THE MANY LIES OF NIGERIA’S VICE-PRESIDENT, PASTOR YEMI OSINBAJO5 min read
The many lies of Pastor Yemi Osinbajo have given credence to a popular parlance that says ‘the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know.’ Not only that there is a sharp contrast between Osinbajo’s campaign promises and what he has embarked upon after being voted into power, the Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has equally on many occasions belittled his integrity by feeding Nigerians with concocted statements.
Besides, due to his legal background and antecedents as a Commissioner for Justice in Lagos state for eight years, many Nigerians expected that Osinbajo will contribute a great deal to the much needed reform of the judicial system at the national level. They were actually wrong.
After the formation of APC in 2013, Osinbajo was charged with the task of designing and producing a manifesto tagged ‘Roadmap to a new Nigeria’ for the party. Highlights of the roadmap included a free meal plan for public schools, a conditional cash transfer to the 25 million poorest Nigerians if they enrol their children in school and immunize them. There were also a number of programs designed to create economic opportunities for Nigeria’s rising youth population. And after taking the oath of office on 29 March, 2015, Osinbajo was expected to oversee the economic planning team and report, as well as make recommendations, to the President, who would then make final decisions.
One major deficit of this Buhari/Osinbajo administration is the economic team that have done little or nothing to positively impact on the economic system of the country. From finance and forex (banking) to manufacturing, it has been a colossal failure. The situation today has greatly degenerated from bad to worse, subsequently subjecting Nigerians to a record abject poverty and hardship. The situation has forced many producers/entrepreneurs and companies to either close business or cut staff strength. Poverty and hardship seems to be firing Nigerians from all cylinders.
Meanwhile, before the submission of the budget, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo boasted at an event that the 2016 budget would adopt the zero-base budget system. This became instant news that many APC supporters cheered to high heavens. But behold, barely a month after the Finance Minister settled into office, the budget was ready! This indicated that Pastor Osinbajo was indeed lying, considering the fact that to adopt a zero-base budget system for a national budget, you do not rely on the previous budgets. You are expected to examine the cost and revenue centres, work the budget up from the scratch and cut down unnecessary costs as much as possible. And in a country like Nigeria where we have inefficient civil service, that should technically take more than six months to achieve, but the budget presented and passed was different from what Pastor Osinbajo was peddling.
That explains a bogus subhead of N320m for Aso Rock zoo. The previous budgets were worked on, by adjustments before presentation, which explains also the various issues that surrounded the budget, and the latest word in the country called ‘padding’.
The APC has been tagged a party that’s not consistent, and many have tried to absolve the Pastor from the bandwagon, but his hands are quite deep in the act that it is more impossible for him to be exonerated. Osinbajo also deceived Nigerians at another event, claiming that the regimes of Yar’ Adua and Jonathan never built “a single road”. He made this false claim at a Pastors and leaders retreat of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos, on February 26, 2016. Meanwhile, the truth is that the Jonathan regime constructed roads in all the six geopolitical zones, including the beginning of the total reconstruction and widening of the Lagos-Ibadan and Apapa-Oshodi Expressways.
And as if that was not enough, the Pastor tampered with legacies of the Awolowo vision and philosophy, which he leveraged on to get the votes of the Southwest electorate by saying that Nigeria does not need to restructure in order to move forward. In a lecture at the Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, on Saturday, 9 July, 2016, Osinbajo declared that Nigeria needs the diversification of her economy, not restructuring, to move forward.
He was obviously responding to calls by APC chieftains, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and some regional leaders of the South-East, South-South and South- West who echoed the call for true federalism and restructuring as the only way to make Nigeria work. The party’s campaigns was based on restructuring during the Jonathan administration, but it will shock you that some APC chieftains have recently called for non-restructure, and the Vice- President has openly echoed the new position of his party.
The Vice-President made this abysmal statement during a meeting at the Presidential Villa with a delegation of the European Union led by the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion. On economic issues, the Vice President reiterated the government’s commitment to driving its diversification policy and encouraged investors from European countries to take advantage of the situation, especially in the agro-allied/processing industry.
He restated the determination of the administration to ensure that the ease of doing business in Nigeria goes up by at least 20 steps in the World Bank rating. To this end, he said the President has approved the composition of a Presidential Commission on the matter to be chaired by him (the Vice-President), and with the Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah as Vice Chairman.
“In the next few months, we should see some changes,” he promised. But this is September, and Nigerians are yet to feel the effect of the policy. Nigerians see this as another lie coming from the party and the latest spokesperson on economic matters, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo.
In what seems to be a season of lies, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic policies would produce a stronger naira, claiming that by earning more and exporting more, the value of naira would improve.
According to him, a sustained diversification plan by the Buhari presidency, steadily moving away from the current mono-product economy, would increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings and raise the value of Nigeria’s currency. The Pastor told Nigerians during a visit to Enugu sometimes in November 2015, that the value of naira will improve, but about a year now, the naira is still shooting above the roof top to N415/$1. This has further crippled the economy and rendered thousands of citizens jobless. The salient question intelligent Nigerians are asking is; what does the government have to sell and earn more? What does the government exports to earn more? What are the platforms created by the government for private investors? How are the forex and ports policies channelled to ease clearing?