Osinbajo Wants Nigerians to Eschew Divisiveness

Osinbajo Wants Nigerians to Eschew Divisiveness

…Says Claims President Buhari is Pursuing an Islamic Agenda is False …Showers Encomiums on former Ogun State Governor, Osoba at 80 The Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians to resist all divisive antics and tactics, calling on the citizenry to eschew any agenda that could undermine the country’s unity. He also canvassed for a

…Says Claims President Buhari is Pursuing an Islamic Agenda is False

…Showers Encomiums on former Ogun State Governor, Osoba at 80

The Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians to resist all divisive antics and tactics, calling on the citizenry to eschew any agenda that could undermine the country’s unity. He also canvassed for a strong belief in the unity of the country, imploring citizens to learn to live peacefully with one another.

Osinbajo made the call in Lagos on Monday at the launch of a book titled “Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics” to celebrate the 80th birthday of elder statesman and former Governor of Ogun State, Mr Olusegun Osoba.

The Vice-President who said unity was an essential ingredient of nation-building and greatness of the country, however, expressed displeasure with the predilection of some unpatriotic citizens to use all sorts of tactics to undermine the unity of the country.

He said some members of the political class had always played ethnic and religious cards to pit people against one another, thereby causing disaffection, arguing that claims President Muhammadu Buhari was pursuing an agenda to Islamise the country was false and divisive.

Osinbajo said that the narrative in some quarters that the President was protecting killer herdsmen and Boko Haram members was a desperate ploy to promote ethnic and religious suspicion.

The Vice-President said Boko Haram once made attempts on the President’s life, and the incident, which occurred during one of his campaign visits, had betrayed the fact that the claims that he was protecting them were just to cause disunity.

He said the government was committed to the well-being of all Nigerians, and urged citizens to unite against all evils, including religious extremism.

Osinbajo said that Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and others were enemies of the nation, urging all citizens to join hands with the government to root them out.

”The likes of Boko Haram, ISIS, Islamic State West Africa Province and many Salafist-Jihadist ideologies are expansionist ideologies that feed purely on hate, hatred of any person or group that does not belong to their particular sect.

”They have no redressible grievances so there are no terms of reference for peace. Fanatics committed to a twisted creed.

”They exploit the ignorance of the tenets of Islam, poverty and exclusion, recruit men and women and use children to perpetrate the most heinous atrocities.

They are motivated by a satanic desire to control communities by murder and terror.

”Whether it is in Iraq, Borno or Syria their victims are men, women and children, Muslim or Christians so long as they do not share their sick ideology, they target churches, mosques, markets and motor parks where people gather, using children as human bombs to kill randomly, regardless of tribe or faith.

”The challenge for us is to recognize this extremism for what it is. To form alliances across faiths and ethnicities to destroy an evil that confronts us all,” he said.

According to him, herder and farmer conflicts, random killings, banditry and kidnapping in different parts of the country are extant challenges that the army has had to intervene in on several occasions.

”I want to reassure all Nigerians that these issues are being seriously tackled by the Federal Government, working with the states, through a multi-pronged approach. Nobody will be allowed to maim, kill or commit other crimes and escape.

”It is our duty to apprehend and punish these criminals and we are doing and will continue to do so,” he said.

Showering encomiums on the celebrant, the Vice-President described Osoba as a patriotic Nigerian, saying he had made great impacts in journalism and politics.

Osinbajo said that one of the remarkable attributes of the former governor was his ”Pan-Nigerianism”, as he had been able to build bridges and make friends across all parts of the country.

Recalling his journalists exploits, Osinbajo recalled that “Chief Olusegun Osoba’s illustrious career as journalist and later politician have also by some uncanny stroke of good fortune   placed him at the centre of many defining moments and situations of post-Independent Nigeria.

“Arguably the most memorable is his January 1966 scoop: the tragic discovery of the bodies of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and Finance Minister Festus Okotie-Eboh, not long after the coup that ended Nigeria’s First Republic.

“He was there on the frontlines in many sectors of the civil war, recording and reporting the horrors and tragedies of a fratricidal war. And he it was who witnessed the surprise visit of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe to Lagos during the civil war.

“He was also right there on the frontlines nine years later, with exclusive reporting during the coup that brought General Murtala Mohammed to power.

“He happened to be in the Governor’s office in Enugu when the then Commissioner of Police Kafaru Tinubu sent word of the capture of Lt. Col. Bukar Dimka, the man who assassinated Murtala Mohammed. He was the only journalist to see Dimka in handcuffs in police custody in Enugu.

“But His scoops went beyond the political …he exclusively reported the case of British born  Patrick Chadwick who slapped a Nigerian sales girl, Adekunbi Adeite, at the Kingsway Stores in Lagos ( this despicable  business of slapping women seems to have been around for a while) and how the UAC and some other journalists tried to cover it up. It became a national issue and the UAC eventually punished the culprit and he resigned.

“At different times, Chief Osoba ran two of Nigeria’s most important and influential papers, Daily Times and Sketch, before joining a distinguished cast of journalists who went into, and succeeded at, politics. (I’m thinking of illustrious names like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro  Ladoke Akintola, Bola Ige, Lateef Jakande, Bisi Onabanjo, and many others).

“He was there when General Ibrahim Babangida took over and was also at the centre of Abiola’s campaign from the Jos primaries to the Annullment …..He was in the NADECO resistance. He was one of those hunted by the Abacha’s strike force. I was the Prosecuting Attorney General who led Rogers in evidence when he described how they had trailed Chief Osoba in a bid to kill him. 

“He was elected Governor under the Military Diarchy of 1990-92, and under the new civilian dispensation in1999, he was in the opposition in its various iterations for all of 16 years and now in the ruling party.   His life story is the insiders view of  the socio-political history of post independence  Nigeria….

While congratulated Osoba on his 80th birthday, the Vice President said he had no doubt that the former Governor was still full of energy to contribute more to nation-building.

A former Head of State and Chairman of the occasion, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, also called for unity and peaceful coexistence of all citizens.

He described insecurity as a major issue in the country and urged the government to do its best to address the problem.

The former Head of State commended Osoba for writing the book, saying the piece would help shed light on his contributions to nation-building.

Abubakar said that he had known Osoba since the 60s and the former governor had always exhibited traits of greatness and love for the country.

”Osoba is a detribalised Nigerian who has done well both in politics and journalism,” he added.

The reviewer of the book, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, said the book aptly captured the exploits and achievements of Osoba both as a journalist and a former Governor .

Olorunyomi, Publisher of Premium Times, said the 341-page book employed the use of lucid expressions which were expected from an outstanding reporter like Osoba.

”The book showcases the great media manager that he was at Daily Times, The Daily Sketch and Herald and all he has done in politics,” he said.

Speaking, Osoba, flanked by wife, Derinsola, and children, said he decided to write the book to document his experiences both as a politician and journalist.

He said that he wrote the book to reveal what some people might not know about him.

The former Governor thanked dignitaries who attended the book launch, saying he felt honoured by their presence.

“I particularly thank God to be alive after attempts to kill me by the military failed. I thank my friends for being part of my story and my family for the support,” he said.

Present at the book launch were Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, Governors Mr Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos); Mr Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti). Others include former Governors Mr Donald Duke (Cross River), Mr Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), M Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom)) and a former Rivers Governor and Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) Mr Bola Tinubu; and a renowned Economist, Prof. Pat Utomi were some of the others present.

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