By Abdullahi O. Haruna (Haru-spice)
When Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told the Nigerian community in New York, United States of America that kidnapping in Nigeria is not entirely new, with many reported cases being untrue and fuelled by politics, he did not lie; he only expressed the truth as it is; no colour, no hue, no exaggeration; it was an expression of truth in its naturalness.
During the working visit, the Vice President had expressed this incontrovertible truth: “With respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country, again, this is not entirely new.” Those who understand the geo-politics of insecurity in Nigeria would quite agree with the Vice President that he actually said the truth the way it is. Nigerians were therefore maniacally befuddled that one faceless Bayo Oluwasanmi would label the Vice President as a “serial liar” just because the Vice President said the truth. Calling the Vice President of your country a “serial liar” is not just unpatriotic, it is uncharitable.
Professor Osinbajo is not a liar, he says the truth always. Is it not true that the general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country “is not entirely new”? Yes, kidnapping in Nigeria predates this regime. This is the truth in its most absolute form.
Nigerians will recall with colossal disappointment and deep soreness that the kidnap of Chibok girls, father of all kidnaps, was hatched and executed during the infamous reign of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Was Muhammadu Buhari President of Nigeria when a total number of 276 female students, in a single swoop, were kidnapped from a government secondary school in the town of Chibok? Was Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan not the President of Nigeria when the most grotesque and gloomiest kidnap in the history of this nation was executed? Are these lies, too? Of course, these are not lies, rather Bayo Oluwasanmi is the liar that narrowly escaped from the pit hell.
Someone should remind Oluwasanmi that a lie cannot be used to counterweight another. He called the Vice President a liar, and instead of using truth to counter the alleged lies, he resorted to making obvious lies that only people with squatting intelligence can believe. Was it not in October 2016, during the administration of the APC-led government that the first mass release of 21 of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped when Jonathan was president, was executed? Is it not true also that it the Buhari-led government that rescued another set of 82 Chibok in May 2017? What are the lies about this known truth?
No doubt, Oluwasanmi’s mind is deeply polluted because of plethora of failed promises of successive governments of the past, where the political system was driven by lies and liars. These experiences have instilled in him wrong ideologies about what politics is and what is not. One can therefore understand why Oluwasanmi describe all politicians as “wretched liars”. The writer’s wrong orientation of the ideals of politics explains why he described the highly venerated Vice President as a “serial liar.” For him, since all politicians are liars, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is equally a liar, just because he is a politician. According to Oluwasanmi: “Lying in politics cuts across political parties and political beliefs. Lying is basic qualification for profession of politicking. We know politicians are wretched liars.”
It is obvious that Oluwasanmi either lacks the basic knowledge of history, or deliberately fain ignorance of history in order to justify his naive, myopic, warped and highly flawed perception of politics and politicians. History of Nigeria reveals how many great men and women have distinguished themselves in both private and public arena, despite the deceitful atmosphere that wraps the political system. Is it right to describe Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Anthony Enahoro as liars? Politics is about rendering services and these men of honour, have in no little measure, shaped the direction of this nation, positively. President Muhammadu Buhari, in a perfect alliance with his Vice President, is positively moulding the fortunes of this country. Calling Osinbajo liar because he reels out facts and figures about what this government has done or is doing in order to educate the people and international community, not only unkind, it is unpatriotic
Is it not true that that the APC government at both the federal and state levels, has been making frantic efforts to untangle the grips of poverty in the country? Is not true also that in the past, efforts at rescuing ordinary Nigerians from poverty ended up widening the gap between the poor and the rich, by enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor? Is it not true that the APC government is doing it differently, as its poverty alleviation programmes are truly addressing the plights of the poor who are mainly ordinary Nigerians?
Is not true that the current government is the one that initiated the most effective and efficient National Social Investment (SIP) programmes in Nigerian history? What are the truths about SIP? The programme is predicated on the need for a more sustained and inclusive economic growth, reduced poverty rates and closing the wide inequality gap between the rich and the poor, is anchored on four pillars which include N-Power, National Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and Government Enterprises Entrepreneurship Programme (GEEP). Nigerians know that the Social Investment Programme of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is far better than those of the previous administrations. For instance, one of the differences between N-Power and SURE-P programme is that while ordinary Nigerians are beneficiaries of the former, the beneficiaries of the latter were men and women in high places who turned the SURE-P to SURE-C, where “C” stands for corruption.
The Vice President, being a man of proven integrity and gifted with high intellectual pedigree, does not make careless statement as regards the security situations in the country and efforts being made by the government to reposition the country and create an enabling atmosphere for every individual to thrive and pursue their businesses without fear. Osinbajo does not lie. He is not a liar. At every point he has reeled out government achievements, whether in defence of his boss or simply stating things as they are, they have been backed by facts. Not lies. Are the 500,000 beneficiaries of N-Power not real people? Are the over two million beneficiaries of the TraderMoni not real people?
Nigeria has a Vice President that is not only articulate, he is meticulous. As a Professor, he knows that argument cannot be won by sentiments but by facts. We therefore understand why he carries with him facts and figures wherever he goes. At the New York town-hall meeting with Nigerians, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo acknowledged the fact that many of the kidnap stories that often flood the media landscape were untrue. This was exactly what Prof. Osinbajo said that was deliberately and mischievously taken out of context: “When you listen to some of the stories, some of them are simply not true anyway.”
Those who understand the geo-politic of information in Nigeria would recognise the fact that there are scores of stories on kidnap that are merely coordinated media spectacles aimed at discrediting the current government. Is it not true that on different occasions media are flooded with ridiculous stories about fake kidnap? As far back as 2013, when Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was the President, the BBC News through this link, reports that “Police in south-eastern Nigeria have arrested a woman who allegedly faked her own kidnap to demand a ransom from her husband. Nancy Chukwu is accused of conspiring with a man to stage her abduction in the city of Enugu and asking for 200,000 naira.”
In 2018, there was another media report that that a teenage apprentice, Adeboye Micheal, faked own kidnap to steal from his employer’s N500,000. There was another story in the media which says that a teenage girl, Dorcas Adilewa, faked own kidnap to defraud father. Just recently also, a Methodist pastor in Ado Ekiti named Adewuyi Adegoke was reportedly apprehended by the Police for allegedly faking his kidnap while demanding for a ransom of three million naira from the church members. Shortly after Adegoke’s disappearance, it was also reported that the social media was awash with claims that he was abducted by herdsmen while travelling. Is it not such kind of sensational stories that Prof. Osinbajo said “are fuelled by politics”? If not politics, what is the correlation between self-kidnap and abduction by herdsmen?
With the above stories of fake kidnap, can anybody with his complete sense still dismiss Vice President Osinbajo’s statement as fallacy and untrue? For Oluwasanmi to call the Vice President unprintable names with different pejorative adjectives, just for saying what Nigerians already know, shows that he is ignorant or he is being sponsored by politically displaced men and women of the previous regime who have chased out of corridor of power. Prof. Osinbajo is not a liar. He talks with facts. As the head of the National Economic Council who led the team that rescued the nation out of recession, brought by many years of mismanagement, Osinbajo has every fact about this government on his sleeve and at all times; he reels them when necessary based on the subject of discussion. Only those who don’t have facts lie.
Political analyst and social commentator, Abdullahi O. Haruna (Haru-spice) writes from Garki, Abuja