For the love of the country, Nigerians who share the same vision for a better nation must continue to stick together and work for the progress of Nigeria, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this yesterday while interacting with members of the PYO Collective who were on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa.
The PYO Collective is a group of journalists and writers who are inspired by the Vice President’s leadership style and his disposition to governance.
The group of 25 journalists and writers led by a veteran journalist, Mr. Richard Akinnola, were at the Villa on a courtesy call on the Vice President following the public presentation, on Monday, of the book titled “Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader”, which they wrote in his honour.
Speaking about his hope and motivation for a greater nation, Prof. Osinbajo said “no matter our disappointments, because we love this country, we must keep working at it because love is persistent. All of us who believe in this country must stick together and we must keep working for the good of our country, day by day.”
The Vice President commended the drive and imagination of the group, endorsing all of its ideals and vision for Nigeria. He said many are interested in this Nigerian project but not everyone is prepared to take the trouble to do what is right and to join groups, just to see how these things about making Nigeria great can happen.
Said he, “but the truth is that we are all in this same boat. Many times, we just give up and some may wonder ‘is the country cursed? But then the next opportunity, we are there hoping and praying that this country works.
“If I were not the Vice President, I probably would be a member of PYO Collective writing about some other guy who we think might carry forward our aspirations. I think that we form a peculiar group of individuals not just people who are talking about Nigeria informally, but people who are even prepared to do something in their own various ways.
“I am really excited about what has happened and also the fact that this book has been written. But I see the book more as an expression of our collective desire to see something good and different happen in this country, which was why I said yesterday that I dedicate the book to the Nigerian people, that was exactly how I felt.”
Recalling an interaction with a petty trader during one of his visits to Kebbi State in 2019, the VP said “everywhere you go across this country, people just want this country to work. I have been around this country and know people just want things to work. And the belief is that somehow those of us in positions of authority can make things better.”
Earlier in his introductory remarks, the spokesman to the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande observed that the PYO Collective was formed as a result of the inspiration drawn from the Vice President’s different disposition to governance, impacting the less privileged and insisting on excellence.
He commended the authors of the book for their energy, enthusiasm, and sacrifice in honouring Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stating that everything would have amounted to nothing but for their hard work, commitment and belief in the ideals of the VP.
Earlier in separate remarks, members of the group paid glowing tributes to Prof. Osinbajo, recalling their experiences with him directly and indirectly.
For Akinnola, the book project was “a literary coup planned and executed to honour and celebrate the achievements of the Vice President”, describing him as an inspiration to many Nigerians from the progressive fold, and noted that something bigger would be done by more Nigerians in the future to celebrate Prof. Osinbajo.
He dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the presentation of the book had political undertones, insisting that the effort of the writers was to celebrate the principles and values upheld by the VP in all of his engagements in office.
On his part, the Editor-in-Chief of Leadership Media Group, Mr Azu Ishiekwene, spoke about his experience with Prof. Osinbajo as a law teacher at the University of Lagos, noting that “it was his students who kept talking about his brilliance, uncommon connection and patience with them that pushed me to sneak into his class one day to experience what I have been hearing about him.”
Mr Ishiekwene also thanked Prof. Osinbajo for being himself, and remaining humble despite his position as VP, stating that “his humility and care for his friends are the ingredients that have blossomed our friendship over the years regardless of his newly attained position as Vice President.”
For Vanguard Columnist, Ms Donu Kogbara and renowned writer, Mr Etim Etim, the Osinbajo brand is one that many Nigerians admire, will continue to support and follow even outside of office as Nigeria’s Vice President.
“You are one of the very few acceptable faces in the Nigerian political space. There are millions of Nigerians who hold you and your wife in high regard,” says Kogbara.
“And from the Niger Delta, where I come from, the people hold you in high regards, they recall your visits to the region and they are very grateful and they will never forget you. We will miss you but we hope you will stay in plain sight,” she added.
Celebrated poet, Mr Haruna Abdullahi deployed his artistic skills to eulogize the Vice President describing him as “a contemporary reference, the bridge before yesterday and today, and of course tomorrow. He is the story foretold by our founding fathers of a nation born out of a generation and of a generation rising from a nation.”
The contributors to the book “Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader” who were present both virtually and physically at the meeting include Richard Akinnola, Dr Wale Adeduro, Mr Azu Ishiekwene, Ms. Donu Kogbara, Mr Etim Etim, Princess Temilade Okesanjo, Mr Akpandem James, Mallam Garba Mohammed, Mr. Dayo Akintobi, Mr Ogah Columba, Mr Arukaino Umukoro, Mr Mustapha Ogunsakin, Mr Vitalis Obidiagha, Mr Jude Zoho, Ms. Olaolu Beckley, Mr Seun Bisuga, Mr. Seyi Gesinde, Mr Abdullahi Haruna, Mr Sadiq Abdullateef, Ms Abimbola Eucharia Olaniyan, and Mr Ibrahim Bature.
Other members of the PYO Collective present at the meeting included Hajiya Maryam Bukar, Yvette Ogah, and Uche Pat Edeani, among others.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
3rd May, 2023