The presidential bid of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, received further boost on Monday, in Yobe and Borno States where the VP received strong expressions of support from the Governors of Borno, Yobe States, as well as the traditional rulers.
On Arrival in Yobe and Borno States Monday, Prof. Osinbajo was warmly received by Governors Mai Mala Buni and Babagana Zulum respectively, alongside other state government officials.
The Vice President stopped at intervals to acknowledge the loud cheers from the crowd, and also received warm welcome at the palaces – first in Yobe, the Emir of Damaturu, HRH Hashimi El-Kanemi; and later in Borno, the Shehu of Borno, HRH Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin El-Kanemi.
In Yobe and Borno, the excitement and the welcome were rousing from residents, men and women, young and old, with many lining the streets, all the way from the airports to the palaces of the traditional rulers – the Emir of Damaturu and Shehu of Borno.
In Yobe State, for instance, the Emir of Damaturu, prayed for the VP’s success.
“Your Excellency, we will, by the Grace of God, join you; support you in prayers and in all aspects to see that you excel; and at the end of the day, we pray that God will make you the President of this great country, Nigeria. By the time you will return back, we will receive you with the Grand Durbar of the El-Kanemi,” the Emir stated when the Vice President paid a courtesy call at his palace.
The Emir further stated that the Vice President also distinguished himself when he was acting president.
“Insha Allah, we are expecting that, if God, in his infinite mercy, make it possible, and we are praying for that, we will see continuity in this great country. I wish you very well in life; I wish you good health; courage, wisdom and determination to propel this country to a level that it will be among leading nations globally,” he said.
Similarly, the Shehu of Borno, who received Prof. Osinbajo later in the day also on a courtesy call at his palace, also prayed for the VP’s success throughout his tour of states and meetings with delegates for votes in the forthcoming APC primaries.
The Shehu assured the VP that “there is nothing we cannot do for you to succeed in Borno State. And we thank you continuously and pray, not only for your support, but for your success. I wish you all the best, God’s guidance and protection.”
During the Vice President’s meeting with Borno delegates, the State Governor Babagana 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.”
He said the State’s party chairman, Hon. Ali Bukar Balori, was right when he described the VP as the party’s candidate, noting that others who came to the State were just aspirants.
According to Balori, the Vice President did not need to come to Borno State to seek for votes, because “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.”
Also, the Vice President, during his courtesy calls to the Emir of Damaturu and Shehu of Borno, restated his commitment to serve the country as his motivation to run for president, and also emphasized the need for unity.
Again, highlighting his experience as Vice President under President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Osinbajo said he has learnt a lot about governing a diverse and complex country like Nigeria.
At the Emir of Damaturu’s Palace, the VP said, “this is a country that has several ethnic groups and different faiths; but it is a country that must stay united. It is a country for which unity is the basis of our collective success, prosperity.”
According to the VP, it is by being united that Nigeria’s potential would be realised.
“I think that one of the things I have learnt as Vice President is that our greatness lies in our working together; in the coming together of the faiths and various ethnic groups in the country. That is where our greatness lies.
“So, I am, by the Grace of God, prepared for service, and the only reason why I offered myself is because I truly want to serve this country. And I will ensure that I work with others who have the same objectives to ensure that this country is truly great.”
Prof. Osinbajo reiterated his call for continuity in government, noting that despite the challenges in security and the economy, they are surmountable.
“These are challenges that we are working on day and night to surmount. It is better if there is some continuity in order to be able to effectively surmount these challenges,” he stated.
Similarly, while responding to some of the requests presented by the Shehu of Borno at his Palace, Prof. Osinbajo said “I have listened very carefully, Your Royal Highness, to all of the points that you have made, in particular, the point you have made about the national grid.
“One of the very important suggestions that we are looking at is that we need alternative grid. The current national grid is possibly too small and can only take about 5,000MW of power.
“So, the creation of alternative grids, especially through public-private investment will help us a great deal. I don’t think that the country should just have one grid, the national grid. We should have a decentralized system which allows more transmission of power and can reach the farthest parts of the country.”
Reiterating why he is running for the position of the President of the country, Prof. Osinbajo said, ” I do so, especially realising that I am possibly, one who have had very special privilege and special advantage of having served as Vice President of Nigeria for the past seven years; and in that capacity, I have served under President Muhammadu Buhari, who was very open and always transparent, and he has involved me in every aspect of governance.
“And I think that after this 7 years period of tutelage of learning under such a great, perceptive leader, it is clear to me that all of that and part of that seven years I have acted as President is preparation.
“It’s clear to me that all of the privilege and knowledge must not be wasted, especially when our country require leadership after President Buhari and my time (as VP) expires at the end of May next year.”
During the questions-and-answers session with the APC party delegates, Prof Osinbajo noted that the hallmark of every leader “is to, at least, offer ourselves for the services of our country.”
“My concern has always been that of the common man of this country. That is why we started the Social Investment Programmes, which has helped many Nigerians. We will also create an environment where industry, agriculture and in some other sectors that will improve the lives of our people,” he added.
The Vice President continues his consultations later today in other States.
His visits are in continuation of his consultations with APC stakeholders and delegates across the country ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primaries.
*Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity,*
*Office of the Vice President.*