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Demonising Osinbajo is a joke carried too far

Published by The Nation on Thu, 14 Feb 2019


In this piece, Coalition of Democrats (CODER) Convener Ayo Opadokun reviews the consequences of not according Vice President Yemi Osinbajo his deserved respect. Since I resigned from Afenifere in 2001, I have refrained from commenting on anything related with Afenifere. The story of the circumstances that led to my decision will be part of my upcoming books. I hate to pick bones with otherwise respected elders and leaders in their own rights.Yoruba culture, custom and tradition provide and allow for plurality of views and opinions but the majority of Yoruba people will always insist that the best, most logical view should prevail. Even, in the golden days of our political progenitor, averter, philosopher and statesman there were the Chief Akinloyes, Chief Akinjides, Chief Tos Bensons, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanyas, Chief H.O Davies, Chief Remi Fani Kayodes etc. who were not in the Action Group or Unity Party of Nigeria who were always propagating their different and contrary views. They were not called enemies of the Yoruba people.In the re-established Afenifere which I served as its General Secretary and Spokesman for 15 years, Afenifere recognized itself as a political platform, the Yoruba name for ACTION GROUP, a name that was suggested by Chief Meredith Augustus Adisa Akinloye just after the formal launching of the Action Group at Owo in 1951, We were always guided to appreciate that we could not pretend to be speaking for the entire Yoruba people unless we secured their mandate. That was why we established the Yoruba Leaders Forum which made a lot of successes. Including the establishment of Odua Development Council in July 2000 at the Ikeja Airport Hotel, Lagos.I dont want to be involved in the avoidable controversy as to which is the authentic Afenifere. The very idea that some otherwise respected Yoruba people have to be claiming that theirs is the authentic Afenifere is regretable. It shows the level of damage already done to Yoruba image and reputation.Once upon a time, Afeniferes view was the barometer used to access the correctness or otherwise of central government policies and actions. Thanks to those who begged Senator Adesanya and I for long before they were allowed to send 5 representatives each to Afenifere meetings but collaborated to hijack and destroy the once most respected, resilient and popular platform for their private predilections. Now, the veil has been lifted and their mercenary conduct are being exposed.There are fundamental matters to discuss:When and where was the Representative Assembly of the diversed platforms in Yoruba land where a decision was taken to condemn the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and to pronounce him as the enemy of the Yoruba people' Those who made such malicious declaration must be speaking for themselves as individuals and they are out of sinc with popular opinions of Yoruba people of OsinbajoLike they wrongly asked Yoruba people to vote for Jonathan in 2015, because according to them, Jonathan was the only one who could implement the outcome of Jonathans conference. The main demands of the Yoruba Nation for (1) Regional Government, (2) Fiscal Federalism, (3) State Police, (4) Parliamentary System of Government were all rejected. Yet, Jonathan had six months after the conference to initiate and implement some of their conclusions that needed no legislative decision, but failed to act on anything.Can it be true that Osinbajo is opposed to restructuring' His pedigree prove such accusation as false, baseless and unfounded.As A.G. & HCJ of Lagos State, he was the Legal Adviser that won for Lagos Four different cases like the AERON Independent Power Project crisis opposed by the Obasanjos government, Local Government Creation and the Seizure of the Lagos State LGA Allocations by Gen Obasanjos government.LASG challenged the Central Government on the Land Use Decree as it affect lands acquired for overriding Public Interest but which the Central Government did not need any longer. The Court of Appeal has in 2016/2017 ruled in favour of the LASG.LASG Fought for the control of Lagos Port but eventually was granted right to some charges from the Port Users. LASG now constitutionally is in control of Inland Waterways as decided by the superior Court.Furthermore, LASG justifiably fought to secure greater resources to the Lagos State Government through consumption taxes called Value Added Tax, VAT that ought to be collected by States, and the Supreme Court decided to meet the two parties midway. Which one among the current promoters of National Restructuring has added just one thing new to what the revered philosopher and guardian of Yoruba progressive tendency, Chief Awolowo has enunciated. No new one.The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN deserve a minimum quotent of respect from all Nigerians including his biological parents. As parents, they deserve the right to cane him for wrong behavior in their family closet if that was still allowed. But as the No. 2 citizen of Nigeria with his level of Humility, civility, morality, spirituality, productivity and Gods grace, no group should arrogate to itself the undeserved proclivity to insult and denigrate his person and the office he currently holds.Therefore, for individuals to misuse an otherwise respected platform to pass mischievous and inappropriate verdict on a very distinguished, dedicated patriot and Statesman, like Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is a misadventure against the wishes and opinions of the majority of Yoruba people who had openly spoken against the unwarranted pronouncement of the claimed Authentic Afenifere.Come to think of it, why should a group in their desperation decide to utilize Afenifere for their Partisan Political purposes' The same set of people did the same thing in 2015 and they were castigated for attempting to sell Yoruba cheaply. They failed woefully to retain President Jonathan in office. This repetition is regrettable and it indicates they have learnt nothing.The Yoruba Nation and its citizens deserve to be accorded same modicum of respect that even the non-so formerly educated ones among them have minimum understanding of how far they were neglected before President Buhari came into office as compared to Now. They also hope for an unprecedented possibility that awaits them in a neo liberal Colonialist State, where everyone is for himself and God for us all setting in Nigeria. The Yoruba people should therefore be left alone to elect their own favorites uncoerced and unmolested by any individual or groups of individuals to satisfy their partisan interests and prejudices.After the 2019 elections, men and women of goodwill would have to start to undertake the onerous task of re-building bridges, re-focusing the pre-occupation of the Yoruba Nation towards the productive path of generating national consensus for restoration of Federal Constitutional Governance upon which Nigeria secured its negotiated Independence in 1960.
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