I was in Kaduna for Elrufai-2015 when I found out about Professor Yemi Osinbajo being chosen as General Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate after a few other names had been mentioned for consideration, everyone agreed that he was the ideal person for the job. His record was stellar- career, family and integrity wise. I was excited.
I found his lovely wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo was also such a respectable and admirable person, and so the admiration began.
I was pleasantly surprised that we had such great people in Nigeria and on Inauguration day, I was at Eagle Square and screamed really loudly when Professor Osinbajo was taking his oath.
Fast forward about a year, I get a couple of calls and an email inviting me to the Vice President’s residence for a media forum with a small group of people. I must say, it was one of the highlights of my life.
We all had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and ask Mr Vice President questions. Everyone else asked the difficult questions but I wanted to ask this person I had admired for a really long time, something less technical and more personal, true to the amba imprint.
I asked him how he would rate his performance after being in office for one year and what the most challenging aspect of leading was for him.
The request for him to rate himself was not one easily answerable because one can neither praise nor bash oneself without coming up with answers that can easily be misunderstood so he spoke in depth about his biggest challenge.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo explained that there is a massive difference between the private and public sector; they do not work the same way. Notably, he expressed that people are held accountable in the private sector in a stricter way. Also quite challenging is the speed at which things progress when planning and implementing, it takes time. He also mentioned that the system has been damaged due to corruption and that makes the work rather challenging.
Here I will paraphrase him on some of my favorite quotes from the forum:
*I know the president is not someone who cares about getting his own benefits. I am also the same way. The goal is to fix the country and put it back on track. So I look forward to work every morning I wake up, to make Nigeria better
*Integrity is the rule and corruption is the exception, as opposed to the other way round.
*Leadership must exemplify moral values
*President Buhari has held opinions well and taken firm decisions. He listens to opinions and is open to criticisms.
And yes I absolutely told him that I am a big fan of his. We were able to have a brief conversation over dinner with everyone else and I found his words about my work and goals quite encouraging. He is still one of my fave people in Nigerian politics, among others.
Do you share the same sentiments about Nigeria’s Vice-President? Send me an email so we can discuss it – email@example.com or leave a comment.