The sight of Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo walking majestically with his United States counterpart, Mike Pence last Wednesday on the grounds of the White House in Washington D.C. was a delight to your correspondent.
After the brouhaha that followed the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the same White House in 2018, and the never established reports of his bombastic counterpart, Donald Trump alleging some sacrilegious and lifeless comments on our president, Osibanjo’s gait and grace was reassuring.
Mr. Pence and Prof. Osinbajo indeed, make a remarkable pair. The two men claim to be practicing Christians, or as is said these days, born-again Christians.
Osibanjo is even a prominent pastor in one of the country’s leading Pentecostal churches.
Both vice-presidents have seemingly controversial principals that are in their respective countries said to be divisive.
Arguably, few presidents if any, have been as divisive as President Trump.
Likewise, in Nigeria, there is no contest between President Buhari and his predecessors on that same scale.
It is against this background that last Wednesday’s meeting between the two vice-presidents would have been a matter of interest.
However, the point of departure of their commonality is how the office has seemingly changed or not changed the two men.
Mr. Pence has remained steadfast in his policies and pronunciations and seemingly unbowed by the intimidatory tactics of the left-wing American media.
He has maintained the same position on the issues that brought him to power, including opposition to abortion. Your correspondent has watched him unmoved under probing questions from left-wing journalists and news anchors.
Except for Mr. George Walker Bush, it is common saying that no sitting vice-president succeeds his principal. However, with the exceptional bond and consistency of Mr. Pence, he could be in good stead for succession if Mr. Trump can overcome next year.
However, the narrative is not the same for Vice-President Osibanjo who came to office as a well-respected senior pastor of Nigeria’s largest Pentecostal denomination. Indeed, the question about his fidelity was especially projected as he toured Washington D.C. this week.
Hours before Osibanjo met with Mr. Pence last Wednesday, a brutal assault on his personality was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan in a statement issued by Reno Omokiri, himself also a pastor based in California.
Osibanjo had during a session with the Nigerian community in Washington D.C. given damning statistics that projected the Jonathan administration in bad light. Among his assertions was that in 2010, “Nigeria had about 112.7million people living in extreme poverty.”
Omokiri speaking on behalf of Jonathan the following day easily disproved the claim saying “According to the United Nations and the World Poverty Clock, Nigeria overtook India as the world headquarters for extreme poverty on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, when her population of extremely poor people ‘INCREASED’ to an unprecedented 87 million people.”
The vice-president’s other claims of Nigeria being relatively safe and security not being as bad as painted by social media were also immediately rebuffed by several other commentators including Afenifere.
It was certain that the United States based Nigerian woman who was kidnapped in the Southwest while visiting and raped alongside her husband by some Fulani was not in Osibanjo’s audience. It is a wonder what level of guarantee he would ever give to that woman who alongside her children have vowed never to ever visit Nigeria again.
It was certainly a bad time for Osibanjo for in the same period, the mother of Leah Sharibu was also in Washington. The traumatized woman was in America to personally bring her case to American officials in the face of the gross failure of the government that Osibanjo ranks as number two to free her daughter despite the acclaimed defeat, degradation and technical defeat of Boko Haram. It is even repeatedly claimed that the group occupies no inch of Nigerian land!
With major stakeholders inferring lies in the utterances of our respected vice-president, it is certainly time for the erudite professor and pastor to review his situation.
A character of the flesh life that the first-century Christian apostle, Paul, told Christians in Galatia to renounce is the divisive spirit. Osibanjo’s assertions against the Jonathan administration even among his congregation is now viewed like pot calling kettle black.
After moving nowhere in addressing fundamental issues such as fuel subsidy, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway menace, among many others, silence would have been a better virtue for our illustrious vice president.
It is even worse that fundamental issues that underpinned the Nigeria-United States Bi-national Commission that was supposedly the cover for the Washington visit have now been swept under the carpet. Among those fundamental issues were public declaration of assets by political office holders, electoral reforms and such. These are issues that the administration has paid lip service to!