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Osinbajo: Getting royal endorsements for presidency

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo recently visited Ondo, Ogun, Edo and Delta states in continuation of his nationwide engagement. And he met with traditional rulers, dignitaries, leaders of thought and state delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and received royal blessings over his ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. Muritala Ayinla writes

For Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, his recent trips to some states in the southern part of the country was more than just a visit to states; it was a confirmation of his acceptance, endorsement, and genuine love by Nigerians who have been watching the developments in the country.

The visits also provided an opportunity for Osinbajo to explain why he chose to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in the face of rising presidential aspirants from his own All Progressive Congress (APC) and other political parties. The moment indisputably gave the opportunity for the visiting residents and stakeholders to reflect on the kind and quality of leadership they want by the time this administration winds up. At every meeting held in Edo, Delta, Ondo, and Ogun, the Vice President gave reason for his interest in becoming the next President, saying that he had acquired invaluable experience and training over the past seven years to become President.

Hence, from the ancient town of Asaba in Delta State to Akure, the state capital of Ondo State came a rousing welcome for the nation’s Vice President. The chants of “incoming” from traders, Okada riders, passers-by and visibly excited residents were too loud to be ignored as the convoy drove through the city of the Sunshine State.

The VP also paid courtesy calls to the palaces of the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II; and the Asagba of Asaba, His Royal Majesty, Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien, where he officially informed the monarchs of his desire to run for president.

Oba of Benin’s welcome

The Oba of Benin, who warmly received the VP at his palace, prayed for the success of the VP’s presidency project, extolling his qualities. Giving his royal blessings to the aspiration of the Vice President, the Oba said: “As a man of God, if by the grace of God, you are the man, you have a whole lot on your shoulder to remove all these vices from our society; make Nigeria a better place to live and a tourist destination in all spheres. We have great human and material resources in this country, and we can even see or discover a lot more.

“We want to stay here in Nigeria and enjoy the good things of life in Nigeria, not in Dubai, not in the United States or some other countries.” The Oba added: “No doubt about your credentials; since you have come out to run for this great office, I think you are going to give a lot of problems to all the other contestants.”

“There is no gainsaying that they are all probably shivering where they are because of your credentials, coupled with your calmness, your humility, and great respect for culture and being a true man of God, who has the fear of God in his heart.” Similarly, in Asaba, the Asagba of Asaba, His Royal Majesty, Obi (Prof) Chike Edozien, prayed for the success of Prof. Osinbajo in his desire to become the next President of Nigeria. The revered monarch, in his remarks, stated that other co-contestants on the platform of the ruling party APC and other political parties for the position to become Nigeria’s next President are shivering because of the intimidating dossier of the Vice President.

Carnival in Ogun

His entrance into Ogun State was greeted with carnival, fanfare, and enthusiasm as he paid homage to the traditional rulers and other stakeholders, including the party delegates in the state. From Ilaro to Sagamu, Abeokuta to other very crucial ancient towns in the state, the VP got a firstclass reception from his country’s home. Speaking at the palace of the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, Professor Osinbajo spoke on the motivation to run for the office of the president. Prof. Osinabjo said that he garnered the needed experience in the area of governance.

He said: “As we approach the coming elections, it is also a time for us to reflect on the type of leadership that we want for our country. I have served for the past seven years as the Vice President of Nigeria, and I have also acted during that period when the President was away. I think that I am fortunate, and we are fortunate to have been given tremendous opportunities to serve, even when I acted (as President).

“In that capacity, I am probably the only person trained to be (in that duration), because if you have been a Vice President and also an Acting President, then you have been trained, and I must say, with utmost humility, that that is exactly how I feel.

I feel that with what God has given me within the past seven and a half years,I must be able to give to my country.” The Vice President met with the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, members of the state House of Assembly, State Executive Council members, and the APC leaders in Ondo State, noting that he was privileged to serve in different capacities and undertake major responsibilities as VP and Acting President because of President Buhari’s generosity and openmindedness towards him. Oba Aladelusi Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, who also extolled the qualities of the VP, prayed for his success in attaining his objective, noting that: “Had it been we were in an advanced country, in all of the APC, nobody would run (for president), they would all just support you.”

The monarch added: “We love you and appreciate you, and whatever you do, we support you.” Whatever you do, we wish you good luck. God will continue to strengthen you; you’re going and coming will be by the mercy of God. We appreciate you coming.”

Akeredolu’s endorsement

While welcoming the VP, Governor Akeredolu recalled that the emergence of Prof. Osinbajo in 2014 as the APC Vice Presidential candidate was purely a divine thing, adding that it is God who ultimately decides who gets what position. He disclosed that the VP and he had been friends and colleagues for a long time before politics. The Vice President also paid a visit to one of Afenifere’s respected leaders, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, where he received the blessings of the revered Yoruba leader for his aspiration to become President of Nigeria. He met with traditional rulers, official dignitaries, leaders of thought and state delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In Ogun State, the Vice President started his visit to the state with a stop at the Akarigbo’s place in Sagamu, where Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, Torungbuwa II, welcomed him and Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to a festive reception, with crowds inside and outside of the venue, singing and dancing. At the Akarigbo of Remoland’s palace, the monarch extolled the VP’s quali-ties of integrity, competence, and character, also noting the impact he had on governance as acting president. The monarch said: “We are all living witnesses to when our son was in charge as Acting President. We saw the difference in our country, and that was just within a matter of weeks and months.

What would happen if he became president for four or eight years? This country will undergo tremendous change.” Also acknowledging the divine supremacy in choosing kings and leaders, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi prayed that God would grant the party the strength, wisdom, and courage to do what is right for the country. Turning to the VP, the Akarigbo then said: “By the grace of God, you will get there.” Your light will continue to shine. It’s with such humility that I look at your life and I see the trajectory of what God has done… Mr. Vice President, your journey is still long, but we will uphold you with prayers.

Your days will be long, and you will continue to shine; the good Lord will continue to shine upon you and at the end of the day, we will see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.” Afterwards, the VP’s convoy proceeded to the palace of the Alake and the Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, and the Paramount Ruler of Yewaland and Olu of Ilaro, His Royal Majesty, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, Asade Agunloye IV, where he informed them of his progress in his presidential aspiration bid for 2023.

The VP lauded the President for being open-minded and giving him opportunities in government, adding that his decision to run for president was to give the best of his service and wealth of experience to the nation. “If there was anybody who could hit the ground running, that person is me.

I believe that now, with all that I have learnt and that entire God has given me, I cannot turn down the call to serve the people of this country, to serve our generations and generations to come,” he declared. “God provided those opportunities such that one day, I will be called upon to serve in the highest capacity, to serve as President of our nation. The opportunity to do so is an important one… The truth of the matter is that everywhere I have served, I have served with the utmost loyalty, the utmost commitment, and I have put my reputation on the line, sometimes even my life,” he said.

Alake speaks

On his part, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, while addressing the Vice President, stated that: “The Nigeria of our dreams will come in your time.” Similarly, the Olu of Ilaro, who said he was always delighted to see the Vice President, assured the VP of his support and that of his constituency. Assuring the VP of his support and that of the people of the state, Governor Dapo Biodun thanked the “Vice President for his support” in the course of our journey to the statehouse. He further stated that the VP’s treasure trove of experience in government and the private sector speaks for itself. The APC is billed to hold its presidential selection convention on June 1, just 48 hours to the deadline given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the parties to submit the names of their candidates.




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