Professor Yemi Osinbajo
—As stakeholders harp on entrepreneurial, professional value in politics
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
AHEAD of the 2023 presidential elections, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerian professionals to do away with ethnicity, religion and ‘parochial considerations’, in making crucial decisions for the development of the country.
The Vice President spoke yesterday at the All Progressives Congress, APC, Professional Forum held at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The forum which was hosted by Professor Osinbajo was organized for APC members to brainstorm on sundry national issues.
The forum with the theme: “The role of professionals in politics and nation-building” was also joined by the former governorship candidate of the APC in the September 19, 2020, election in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Presidential hopeful, Chief Moses Chiahemba Ayom among other stakeholders under the platform of the party for the forthcoming 2023 elections.
Also, present at the Banquet Hall events were immediate past governor of Nasarawa state and current Senator, Tanko Al-Makura, Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Representatives, Hon Nkiruka Onyejeocha.
The Vice President, who has been asked to contest the 2023 Presidential election by his loyalists stressed the need for Nigerian professionals to embrace politics that is driven by merit rather than throw up base considerations especially as the silhouette for the 2023 election draws nearer.
He said, “The usefulness of professionals in politics is that you have people who are used to being assessed on the basis of their own achievements, who are unafraid to make competence the first advertorial of their acumen. In other words, professionals emphasize the role of merit in public life.
“So, one of the major advantages to our communities of having professionals in politics is lost if we do not recognize our role as merit driven persons must be to fight the temptation of ethnic, religious and other parochial considerations in making crucial decisions for the development of our nation.
“There is no point having professionals in politics if these professionals are driven by ethnic, religious and other parochial considerations because the whole point of professionalism is that you are defined by merit, you are defined by your professional acumen.
“Nobody would place their lives in the hands of an incompetent doctor because they share the same faith or continue to patronize a dangerously inept mechanic because they belong to the same tribe. If someone told me, for example, that the pilot who is to fly the plane that I’m to go in is not a very good pilot, but he’s from Ikenne, my hometown, I certainly won’t go in that plane.
“So, in the same way, we must especially refuse to be swayed by those whose sole argument for power is an appeal to sectional sentiments. We must resist it. And we must say no to it, because otherwise, we fail in our professional calling.”
Continuing, Prof Osinbajo noted that “True progress is about reimagining our collective circumstances and creating an environment that enables prosperity for us all. This is a challenge for us as professionals. To this end, we must see ourselves as stewards of the common good, who have been entrusted with the privilege of managing the collective destiny of our people for an allotted time. And we must do so with a conscience and to the best of our abilities.
Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, reiterated the need for the professionals to begin to brainstorm on how to leverage on the solid foundation already laid by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Corroborating in his goodwill message, Chief Ayom observed that Nigeria under the APC country was gradually moving from the previous state of professionals scavenging the streets for paid white-collar jobs to a more desirable situation of breeding entrepreneurial professionals who are creating wealth, adding value and growing the economy.
He said, “A lot of these successes can be traced to Nigeria’s vast improvement in the Ease of Doing Business index. This policy championed by our President has seen young people break previous barriers especially in fields like ICT, Engineering and the creative industry.
“It is on record that policies like the social intervention programmes, access to microcredits, the agricultural boom and the fight against corruption have seen an escalation in the participation of young people in the economic sector.”
In his goodwill message, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said the party should not create a dichotomy between professional and non-professionals, adding that a situation where party loyalty is not rewarded on the basis that one does not have a professional background was unfair.
He said there was a need for all to work together and everybody carried along.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Senator Almakura and Hon Onyejeocha, in their separate contributions, said that hitherto, politics was the pastime of job seekers, office-seekers, and applicants. However, he noted that the narratives have begun to change. “And the focus and the mindset of politicians will be changed once and for all,” he added.
Continuing, Almakura said “We need only professionals to partake in politics. By so doing, you’ve added value to the system. By so doing, you will bring you a wealth of experience, a pedigree in your area of endeavour, which will navigate the party to the best position that we have always prayed for.
Onyejeocha wondered why professionals would be cowed by those she described as Chattered politicians.
“Why should we have professionals being cowed, caged by people who are not educated?
“As APC professionals, we need to start walking the talk, we need to say who we are, we need to practice who we are, we need to take the bulls by the horns.”
Earlier, former Governor of Bauchi state and convener of the forum, Isa Yuguda noted that the success of any political party in government is majorly dependent on the delivery of democratic dividends and good governance to the people, adding that “if it fails in this it has lost its reason for co-existence.
It is instructive to mention, however, that the delivery of these dividends is largely dependent on the capacity and competence of persons at the strategic, operational and technical levels of government.
“Only quality and visionary leadership can harness mobilized and deployed valuable human and material resources appropriately and accurately for the advancement of the country. It is imperative to state at this juncture that only trained professionals in various fields of endeavour possess the administrative and technical proficiencies to strategically drive developmental initiatives of any government globally.”
He said the APC professional Forum was a registered support group with the All Progressive Congress and the umbrella body for all professionals, technocrats, intellectuals and skilled persons who are registered members of the party.
“It is a neutral body that seeks to give consultative and supportive functions to the political party in the first instance, and to the government with regards to the delivery of democratic dividends and good governance to Nigerian people,” he added.