By Fejiro Johnson

When Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited Delta State recently (on Thursday, April 28, to be precise), people came out in droves to welcome him warmly. The women at the venue of the delegates meeting sang songs in praise of Osinbajo. But I found one with striking message.

In Pidgin English, they sang: “Follow who know road (Follow the person that knows the right way to go).”

Simply put, Prof Yemi Osinbajo is the most regarded and favoured among the presidential aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

As at Wednesday night (May 24), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had visited 33 States and the FCT in continuation of his consultations with APC stakeholders and delegates across the country ahead of the 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” (Welcome) 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 welcomed 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 undoubtedly a unanimity in the voices of delegates and people on the streets — in fact, among Nigerians nationwide and in the Diaspora — that VP Osinbajo is the best candidate and the right man to lead Nigeria come May 29, 2023.

By Thursday, with Lagos and Benue states next, the VP would have completed his nationwide tour of 36 states and the FCT, seeking 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, with dancing, singing and banners dancing in the skies – from folks, supporters, cultural dancers, residents and very enthusiastic party delegates in support of his candidacy.

Even during his interactions with delegates in 33 states he has visited so far, you could see and feel the excitement in the air as the VP responded brilliantly and honestly to their questions or took individual photographs with them. In all, I dare say there can’t be less than 7,000 such VP’s photographs with delegates and stakeholders spread across every corner of Nigeria today.

Brilliant as ever, the VP laced his interactions with wise words and explanations that left the delegates clapping enthusiastically, 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 do 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.”

Doubtless, the stakeholders and delegates agree.             

“We have other aspirants like the chairman said, but we know that we can separate the chaff from the grains. You will be the best president Nigeria will have. You know the workings of the government, you know where the roof is leaking, you know what needs to be done to put Nigeria on the right path,” said the Deputy Governor of Plateau, Prof. Sonny Tyoden.

In South-South State, the refrain was the same. “There is no gainsaying that they are all 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,” said Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, to Osinbajo when he visited Edo.

Similarly, the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, noted that the VP did not need come to seek the votes of the delegates in the State because Borno is 100% 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 does seem. In Plateau, for instance, the applause for Osinbajo was deafening as the Deputy Governor came up to introduce the VP in his remarks.

“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 massively 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 a rival presidential aspirant. This has gone a great length in convincing folks that Osinbajo is tolerant and an apostle of politics without bitterness.

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 already said, 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, so goes a popular saying. The voice of the people is surely 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 party 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 is a public affairs analyst and commentator and writes from Abuja


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