By Lanre Olaleye
It was a perfect home coming for Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as he breezed into Lagos for a rousing welcome after the conclusion of his nationwide consultation and interaction with critical stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over his 2023 Presidential ambition.
As early as 7am on Wednesday, 25 May, 2022, all roads led to the Yard 158 Event Centre along the Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun as politicians from the 20 local governments of Lagos, technocrats, academia, artisans, lawyers, friends and associates thronged the event centre to honour Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to the ‘Centre of Excellence.’
For a state that prides itself as the most politically sophisticated, the atmosphere inside the arena was carnival-like as the mamooth crowd graciously celebrated one of its own with special songs that edify the virtues of Prof. Osinbajo.
Following his presidential declaration on April 11th, the Vice President has since began an intensive nationwide tour delivering message of hope to APC stakeholders. At the last count, he had visited 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) before making an early morning dash to Makurdi, the Benue State capital where he was received by APC stakeholders on Wednesday 25th May ahead of the home run in Lagos.
After about four hours delay, the Vice President eventually arrived at Oregun at about 4:45 pm to a tumultuous reception by party supporters and various support groups. As it has become customary, Prof. Osinbajo exuded uncommon energy and calmness in shaking hands with cheering supporters, associates and admirers.
On hand to welcome the Vice President was the Deputy Governor of Lagos, Dr. Obafemi Kadiri Hamzat; the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matter, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu; and the South West Co-ordinator of Osinbajo Grassroots Organization (OGO), Dr. Abdulhakeem Abdulateef; among other distinguished dignitaries. However, the duo of Sen. Ojudu and Hon. Abdulateef have been the arrowheads of the Osinbajo campaign and they surely brought their individual goodwill and grassroots appeal to bare to galvanize support for the Vice President in the South West region.
In his remark, Dr. Abdulateef who incidentally is the Chief Imam, Lagos State House of Assembly Central Mosque, the visit of Prof. Osinbajo to Lagos is not for political engagement but rather it is a Thanksgiving of some sort to celebrate the glory of God in the life of the Vice President noting that “Lagos is extremely proud to celebrate Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.”
The immediate-past Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs who is fondly called ‘Hon. Iyepe’ remarked that Lagos cannot be divorced from the success story of Prof. Osinbajo just as the success story of the state cannot be divorced from Prof. Osinbajo.
He added that the Vice President represent a new Nigeria, “where an Imam is leading the Presidential Campaign of a Pastor ; where the choice of our president would not be determined by religion, tribe and social status but by competence, capability and passion for a better Nigeria.”
On his part, Sen. Ojudu described the Vice President as “a bridge between the rich and the poor; the technocrats and the politicians; between the past and the future.”
He added that Osinbajo is armed with the prerequisites knowledge of the myriads of problems bedeviling the country and has pragmatic solutions for solving them.
For the ‘August Visitor’ the home coming is not necessarily for politics but rather to celebrate and offer Thanksgiving for God’s absolute mercy for seeing him through a hectic nationwide consultation.
According to him, “I am home in Lagos to celebrate God’s awesome mercies for giving us strength and courage to take our message of a New Nigeria across the 36 states and the FCT.
“In the last seven years, I have been opportune to serve as Vice President to President Muhamadu Buhari and this experience has afforded me the opportunity to know how to govern a complex country like Nigeria and this experience would help tremendously in galvanizing our plans for a New Nigeria.
He added: “Our New Nigeria agenda would help to promote security, provide employment, bring on board a secured economy, provide infrastructural development, engender transparency and provide enabling environment for ease of doing business.
“We have reached out to our party members and critical stakeholders in the country. We have equally reached out to God in our prayers and He has assured us of victory. So , I appeal to you to remain steadfast and calm because God has given us victory,” the Vice President enthused.
To profoundly expressed his joy at the impending victory at the Presidential Primary Election slated for Sunday, 29May, and Monday, 30 May, 2022, the Vice President sang three prophetic Yoruba songs, ‘O ti nsise re bo, Baba se lasepe,’ ‘We re lo bawa see,’ ‘Oke oke la nlo (We are moving higher) which were dutifully echoed by the mamooth crowd.
With the rendition of the songs, Prof. Osinbajo finally rounded off his nationwide consultation in Lagos amidst pomp and pageantry likened to the closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup with a beautiful spectacle.