Between Pastor Osinbajo And Nigeria's Dirty Politics

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

“Let me assure you that under no circumstance whatsoever will I give up my faith or refuse to stand up for my faith. You can take that to the bank. Even the position that I currently occupy, I did not ask for it and I’m prepared to leave it on short notice. It doesn’t mean anything.
 
“I became a born again Christian after I became a professor, a Professor of the Law of Evidence, a professor of proof. But when the Lord Jesus Christ met me, He persuaded me by showing me clearly that there is such a thing as the evidence of faith that is not seen. It is because of the evidence of things that are not seen, it is because you can make something out of nothing that I stand here today as vice- president....." Vice President Yemi Osinbajo addressed some bereaved people in Benue on the 16th of May, 2018 over his alleged silence on the killings by suspected herdsmen.
 
One must confess he uttered captivating words that are reassuring, but how far has he been able to live up his professed biblical principles and Christian doctrines in reality?
 
This journalist has always wondered how  Professor Osinbajo, a religious leader in one of the biggest Christian ministries in Africa - The Redeemed Christian Church of God actually feels about some anomalies in Nigerian politics as well as some state-sponsored propaganda associated with the game his party, the All Progressives Congress plays. I mean moments when the camera, lights, action, reporters, government officials, aides and the likes are gone. That lonely moment when he is on his bed connecting with his soul with his wife, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo possibly at the other end trying to catch some sleep.
 
I wish to know his sincere position on the murder of 347 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria by the army in Kaduna and the illegal incarceration of their leader, Sheik El Zakzaky, the extended detainment of a former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki, killings by herdsmen, quashing of the cases against the alleged killers of Abuja and Kano preachers (Late Mrs Eunice Elisha Olawale, and Bridget Agbahime respectively), faux anti-corruption war, harassment of political opponents by the DSS and EFCC, accommodation of the black sheep of the PDP in the APC, and false removal of fuel subsidy.
 
What about other image-tainting issues bothering on the alleged National Youth Service Corp discharge certificate forgery scandal of the Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, alleged WAEC certificate forgery by the Chairman, Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Property, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla and even the President himself whose secondary school certificate is like a ghost we all talk About but no one has ever seen? The Dancing Senator, Ademola Adeleke who is running for the governorship office in Osun under the PDP appears to be gathering inspiration from Buhari by allegedly forging his entire educational history. Indiscriminate budgetary allocations to the Aso Rock Villa such as the over N3 billion allocation to state house clinic, N4.86 billion for the maintenance of the Presidential Villa, N65 million for the design of the already existing website of the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, N250 million for the construction of the Vice President's gatehouse of a 3-bedroomed apartment and others also constitute another worrisome issue.
 
How did Pastor Osinbajo feel when meeting with Senator Godswill Akpabio while they negotiated his defection from the PDP to the APC taking into consideration the fact the  anti-graft agency, EFCC is presently investigating Akpabio for an alleged large-scale fraud of N108 billion? The same Osinbajo journeyed to Kogi State in November, 2015 to endorse the late APC's gubernatorial candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu – someone accused of misappropriating over N10 billion of public funds. 
 
What is Osinbajo’s stand on the alleged payment of ransoms to the Boko Haram sect by the Nigerian government to release abducted girls which has always been denied toeing the line of political correctness? Does he know the Federal Government has apparently become the biggest financier of the Boko Haram sect? What about the menace of vote-buying in Nigeria which his party has reportedly benefited from in recent gubernatorial elections in Edo, Ondo and Ekiti States?
 
Osinbajo just like his principal, Buhari has always accused the previous administration of gargantuan corruption and abuse of office. Specifically, he claimed $3 billion was looted under the Jonathan administration through the strategic alliance contracts and that in one single transaction, the sum of N100 billion and $289 million in cash were released into private pockets a few weeks to the 2015 elections. Osinbajo’s accusations reek of sheer hypocrisy and political theatrics considering the fact that his party has been freely admitting politicians who participating in the alleged heist under the 16-year rule of the PDP.
 
Many have argued that the office of the Vice President is more of a ceremonial one as he is obliged to be in the shadow of the President but that is no excuse for condoning bad governance. South African icon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor"
 
A major flaw in my claims is that these mere allegations that haven't been proven in the court of law as the principle of rule of Law stipulates. But in the deepest part of our hearts, we know what our politicians stand for. The members of the opposition party, PDP have tagged Buhari's anti-corruption fight a witch-hunt but this plan wouldn't have succeeded if there were so 'witches' so to say. Our leaders are fond of having skeletons in their cupboard thereby making them easy targets for political victimization and harassment when the need arises.
 
Osinbajo made a flying start as a politician and running-mate of Buhari in 2014 when he attended the 'worldly' Lagos musical concert of indigenous rapper Olamide whose stock-in-trade is promoting vulgarity, alcohol, nudity, prostitution, hard drugs and other acts of youthful exuberance with his songs. Osinbajo's action was acceptable considering the bigger picture as it was an opportunity for him to connect with the youths. But again, the Holy Bible in the book of 2nd Corinthians 6:14 speaks against being unequally yoked with “unbelievers”. 
What I see here is interplay between professionalism and religion. To a large extent, Osinbajo has proved more to be a ‘professional in politics’ than a ‘pastor in politics’.
 
Even the circumstance which produced 'Osingbade' as Buhari's running-mate was more of political machination than merit which I'm sure Osinbajo understands. In 2014, at the heat of the presidential election campaign, the incumbent President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had started a 'church tour' which was a disguised campaign strategy to sway the political support of Christian folks. Then, there was a rumour in the air that the APC had concluded plans to Islamize Nigeria. Some comments Buhari purportedly made about the implementation of Sharia Law across the country gave credence to the rumours about Islamization. The APC countered the canard not only by words but also concrete decisions. Osinbajo was handpicked from the largest Christian Ministry in Nigeria, RCCG where he was popular to restore confidence to Christian voters. It should be noted that the General Overseer of the minister, Pastor E.A Adeboye revealed in 2014 that the RCCG has over 32,000 parishes in Nigeria. The church which is adjudged as the fastest growing Pentecostal church in the world has its presence in over 180 countries of the world.
 
Personally, I feel Osinbajo has lived up to the image of a 'pastor' considering the fact that I don't rate people on the basis of their faith. I judge them as normal human beings with unique and differing flaws. No religion preaches evil; bad people only make certain religions look bad. But if you want to rate Osinbajo according to the exploits of Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible, you might be disappointed considering the pitfalls of the APC.
 
Things have evolved in Nigeria and like the White Evangelicals in the U.S; the church is getting involved in the dirty game of politics in Nigeria. Senator Oluremi Tinubu is now an assistant pastor at the RCCG, PDP 2016 gubernatorial candidate in Edo State, Osagie Iyze Iyamu also claimed to be a pastor, Pastor Chris Okotie is back again in the political space to try his luck and so many other unknown presidential aspirants leading different churches who seemingly contest for the sake of it. We also have many other clerics patronizing politicians with concocted prophesies without specificity. The popular phrases are "The Lord told me.....but if you pray hard"
 
Political Scientists will interpret the involvement of the Church to be advancement in political consciousness across the country but I sense a dangerous trend. With our budding democracy, it’s like a wrestle with the pig. The church is about to get dirtier. 
 
Nigerians following the lead of Daddy Freeze - the convener of the Free The Sheeple Movement are already questioning how tithes and offerings given in the church are being spent. They have also come to realize that the church has less of preachers and more of motivational speakers ending sermons with requests for financial donations. The church has a lot on its hands and dabbling into politics will destroy the one of the few places when Nigerians find sanity and redemption. I suggest the church should stick to its advocacy for good governance, collection of Permanent Voter’ Cards and subsequent voting.
 
Acting President Osinbajo in the deepest part of his heart would be wondering how much politics has changed him in the last three years but he will always console himself that he is committing 'small sins' for a greater cause.
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