At the 2017 Biannual Conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, the then President of the fellowship Bishop Felix Omobude challenged Christians to show interest and be abreast of the political happenings in the country. He also called on church leaders to encourage their members to have interest in politics and be card-carry member of any registered political party of their choice. He said the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) “does not count prayer points, they count votes.”
When became democratic again after protracted military rule, Christians had become stereotyped about public policy and governance. Rarely were Christians involved in elective positions and fewer were appointed into public offices. However, by 2014, it has become clear that politics and governance is not just a civil responsibility of all Nigerians but a spiritual one, as heir of the kingdom.
One person that has shine and shown to other Christians that the possibility of being a devoted and dedicated Christian and yet be active in politics is Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He became a national prominence when in 2015, as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, picked him as his running mate ahead of the Presidential election.
The Vice President was born on 8th March, 1957 in Lagos state. He attended Corona Primary School, in Lagos, and then Igbobi College in Yaba, Lagos, from 1969 to 1975. He is married to Dolapo Osinbajo, a granddaughter of Obafemi Awolowo. Prior to his nomination as running mate to Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo was the Pastor-in-Charge of the Lagos Province 48 (Olive Tree Provincial Headquarters) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Ikoyi.
Staying afloat in Nigeria’s political ocean full of ungodly vices, Osinbajo proved to Nigerians in general and Christians in particular that it is possible to be a beacon of light in the darkened political sphere of the country. At a recent programme in Abuja, Prof. Osinbajo explained why he joined active politics in spite his pastoral calling. He said, “the scriptures say that we are the salt of the earth. Every time people ask me, they say, oh, why are you in government? And I say, why not? The calling of God upon our lives is that we must be in service. What is the point of light if it is kept under a bushel? What is the point of the salt if it does not go into the soup? If it is afraid of soup, what kind of salt is that?
Prior to his sourjorn into politics, the Professor was a law lecturer at the University of Lagos from 1981 to 1986. During this period, he rose to become a Senior lecturer of law at the university. In 1988 he was appointed as an Adviser to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ajibola, under whom he handled legal advice and litigation.
By 1999, Osinbajo was appointed as the Commissioner for Justice and the Attorney General of Lagos by the then governor of the state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. His time as the attorney general witnessed series of revolution that transformed the Lagos state judicial administration. In 2000, he established the Office of the Public Defender under the Directorate of Citizen’s Rights (DCR). The office was established to safeguard the fundamental human rights and freedom of the vulnerable and disadvantage groups through a strong, vibrant and high quality pro bono service.
When the controversial political tussle between governor Tinubu and President Olusegun Obasanjo twisted into a legal battle over the creation of more local government areas in Lagos state, Osinbajo led the legal battle that resulted in the eventual release of the sized.
Since he assumed office as the Vice President of the country he had performed the duties of the president in acting capacity during which he took decision that were of immense benefit to the sanctity of the country. In 2017, while President Muhammadu Buhari was out of the country, Acting President Osinbajo, signed three executive orders that significantly impacted ways government business and operations are conducted in the country. The executive orders focused on promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment designed to facilitate the ease of doing business in the country; timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory and non-statutory agencies, including companies owned by the federal government; and support for local contents in public procurement by the federal government. The Executive Orders impacted Nigeria business operations as the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2018 revealed that the country jumped from 169th and 170th positions it occupied in 2017 and 2016 respectively to occupy 145th position.
In August 2018, as Acting President, Osinbajo terminated the appointment of the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, in what appears to be as a result of the role the secret police played in the blockage of the National Assembly.
He is a member Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association, Nigerian Body of Benchers, Council of Legal Education in Nigeria and Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
In spite the heavy criticism heaped on the Buhari-led government, Osinbajo has been a shining light of the APC administration. Many have even taunted him as a possible successor of his principal.