Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, said Nigeria was at a critical stage in history, which required continuity in government to complete ongoing infrastructure projects being executed by the President Buhari administration.
At the same time, the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai described Osinbajo as a detribalised Nigerian and close confidant of the President.
This is as the Borno State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has formally endorsed Osinbajo as the presidential aspirant, saying it would repay him for his good deeds with its votes at the party’s forthcoming primary election.
Osinbajo, according to a statement issued Monday by his Media Assistant, Laolu Akande, made the disclosure while addressing delegates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kebbi and Kaduna States ahead of the presidential primaries of the party billed for this weekend in Abuja.
Meetings with delegates in the two states, Osinbajo noted that Nigeria was at a crucial stage in her history, where continuity in government was needful to ensure the completion of many ongoing development projects started by the Buhari administration, and also further progress for the country.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Emir of Gwandu and Chairman, Kebbi State Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Muhammadu Iliyasu Bashar, Osinbajo said, “I’ve served as vice-president for the past seven years under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. During that seven-year period, I have had the unique opportunity to work with an open and transparent president.
“My experience is crucial, especially, in governing a country of our size. This is why I decided to put myself forward to serve as president. There are other people vying for that position (of the president); several competent Nigerians and competent members of our party, the APC. We all know that all power belongs to the Almighty God. He is the one, who determines, who rules; we can only hope and pray and put ourselves forward.
“I believe strongly that the stage that our country is at, is one that requires continuity of the sort that will enable us achieve great results.”
While thanking the Emir for his kindness, generosity, and counsel, the vice-president said, “the result of your counsel has given us the successes that our government has had over the years.”
He noted several ongoing infrastructure projects, such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline, the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway, Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri rail project, among many others, adding that, “it makes perfect sense if I am given the opportunity of concluding those projects and doing so many other things. I will do so.”
At his meetings with delegates in Kebbi, Osinbajo restated that, “It is God who gives power, only God can put a man or woman in position, and if God puts you in a position, nobody can change it.”
According to him, “I offered myself as presidential aspirant of our party, because I know that by the grace of God, if God helps me to be elected, we will change our country for the common man, for the politician, for the rich, poor, young, women, children, and the old. Let us work together, your votes will determine the future of our country.
“This is a complex country, but it is a country that must remain united, that must remain secure, and we must improve the economy for the benefit of millions of young people and all Nigerians.”
While stating that there was room for improvement in the areas of security, economy, and technology, he noted that, “The right infrastructure for technology is broadband connectivity, and we are putting that together; we intend to have that broadband connectivity for all in coming years, so that we can expand opportunity for business, especially, for young people.”
Commenting on country’s security architecture, the vice-president noted that, “at the end of the day, we will be able to tackle our present challenges, but we must be prepared to deal with future security challenges also.”
On the Social Investment Programmes, the vice-president said, “We are going to expand the social investment programmes to become a full-scale social welfare programme. We must also ensure that our young people are employed, engaged and we must have a plan for them.”
Osinbajo was, however, commended for his efforts in improving governance and dedication to the progress of the country, while stakeholders also canvassed for continuity in government.
El-Rufai, and Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Samaila Yombe, spoke glowingly about the VP’s qualities, with a call for continuity.
According to the Kaduna governor, Osinbajo was the number one confidante of the President (Muhammadu Buhari), and “has the respect of all the governors of Nigeria, across party lines, because of the way and manner he steers the affairs of the National Economic Council.”
While noting that the vice-president had visited the state on several occasions, El-Rufai said Osinbajo “is not just here, because he is running for president, he is here because he has close affinity to the government and people of Kaduna State. I want those that don’t know, our party leaders and delegates, to know that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has always shown uncommon love for the people of Kaduna State.”
Still Osinbajo’s leadership qualities, El-Rufai said, “I have worked very closely with the vice-president in the last seven years. Before then, we worked as senior officials of the party to craft the party’s strategy, as well as manifesto. We jointly wrote the manifesto of the party together as members of the strategy committee of the party. He is a man of intellect, brilliance; a unifier, a detribalised Nigerian, who has shown us leadership as Chairman of the National Economic Council.
“It was under Vice President Osinbajo’s leadership that our Paris Cub refund, that was deducted in 2005, was finally paid to all the states, and we are all beneficiaries. It was under his leadership that recommendations were made to bail out 27 states, that, in 2015 were unable to pay salaries. I can go on and on to list the qualifications and virtues of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.”
He, therefore, urged the delegates to “vote for the best person that will take Nigeria to that promise land,” adding: “In Kaduna State, we are people of honour. So, please remember that the future of Nigeria is at stake.
“Nigeria is at a critical crossroads and the choices we make in 2023 will, to large extent, determine whether this country progresses rapidly to achieve its manifest destiny or not. We must put all our sentiments and personal interests aside, and vote for the best person that will take Nigeria to that promise land.”
Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Samaila Yombe, also stressed the “need for continuity in government,” saying, “President Muhammadu Buhari is our president and will be for 8 years (by May, 2023). He has an able backbone in the person of the vice-president.
“We will now stand on both feet to make sure of that continuity, and the pledge that all of us have given here is an assurance, Mr. Vice President, that we will see you there by God’s grace.”
Chairman of APC in the state, Hon Ali Bukar Balori, who earlier joined Governor Babagana Zulum to receive the vice-president at the Government House Maiduguri, gave the assurances, and declared that Osinbajo had no need coming to the state to seek for support because Borno was already in the kitty for him.
“If not for politics, you need not come to Borno to look for votes. We know you very well. You have done a lot for us. Everybody here knows what you have done for us. The delegates know.
“We shall pay you back. One good turn deserves another. Your excellency the delegates of Borno are for you. We are declaring here that you are our candidate,” he promised
Zulum, in his address, described him as a true friend of the state, whose leadership would be beneficial to Nigeria.
Zulum said, “The Vice President is always in contact with me, not for selfish interest but the interest of the people of Borno. He has been good not only to me but to my predecessor.
“Prof Osinbajo, we consider you a friend and part of the family. We wish you all the best as we strongly believe your leadership will be beneficial to Nigeria.”