Ariyo-Dare Atoye, a political activist and defender of democracy, writes on the rising profile of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, women’s day celebrations, and local politics in his home state of Ekiti in southwestern Nigeria.
Sometimes when you do some introspection of how dates and circumstances bind people together or give effects to situation, you cannot but describe the entire universe as the conspiracy of the Almighty God. God is awesome: yes, He is the beginning and the end of creation. I am convinced that every human being must have experienced the conspiracy of God at one point or the other: experiences that trigger fear and confirm His supremacy. This conspiracy is the mystery of God and no man can fathom it except what is revealed.
These occurrences are not fixed scenarios. They are not influenced by personal motive. They are not self-induced, humanly circumscribed nor scientifically enforced. It is not about those who fix memories like ensuring your wedding happens on a special birthday or an important date of interest is specifically arranged to suit time like the United Nations Observances or a development is scientifically induced to celebrate fame like cloning. Not the human created weird formula.
I purposely set out to celebrate Ekiti women and commend how Governor Ayodele Fayose has galvanized them to celebrate the 2017 World Women’s Day. My mother who lives in Ekiti had told me over 25, 000 women would be converging on Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, in a unique “ankara attire” to celebrate the day. Fortunately as someone who had prioritised celebrating March 8 right from my days in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, the Ekiti arrangement availed me a good opportunity to rekindle my special way of celebrating women.
But the strict focus of my piece would soon change when a friend, who I had hinted about it, was quick to remind me that the man of the moment, who is gradually returning our national thinking to an ideal democratic order, Pof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, also has his birthday on March 8, 2017. Immediately, the task of striking two birds with one purposeful stone was dawned on me: to celebrate a man who has, in a few weeks, demonstrated the capacity to lead Nigeria out of despondency and the other sentiment of celebrating my mothers and the unique women of Ekiti State-my sweet home.
But in between thinking of how to balance the literature equation of this piece and the tight exigency of delivering it to the stable of the Nigerian media who– have consistently given our glorious women a pride of place like no other, I have found something interesting about Osinbajo, at the time of his three scores on planet earth. Believe me, if as a student, you are given an English comprehension to write a summary about the man Osinbajo on his birthday, you would be perfectly justified to answer in one word that Osinbajo is “March.”
I do not know if anyone has attempted this conspiracy of dates and events on Osinbajo before; I also do not know of any Nigerian leader, living or dead, that the significance of one month has extensively conspired to favour like Osinbajo. This revelation is quite interesting, and as I dug dipper beyond what my memory initially picked about this conspiracy of destiny, more other events unfolded. I would not be surprised if other hitherto unknown developments about Osinbajo and the conspiracy of March have started coming out. But to me, Osinbajo is the real March personified.
Now, let us unravel some interesting scenarios that the month of March has foisted on Osinbajo which no Machiavellian could have plotted, except the fate of man: Osinbajo was birthed by March; Osinbajo is married to the household of March, Osinbajo was pushed by March to be a Vice Presidential candidate; Osinbajo consulted in March before aspiring with Buhari; Osinbajo was ordained by March to contest; Osinbajo won in March. To this extent, Osinbajo is the Mystery of March. And as I said earlier, there could be some other March things about him.
Let me unbundle the puzzle: by birth – Osinbajo was born on March 8, 1957, a very significant month that birthed several great leaders like Olusegun Obasanjo and others named in this puzzle. By marriage – Osinbajo is married to Dolapo from the Awolowo family, whose patriarch the greatest ever leader of the Yoruba race, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was born in March (06/03/1909). That name was dropped during the election and it influenced things for Osinbajo. The push – Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State who unarguably pushed Osinbajo into the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket was born in March (29/03/1952).
Consultation – Osinbajo consulted Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeem Christian Church of God, who was born in March (02/03/1942), as expected of a Christian, before accepting to run with General Muhammed Buhari. Ordination – Osinbajo was ordained by God, before he was born that he would be in this position, and God by His own divine arrangement is Trinity (God in three persons) – and the month of March is number 3. To cap the March puzzle, Osinbajo won the Presidential election with Buhari in March (28/03/2015). The likely conspiracy of 2 before 8 (Osinbajo’s birthday) in March confirms his number two on that presidential ticket when they won.
More than all these interesting puzzles, I wish our dear Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo Happy Birthday. May God bless your days on earth and grant you the grace and wisdom to successfully execute the tasks before you. “Igba odun odun kan ni sir.” But before other conspiracies about March in the world of Osinbajo are unraveled, let me quickly add mine, to let you know that the young man who has written this piece was also born in March. And on March 24, 2017, I will be celebrating the goodness of God like Osinbajo did on March 8. But equally important are the women that would gather in Ado-Ekiti to celebrate this year’s world women’s day.
The drums would be beating in Ekiti and the voice would be loud in every nation on earth celebrating this important day. As a matter of enjoying March 8 to the fullest, the best place for Osinbajo to be is Ekiti. The State is very unique for women and Fayose never jokes with them; they ensured his overwhelming victory in 2014. To appreciate their undiminished support base, the governor would be rolling out several loan schemes for them and they too have been planning it big to receive their dividends of democracy. Ekiti is the real place for women on March 8.
Unarguably, politicians would lead the charge of celebrations across the country, and as usual are expected to exploit and take advantage of the day to consolidate support from women. So while Fayose may likely be sneaking in the new Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) slogan – Change the Change …maybe to prepare the women for another change in 2019, Osinbajo would be encouraging Nigerians to keep hope alive in the APC change. And more over, is hope not rising? But in line with the United Nations theme for the 2017 World’s Women Day, all the leaders, irrespective of the political divide, would be spurring our women to “Be Bold for Change.”
Ariyo-Dare Atoye, executive director, Adopt a Goal for Development Initiative. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.