Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has explained how he emerged President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate preparatory to the 2015 general elections. He said one significant factor that brought two of them together was Buhari’s understanding of his view on corruption.
He said his nomination to be vice president in 2014 was unexpected. But his views on corruption were a key factor. He said “In December 2014, the unexpected happened; I was nominated as vice presidential candidate to General Muhammadu Buhari.”
Osinbajo stated that he was only 27-years-old and a university lecturer when Buhari became military head of state after overthrowing a democratically elected government led by President Shehu Shagari.
“As a young university lecturer, then I was impressed by his, President Buhari’s single-minded fight against corruption and indiscipline. There was a serious war against indiscipline. For the first time, government held corrupt officers accountable. 30 years later, providence brought us together. A retired general now and a professor of law,” Osinbajo said.
Going down history, he said “I have always believed that our country was performing far below its potentialities, in practically every aspect of life. In governance, corruption was always so outrageous that it made the majority poor and development almost impossible. Law and order was always a problem, usually no consequence for wrong-doing.”
The vice president said that in a bid to fight corruption, he joined many groups which culminated in him co-founding a group called Integrity, all with the sole objective of fighting corruption but the group met a brick wall in the days of Sani Abachi where soldiers beat up many of the members and they all disappeared. But he was still determined to wage his anti-corruption war.
“We both believed that our country needed to change. We argued about how and what needed to be done. We reached consensus on many of the major issues.
‘’We recognized that our country need a different set of values; a new way of doing business; an economy that is able to give opportunity to young people to work in their chosen professions and to build strong and profitable businesses. We knew that we had to provide social protection for the poorest and the most vulnerable.
“We recognised that innovation and change will be key, and that we must implement and not just talk about diversification of our economy. So we led our party’s campaign on that single, simple, but profound word, CHANGE!”
Somehow, after one year in office the needed change is yet to come. Then he said “there are many problems and many have asked where is the change? Is this the change we voted for? Even some fifth columnists in our midst have suggested bring back corruption!
However, he said Buhari’s government is committed to bringing change to Nigeria, adding that “though it may not be easy, the early signs may be confusing and sometimes discouraging, there has never been a better opportunity than now to turn the country in the direction of success”.
“Today we have the best opportunity in decades for profound change. It is an opportunity in a generation.
“A revolution whose time has come! Everything around us tells us that the moment is now! Can this change happen, yes indeed, it can!
“We have a country that is tired of corruption, tired of leadership without values, tired of an economy that is neither designed to accommodate enterprise, nor to create opportunity and wealth for the majority.
“But we have a leadership and we have a leader that is prepared to challenge the rotten status quo, one who has said that he is prepared to kill corruption rather than let it kill us,” he said