Taking Rudolf Okonkwo’s column in in an online publication (not this platform) of Monday 30th 2021 into full perspective, one is left is to wonder how the writer was so fixated on demonizing Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his article that mortgaged reason in challenging the optimism of a leader over the future of Nigeria.
His piece titled “Top 10 Dangers Of Osinbajo’s Unbridled Optimism” is the latest of Rudolf’s mission of malice and attack against the person of Osinbajo and his gospel of optimism being constantly preached to Nigerians in the face of the country’s several security challenges and other social- economic troubles.
In singling out an individual from a constituted government for the undoing of a team of players, even for praises, it should be noted that governmental affair is a collective responsibility. More so, there are three tiers of government in any democracy, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. And in the executive arm where Osinbajo belongs, he is No 2, still answerable to the President in decision making. So, whether himself or others in the presidential team, running affairs of government is a collective responsibility, whatever one does is for the overall interest of all.
But, in his latest writeup, it appears the self-acclaimed satirist closed his eyes to seeing the Vice President as one of others, he rather, took up so much space to belabour his viewpoint postulating that Osinbajo, ever since he became Buhari’s deputy had formed the habit of blowing an unrealistic trumpet of optimism as the writer described Nigeria as a nation “dances to precipice.”
Reading through the introductory part of Okonkwo’s piece was like an evidence of potpourri of vituperation, frustration and exaggeration. He had successfully ‘Talibanised’ and ‘Syrianised’ Nigerian security challenge with his sumptuous hyperbole, while also putting Osinbajo on a crosshairs of prejudice and character assassination.
Hear him: “If there is one thing Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is a master at, it is projecting an optimistic outlook even as Nigeria dances at the precipice. Dead bodies could be pilling up and the doors of national morgues filled to capacity, Osinbajo would be spewing songs of lazy butterflies loitering around at Paradise’s rose garden.
“For as long as anyone can remember, every headline with Osinbajo’s name on it portrays Nigeria as a resurgent country about to break its chains of underdevelopment and underperformance. Sometimes, he throws in a fervent religious fatalism mixed with unchecked optimism that leaves any deep observer scratching their heads.”
The epithets he deployed to describe Osinbajo solely because of his optimism in the future and viability of Nigeria are not only out of place but demeaning. He didn’t bother to reason that many Nigerians hold the former Attorney General of Lagos State in high esteem, including some, especially the mass of the Nigerian youth, who believe he represents the hope of the country’s future.
To someone like us and many others who are enamored of the Vice President and his exemplary leadership would rise up to rebuke vehemently any falsehood, misrepresentation and venom spewed at him at the alter of puerile politics.
Osinbajo deserves more than being pelted with diatribes for preaching good faith, hope and optimism for the country. More so, isn’t constant pessimism in itself another level of mental illness? Or has Osinbajo’s optimism put anyone’s mental health in bad shape? The answer will be an outright no.
To be fair to the writer, I used to be a lover of his Satirical Show on another online platform (apart from where he published his article in view), when I would be neck deep watching his laughable trademark political analysis. His craft for writing is superb but it’s unfortunate that being a brilliant writer doesn’t make you a brilliant truth teller. It is generally said that it’s very difficult to be honest 100% all the time. Every day, we are presented with situations where we have the choice to either tell the truth or otherwise, but consistently telling the truth is not an easy path to take not when when there are still IPOB sympathizers around.
In his desperation to malign the Vice President, he did not attempt to conceal his bias and sentiments, he loaded the gun in full public glare by making reference to one of Peter Obi’s quotes to make his argument in a subtle attempt to do a PR for the former Anambra State governor. When did Peter Obi, a politician, former PDP Vice Presidential candidate and fellow Igbo brother become a subject of rationality to justify his virulent attack on Osinbajo?
He said: “Typically, Osinbajo’s discourse of Nigeria deliberately does one of three things: ignores or minimises, or obfuscates the premise of the argument. And same Peter Obi once upon a time saying, that “when the premise of an argument is wrong, the conclusion is also wrong” has knocked out his argument.
Again, he shot himself in the leg by exposing himself as a member of the opposition when he made a satirical claim that Osinbajo had wished Nigeria be handed over to him, thus, delving into the 2023 debate.
The fear in the camp of the opposition party is the possibility of Osinbajo emerging the APC presidential candidate which they consider a formidable opponent due to his intimidating credentials and goodwill he enjoyed from the Nigerian people. But Dr. Damages should have nothing to fear, the Vice President had dismissed the rumoured presidential ambition on several times even at the heat of several calls by groups (at both within and outside the APC party), and well meaning Nigerians that were mobilising support for him ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
The Vice President, rather, had consistently maintained he was more focused on carrying out the functions expected of him as the Vice President, especially in tackling the nation’s security challenges and improving the economy.
Not done, here are the highlights of the rumble of the article, “In the last six years, he has been part of a government that has dug deeper, the grave of the country by ‘putting a knife in the little things that once held the country together …
“… emitting hopes devoid of honesty is not a brave position to take. It is actually the safest corner of Nigeria’s erratically swinging pendulum to perch.”
It is safe to assume that the article skits around but failed to acknowledge all salient developmental projects under the Buhari-Osinbajo government, instead, harped on the tempestuous and rambunctious side to paint a picture of woes.
The most lamentable part of his cynicism is where he stated that “Osinbajo’s unbridled optimism is based on a false premise that what ails Nigeria is nothing major but a routine disturbance requiring minor adjustment.”
Would he have resorted to feeding fear to the people if he were the Vice President? Or he would re-echo to them the tales of woes? The fact is there would be ups and downs, twists and turns, detours and digressions but a good leader must never be deterred to charge his people on hope, faith and belief in a better tomorrow, while he has not denied the fact. He has repeatedly told the truth to the same power he belongs. Raising optimism among the people is the essence of life worth living. It inspires us to do the impossible and helps us carry on during difficult times.
The truth is, in times of peace or crisis we must not succumb to cynicism and mistrust. Instead we must maintain faith while embracing reason and truth not speculation and rumour.
In the words of Michelle Obama, “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
This is a crucial moment for our nation as the country is facing security challenges among other problems but Nigeria’s colours must burn brightest when we meet challenges head-on.
Popoola is a political analyst, content analyser and news aggregator