Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Cross Is A Plus Sign

The Cross Is A Plus Sign

This is a response to the article by Ismaila Farouk with a headline “Osinbajo is no saint, Consolidating for 2019”.

It would have helped if I could speak to your credibility… I’ll concern myself with the story.

You started with an allegation that claims “abuse of office, negating the principles of Federal Character and has systematically favo[u]red members of the Redeemed Church and his Yoruba tribe.” 

The “federal character” principle, which has been enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution since 1979, seeks to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity of the country. Unfortunately, this is an anomaly as it leaves out credentials and competence. It has driven us to the back room of development and it is just and fair to now consider federal character vis-a-vis credentials, competence, commitment and confidence.

Through your story you painted the name Enelemah, Okoh, Ovbiosu even Zeitlin. No matter how you tweak those names they do not fit into the Yoruba mould.

In Nigeria, I have come to see that once anyone carries a placard, others regardless of how they know the person may support before questioning motive. Pastor-Professor Osinbajo got there by dint of hard work supported by referral. He had not met Asiwaju Bola Tinubu when he was referred to him as a honest and diligent attorney who can serve. When it was time for the party to appoint a running mate, Asiwaju Tinubu who had a huge stake in the process, chose to support integrity/righteousness above religion.

Perhaps you may not know that this was not magical. He had proven himself despite all odds while in the service of Lagos State. During this time, as I became aware, he was offered a Federal role but in full loyalty to his Principal, he declined saying he could not take on another role while he was yet to complete what he signed up for in Lagos. He was fully committed to diligence. Seesth a man diligent in his ways! 

When I saw your story, like one before it where the unnamed writer tried to multiple the effect of his meaningless message by posting it into windows that seems to prove that this has been on since last year (an ill advised action as he made reference to something that happened last week), I merely ignored. People are bound to talk because anyone appointed would belong to somewhere – church, coven, clan, class or community! But on second thought, I decided to respond so silence is not seen as admission of guilt.

Did you go through the recent appointments for the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council? Names include Dangote, is he Yoruba or RCCG member? Abubakar is she Yoruba or RCCG member? Atedo, Rabiu, Chukwuma, Savara, Osakwe all listed by measure of their positioning as astute business persons.

A brilliant mind is drawn to brilliance and so goes for an excellent mind. Positions requiring trust must go to those who are qualified and have experience under their belt. They must also be reliable and worthy of being trusted. See what GEJ did to us because of Federal Character! He was a clueless deputy governor; we pushed him on to become an inept Vice President…

I was one of those who vehemently spoke against many who carried placards when it appeared like the President was appointing Muslims from the north, I kept asking, are they qualified? If we trust Buhari and Osinbajo to lead, we must trust them to put into positions of authority people who can truly serve and have the added advantage of loyalty. 

At the end of the day, we are all either good people positioned to move Nigeria forward or bad people located to ruin our oneness. Recently appointed to a strategic post in Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is a “young” female from the North. We label her young here but at 41 she is older than Emmanuel Macron the President of France! I as Yoruba was not disposed to the appointment of Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, I queried her pedigree for such a delicate post. But how well has she performed? Who knew Ambode? Who knew Fashola? As we broke the country into North and South, many Yorubas have been sidetracked and often placated with roles of deputy this and assistant that… We must begin to remove lines from our agidi as lines are not embossed in any, the leaves will fall off and hopefully so would the scales on our eyes.

As I read from a post online, “His foremost staff DCOS is a Moslem, he did not nominate Enelamah, President did and he was only informed. VP brought Akabueze a SE into government as Budget DG. His first major appointment outside Presidency went to Chiedu Ugbo from Delta State as MD of NDPHC. Foremost presidential adviser in His office is from Kano, Mrs Maryam Uwais. His political team in Presidency though led by Senator Ojudu is largely dominated by Northern appointees.”

His most trusted driver before he became VP was Muslim. Even I wondered why a Pastor would elect to be driven by a Muslim but he never compelled him to change his religion and held him in so much high esteem, that when close friends would visit he would second him to drive them. If you are privileged to visit his official residence in Ikoyi, you would hear more Hausa language being spoken.

The genesis of his getting to that role was a need for someone from SW who is competent and not a Muslim. In federalism is embedded the ideology of quota system, which has done much damage but a number of good as well. Many of our brothers in the North may not have made it to Federal Government Colleges but those who did were able to pull through and measure up which trickled down in the area of development. But truth be told, that denied many more competent people from the SW and SS from this opportunity but thankfully they had a plethora of options.

In the USA, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are from New York yet that did not become an issue in their debate. How well did being from the south serve GEJ’s community? Quality of the person matters more than the sum total of where they are from. At the end of the day, anyone elected must be able to serve fairly and truly.

I’m glad you called these appointments. Appointments are selective acts of assigning someone. We would lie if we say a measure of self is not in appointments but is this in the best interest of the nation? Are these people qualified and capable? Can they be trusted? Did he deny other more qualified referrals to position these people? A critical analysis is required before we can start the blame game. 

For years we had Muslims as governors in Lagos State, we had Northerners as Head of State… ta lo gbe imu? Instead of carrying sticks and stones, Christians and Traditionalists supported. Whoever is chosen will belong somewhere.

Many who were left in positions of authority because they appear capable have continued to create problems leading many to query the President on account of whether they can be trusted. Other Presidents and Governors clean out the government as soon as they get in, not largely from highhandedness but in a bid to get trusted allies who can be queried and fired; Ambode did.

If he has kept any regressive, unqualified or unreliable person at will, please point that out in the best interest of the nation. But if equity and fair play is the dice being thrown out, let’s quit creating a mountain where there is none. 

But if you choose to keep on carrying spear, note that Yorubas have canons! The AgP has heard you and will continue to ensure that positioning is based on capability, competence and credentials. To remind you, the DG for his campaign team in Lagos was not and still is not from RCCG. One huge defense the AgP has is the credentials and competencies of those getting the job as it relates to their appointment. People will continue to look for excuses especially as the AgP only referred those appointed based on their competences. If there is proof that he is unduly influencing appointments, bring that forward. 

Someone wrote in response to your brother’s post titled “The Osibajo Connection”:

“Only a hate filled bozo can come up with such connection. very soon someone wld accuse Osibajo of not fixing Ekiti road.”

I responded on Twitter in like manner:

"You could not even get your Acting President's name right?! If you wish to be relevant as a news medium, quit digging up irrelevant issues! Anyone appointed will belong to a faith or ethnic group. The question is are they competent? Are they experienced? Can they be trusted? To be relevent as news source it is better you pitch tent as real research or investigation based news or join the likes of naij to do junk. By the way, that "gist" (it fails to measure as an article or news) has no byline + your attempt to backdate it is so obvious and not cool!"

You called him self-professed Pastor that would be Pastor Adeboye’s forte to declare whether he was ordained or not. I’m glad you did not use any appendage alongside his qualification as Professor of Law and Learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

You have called him names but that does not change his person and personality built over 60 years. When Judge Bolasodun Adesumbo Ajibola KBE was heading to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, guess who he chose; Prof. Osinbajo not because he is Yoruba but because he was qualified. Osinbajo was one of the lecturers who questioned and queried a number of Prince Ajibola’s policies but in serving in global front, Ajibola did not want a yes person so went for someone who would make his role better.

I have friends across the globe including a Caucasian who calls me sister! Before friends and family members ask “How” she says, no questions asked. When you begin to mention Atiku and others as your reference point I may want to ask if they were visible enough as to be relevaant during their tenure and how those they positioned helped to move Nigeria forward. IBB boasts of a helipad and all in Minna, yet that town has more Almajiris I have come to see anywhere in Nigeria. While in Minna, I was privileged to counsel some of them in the Remand Home via my NYSC project, which won a Merit Award.

We have come to a point in our democratic progression where we must put in place qualified, committed and trust worthy people who will work not for themselves but in the best interest of the nation. Only then, can all ethnic groups and religious leanings truly move forward to experience real change. 

[]For all the times the Ag.P goes to Lagos, while he may use it as opportunity to worship, his primary aim has been largely official. Feel free to request his past itinerary from any of his aides and you may be shocked as they reel out his schedule. You can also gather his itinerary via his Twitter page. 

This man who has proved his mettle beyond the shores of Nigeria has found himself leading when all he signed up for was a support role as Vice President. Yet, you have chosen to disparage him and engage in mudslinging on behalf of the cabals to create distraction with lengthy monologues. Is fighting dirty your idea of “consolidation for 2019”?

I would ask you to consider doing another story or article that is based on tenable empirical data to prove otherwise and show that comparatively there is grounds for such accusations of nepotism or corruption. Indeed, it will be a red flag if those appointed are ALL from RCCG and neither qualified nor competent to deliver. Or if people that are more qualified and capable are passed over just to favour a select few. 

[]There are Americans, Asians etc. who may be in a better position to move us faster out of the quagmire GEJ and his cronies put us in but Prof. Osinbajo has continued to favour Nigerians and insist on local content and Ease of Doing Business.

You must understand that nepotism in any form will not help Prof. Osinbajo's divine role. Those so far appointed have proved themselves in the public or corporate world and excelled. Of course people of other denomination, faith, religion and ethnic groups have been appointed. Has he been equitable? You answer. Has he been just? Has he been fair? Can we continue to trust him to deliver excellent service?

At the end of the day, being a member of the Jesus family who carry their cross in humility, bearing the shame of the cross yet looking forward to glory by grace is indeed a plus sign for service to humanity.

Dr. Omolola Omoteso is a Public Affairs Analyst

No comments: