a man he has chosen to simply misunderstand, has been correcting the ills and the rots met on ground, while Nigerians and the rest of the world are aware of the onerous tasks involve in doing just that.
The integrity and sincerity of purpose brought in by the President has made him an over-comer, though to the chagrin of his opponents, most especially members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whom he crushingly defeated almost three years back at the polls.
Pa Adebanjo is one of the major supporters of that political party, noted to have driven Nigeria ruefully to the edge of a cliff hanger. Papa should be feeling rather lucky that Nigerians are not charging him for his shameful support of a decadent regime that raped our nation and bled it almost dry!
Under President Buhari, it is no longer business as usual. This painful reality makes Pa Adebanjo’s most recent wailing and vituperation very understandable.
All the same, it is germane to point out to armchair and implacable critics like Pa Adebanjo that in addition to taking Nigeria out of recession, against which even the opponents groaned, the Buhari administration returned peace to the Niger Delta and the south-east, decimated Boko Haram in the north-east with terrorism brought to its knees, and took Nigeria out of economic recession and many more.
Coming closer home to Adebanjo, President Buhari has been good to the South-West contrary to claims by the septuagenarian. When compared to the last PDP regime which patronized Adebanjo and which he in turn supported, Buhari has brought out some of the best of Southwest and entrusted them with key assignments and responsibilities.
Pa Adebanjo should be mindful that the government of former President Jonathan in which he has been investing much sympathy, had thoroughly neglected the southwest. Pa Adebanjo should not have forgotten in a hurry that the protest by the south-west against brazen marginalization by the past government made the zone to embrace President Buhari whole heartedly returning in his favour overwhelming votes. Therefore, to think that the government of President Buhari has not been good to the south-west zone amounts to playing the ostrich, as available evidence points to the contrary.
The commitment of the President to south-west made the President to allot three key ministries, Power, Work And Housing in care of the former governor of Lagos State, Raji Baabatunde Fashola, in recognition of his capability and capacity to deliver. He has not
been disappointing, all the same.
The President also gave Southwest the Finance, Mines & Steel Devp, Communications & Health portfolios. What did Adebanjo manage to get for Southwest in his rabid support of PDP & Jonathan? Well, that is besides the personal patronage he enjoyed then?
In the siting of Projects also, President Buhari has also been good to Pa Adebanjo’s geo-political zone. Besides the siting of more power projects in the south-west, the present government has been gracious in re-awarding contract for reconstruction of Lagos-Ibadan dual carriage way which eluded even the attentions of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and that of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
More importantly, the Buharis’ administration deemed it necessary to start its comprehensive plan for railway development in Nigeria from the southwest, making Lagos-Ibadan rail project the starting point.
Need we mention that the project, which has kicked off, is scheduled for completion next year. The Lagos- Ibadan rail line alone, as planned is designed to turn around the economy of the south-west wholly. In this regard, south-west will emerge as the major economic hub of not only Nigeria, but the entire sub-region of West Africa.
Notwithstanding the sustained criticism by the governor of Ekiti State of the government of President Buhari, act of magnanimity and open mind made the President to even veered the construction of Lagos-Kano rail line to Ekiti State, for economic benefit. The gesture from the President came up willingly and not borne out of criticisms he received often from loud but baseless hardliners like Pa Adebanjo.
Pa Adebanjo has now touched on the sensitive nerves of well meaning Yoruba people by his call on Vice President Osinbajo to resign. He could not have meant well coming to that conclusion. One thing that will unite many well meaning Nigerians today is that Professor Osinbajo is giving a good account of himself as a worthy deputy both in service, and commitment, not to talk of loyalty. I have seen several instances and aware of much more occasions where the people of the zone have lavished praise of the law professor for his hardwork and exemplary showcasing the Yorubas as top public administrators who remain loyal and committed to duty. Why should he resign, when he is making such a tremendous impact in governance today?
If in doubt ask the Governors who continue to praise his handling of the economy especially through the National Economic Council where all the Governors meet monthly under the VP’s chairmanship. If you ask the Governors especially those who served while the PDP were 8n charge of the Federal Government you would be told that Osinbajo has been driving State rights deep and boldly pushing the principles of devolution of powers and fiscal federalism even as VP. What has PA. Adebanjo done for restructuring besides hos loud cacaphonous rantings?
Indeed, Yoruba today are certainly celebrating Osinbajo for his astuteness, integrity, sense of dedication, hard work and unflagging loyalty to his principal. He is setting a record that glows in grace and honor. Nigerians are proud of him, not just The Yorubas alone.
All people of goodwill, in the Southwest and across the country know well enough to discountenance tired and jaundiced voices like that of 1Pa Adebanjo whose politics is founded on pull him down syndrome, as long as they are not the ones in contention. In essence, the call for resignation of Professor Osinbajo by Pa Adebanjo is a call for anarchy.
It is a call for the destabilization of the government that means well for Nigeria. It is a call for the Yoruba to lose their pride of place in the present cabinet, for no better alternative.
Lastly, if Pa Adebanjo has nothing to contribute to the advancement of governance by offering time tested suggestion and wisdom, he should not call out Nigeria for destruction. He should desist from politics of opportunism for which they he has been noted, and start leaving good political legacies for the upcoming younger generation.
Normally it is from the elders that wisdom comes. Alas we must counsel Adebanjo afyer reading his out rightly error filled interview.
May error not mark the twilight!
Prof Adefemiwa Oluwole, Lagos