By Wale Adeduro
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo received the 2021 Leadership Person of the Year Award in Abuja on Tuesday May 16, 2022 from Leadership newspaper, one of the nation’s leading daily newspapers. Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and incumbent Director General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was also honoured with the same award.
It is significant that Professor Osinbajo received the Award less than two weeks to the APC delegates convention. The first point in this honour is that it has unmistakably confirmed and recognized the VP’s leadership skills, a fact many Nigerians have already taken for granted. What other validation do we need that Osinbajo is a primus inter pares among Nigerian leaders, including those who are in the presidential race.
Moreover, the owners of Leadership Newspapers which honoured Osinbajo with the 2021 Leadership Award are northerners who cannot be said to be playing tribal politics with the VP who is from the South West of Nigeria. The late founder of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Nda-Isaiah, was born in Minna, Niger State which is North Central of Nigeria. Osinbajo’s astute leadership has been acknowledged beyond tribal and regional delineation across the world. Doron Avni, Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Director, leading a delegation from Google Global Services in the United States to the State House in Abuja on Thursday, February 13, 2020 affirmed that Osinbajo is “an excellent partner” of Google who had enabled the technology giant to train over three million Nigerians in information technology management. Certainly, more would benefit from such trainings when Osinbajo becomes President. Without any equivocation, the highly coveted 2022 Leadership Award bestowed on the VP clearly indicates that all the other contenders to the presidency (as well as ‘’pretenders, impostors and showmen’’ according to Josiah Dogo) have a lot to learn from the VP.
This writer is focusing on the core of the theme of the event organised by the Leadership Group, “Resetting Nigeria: Culture, Politics, Geography and the Role of Big Ideas.’’ To reset means to set something differently from how it has always been. The multifarious challenges of Nigeria cannot be solved without deliberately tweaking our value delivery systems to all the citizens of Nigeria. Our nation requires innovative leadership to reclaim her enviable position in the comity of nations. Innovative leadership entails creative thinking in this moment of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). The global challenges have foisted gargantuan risks upon developing nations such as Nigeria. Managing these risks to achieve sustainable growth requires a savvy, competent and firm pair of hands on the saddle after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure expires on May 29, 2023. There cannot be any better qualified individual, at this time, than Osinbajo who has shown, beyond every reasonable doubt, that he is both knowledgeable and capable of pushing the envelope to advance the corporate fortunes of Nigeria as well as the satisfaction of a larger majority of Nigerians.
More than ever before, Nigeria needs several foreign direct investments to reduce her debt burden. Only a leader with untainted international clout and a clear understanding of international finance can reset our economy. Nigeria’s next President must be a man who fluently speaks the language of information technology and easily comprehends global issues like Osinbajo has demonstrated over the years whenever he was privileged to represent President Muhammadu Buhari in global fora. Osinbajo is skillful at deploying latest technological inventions for governance for harnessing Nigeria’s plethora of natural resources for the good of all Nigerians. He has the clout to attract the flow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) into Nigeria. In February 2020 Google, through its Government Affairs and Public Policy Director, Doron Avni, declared that “Osinbajo is the reason why we are investing in Nigeria.” We do not need any further evidence to prove that Osinbajo, the skillful orator, is also a tested international negotiator who can attract humongous financial and technological resources to Nigeria.
As an innovative leader Osinbajo has inspired productivity in new ways and through different approaches among Nigerian youths in the last seven years. Osinbajo is not risk-averse and is not enamoured about the idea of maintaining the status quo. For him, embracing new ideas for the benefit of the larger majority is what inspires him to do his best. This is why he has earned the honour of being the most impactful and distinguished Vice President in the history of Nigeria.When sworn in as President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo will certainly acquit himself like Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. Through the adoption of an innovative leadership strategy, Lee Kuan Yew, the pioneer prime minister of Singapore, was able to transform the third world nation into a developed country with a high-income economy within a single generation. In his pursuit of the strategy of innovative leadership, Lee adopted long term social and economic planning. Osinbajo has already set his mind on adopting and executing a long term social and economic plan for Nigeria. This was evident in his acceptance speech at the Leadership Award. He said: “We must create a country that works for all of us – a peaceful and secure society founded on law and order and the rule of law, a society that enables commerce and values productivity, so that large and small businesses can grow and provide jobs and opportunities for young people.”
Osinbajo is not only innovative, he is a man of ideas who adroitly communicates his progressive beliefs to persuade people to join him to build a smart and more equitable nation. When necessary, he does not hesitate to roll his sleeves and dirty his fingers to do what is right for the purpose of meeting the ubiquitous needs of a larger percentage of Nigerians home and abroad.
To achieve a positive and impactful total reset, Nigeria truly deserves the services of an innovative leader who is also an accomplished solution provider as President. Chidi Amuta, a frontline columnist and a literary critic, in his column in ThisDay on Sunday of the 15th of May, 2022, commenting about the credentials of Osinbajo as a Presidential candidate affirmed that, “Yemi Osinbajo, exemplary Vice President, is an unusual combination of morality, ideas and practical solutions.”
Nigerians are depending on the APC delegates to cast a vote for Nigeria’s future of innovative growth by electing Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the presidential flag bearer of APC for the 2023 general elections. He is the only innovative leader in the crowd of contenders, pretenders, impostors and showmen in the race for Nigeria’ presidency in 2023.
Dr. Adeduro is a Productivity Consultant