From the Presidency
Tribute to the VP: Osinbajo: Greying and Glowing @ 63
- Posted By Vitalis_Obidiaghaa | On September-26-2020 14:10:35
- By Lious Achi.
He is no less a child of providence, wielding power with alluring humility and exemplary focus. He has demonstrated with his life’s trajectory that spirituality, finding expression through law and politics fundamentally transforms the human condition for good. To date, he unabashedly maintains this unique philosophy and balance.
Little wonder, the famous American poet and essayist Maya Angelou, observed that “nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Angelou’s captivating insight into the existential challenges that confront great minds succinctly captures the life story of Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, who clocked 63 on March 8, 2020.
Vice President Osinbajo’s enthralling odyssey further goes to validate the enduring wisdom that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. An unwavering sense of loyalty and duty, rigorous erudition and professionalism, stern discipline, demonstrable integrity and almost a child-like faith in God has activated and enlisted those mysterious principles that guide human progress to his advantage. In the academia, legal profession, faith arena, politics, and even romance, these deep traits have interconnected to propel him into great heights in his life’s journey.
At every position in his life’s trajectory, VP Osinbajo has shown (and continues to show) that he is a strong personality and exemplary leader not swayed by extraneous emotionalism and parochial cant. Besides the statutory executive functions of the Vice President – which includes participation in all cabinet meetings and, by statute, membership in the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, and the Chairman of National Economic Council – the VP also handles other specific duties that Mr. President, whom he enjoys a good rapport with, assigns.
In 2017, when President Muhammadu Buhari officially handed over the reins of governance to him, before proceeding to the United Kingdom on medical vacation; Prof. Osinbajo discharged his duties excellently as Acting President, and was widely applauded by many Nigerians home and abroad.
Besides directing the tweaking of the foreign exchange policy, a move that strengthened the Naira against the US Dollar then, his expressed position that, “Nigeria has no business with China if Aba is developed”, was widely commended nationwide. The incessant inter-state communal wars; notably between Cross River and Ebonyi States, Ebonyi and Benue States, and between Cross River and Akwa Ibom States also engaged his attention. Many may perhaps have forgotten that the Vice President’s shuttle diplomacy in the Niger Delta became the moderating balm that doused the tension that had been fermenting at that region then. Today, ongoing development projects in the region under the Buhari’s administration’s New Vision for Niger Delta are testament to the VP Osinbajo’s interventions.
Without mincing words, one can describe Prof. Osinbajo as a humble servant-leader, whose focus, capacity and commitment to service is helping to change society for the better. For decades, he has provided clear, pragmatic leadership in diverse life arenas, and continues to do so as Nigeria’s Vice President and indeed, a beloved national political figure.
The position of vice president carries considerable weight, especially in charting the course of progressive engagements with critical elements in a democratic mix. And there is no doubt that Prof. Osinbajo has earned the total confidence of Mr. President, who noted recently that the VP’s “intellectual capacity has impacted positively on the overall accomplishments of the federal government, most notably, in the economic and social intervention programmes.”
According to Henry Louis Gates, former leader of the African and American Research Institute at Harvard University, “People are afraid, and when people are afraid, when their pie is shrinking, they look for somebody to hate. They look for somebody to blame. And a real leader speaks to anxiety and to fear and allays those fears, assuages anxiety.”
Within the limitations of our extant peculiar political setting, in his five years in office and counting, Vice President Osinbajo has spoken to national anxiety and fear, just as he has allayed those fears and assuaged the anxiety. This is his forte. We must also genuinely acknowledge that the implicit trust and total support of President Buhari has immeasurably contributed to the effectiveness of Nigeria’s dignified Number 2 Citizen.
Vice President Osinbajo is a professor of law, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, philanthropist and a notable spiritual leader. He was born on March 8 1957, at Creek Hospital, Lagos. His early years in primary school were spent at Corona School, Lagos. Between 1969-1975, he attended Igbobi College, Yaba where he was the winner of the State Merit Award (1971); the School Prize for English Oratory (1972); Adeoba Prize for English Oratory (1972-1975); Elias Prize for Best Performance in History (WASC, 1973); School Prize for Literature (HSC, 1975); and African Statesman Intercollegiate Best Speaker’s Prize (1974).
Thereafter, he studied for his undergraduate degree at the University of Lagos between 1975 and 1978 where he obtained a Second-Class Upper Degree in Law. At UNILAG, he also won the Graham-Douglas Prize for Commercial Law. In 1979, he completed the mandatory one-year professional training at the Nigerian Law School, and was later admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor of Nigeria’s Supreme Court. In 1980, he attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he obtained a Master of Laws degree.
An accomplished scholar, teacher, lawyer and administrator, Prof. Osinbajo is one of Nigeria’s leading experts on the Law of Evidence, National and Regional Corporate Commercial Laws and Public Law. In 1981, the University of Lagos engaged him as a Lecturer. From 1988-1992, he was appointed as an Adviser (Legal Advice and Litigation), to the then Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, KBE.
In 1994, Osinbajo became a Professor of Law and was then appointed Head of Department of Public Law, University of Lagos. Between 1999 and 2007, he was a Cabinet member of the Lagos State Government where he served as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. From 2007-2013, he was once again employed as a Professor of Law, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. In 2007, Osinbajo became Senior Partner at SimmonsCooper Partners, Nigeria (a commercial law practice).
He was Staff Member, United Nations Operations in Somalia, Justice Division, UNOSOM II. Member, United Nations Secretary General’s Committee of Experts on Conduct and Discipline of UN, Peacekeeping Personnel around the globe, Member, 2006. He was Partner in Law Firm of Osinbajo, Kukoyi & Adokpaye.
A member of the International Bar Association and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Prof. Osinbajo has served on the Nigerian Body of Benchers and the Council for Legal Education of Nigeria.
As Attorney General of Lagos State, Prof. Osinbajo carried out significant judicial reforms in the state, addressing critical areas as judges’ recruitment, remuneration, training and discipline. He also addressed access to justice for the poor by establishing appropriate institutions in the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and the Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC). In 2015, under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he was elected Vice President.
He is married to the love of his life, Oludolapo Osinbajo (nee Soyode), grand-daughter of the late sage and statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. They are blessed with three children.
Even under the considerable weight of national responsibility, at 63, Osinbajo is serenely greying and glowing. Happy birthday, sir.