*R-L: Buhari, Osinbajo
On Saturday, 9th February 2019, when he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Muslims at the Lekki Muslim Community Central Mosque, many marveled how such a devout Christian and high ranking Pastor of one of the biggest churches in Nigeria could feel at home in such an environment.
So awe struck was one of those in attendance that he said “This man is one in millions.” The man in question is Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic and a senior Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
*Osinbajo (5th from right) during the meeting at the mosque.*
The occasion was an interactive session with The Association of Muslims Professionals to garner support for Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo joint ticket for a return to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
What the admirer said at the mosque was not an isolated view of a Muslim. It appears to be a widespread affection within the Muslim Ummah for a Pastor in a country where the political elite would want Nigerians to be perpetually manipulated to see people of other faiths as adversaries.
Although his principal, President Buhari is a devout Muslim, Osinbajo’s Christian credentials have taken the wind out of the sail of critics who hitherto portrayed the Kastina State born retired general as Muslim fanatic.
Discerning minds are questioning how a fanatic of one faith would field a devout adherent of another faith as his running mate.
Beyond that, Osinbajo has carved a niche for himself as capable of attracting both the Christian and Muslim votes for their joint ticket.
- Osinbajo addressing the 15th National Biennial Delegates Conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria in Makurdi, Benue state.*
This is aptly demonstrated in a press statement by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) congratulating the Professor of Law for surviving the recent helicopter crash in Kabba, Kogi State while on another campaign trip. Says MURIC in the press statement signed by Professor Lakin Akintola, its Director: “Professor Osinbajo is the kind of Christian leader we as Muslims will be comfortable with any time any day. We have seen how he treats Nigerians of different faiths equally. He has freed himself from religious bigotry……We assure the vice president that he enjoys tremendous goodwill across the board. We charge him to apply more grease to his elbow. The fact that this is the second time that he will escape death through helicopter crashes indicates that he has a date with history. We pray that he will overwhelm all obstacles in his path in order to fulfill his destiny. ”
Beyond the religious angle, the vice president has also taken the gospel of the Buhari/Osinbajo phenomenon into many homes with his house-to-house campaigns in towns and remote villages, much to the surprise and admirations of the old and young ones who have never seen such a high ranking government official in flesh and blood before.
*Osinbajo during one of his numerous house-to-house visits*
He is carrying out the campaigns with high frequency that many, including the president often wonder where he is getting the energy from.On the day he survived the helicopter crash for example, he did not recoil to the hospital for medical observation or retire to the inner recess of his lodge at the Presidential Villa for a much desired rest and thanksgiving.
He went ahead with the campaigns. And the president, surprised at his commitment told him during a telephone conversation that “we give glory to Almighty God for sparing your life. I’m impressed by your tenacious spirit which enabled you to continue on your campaign engagement, despite the shock of the crash.”
“It takes tenacious spirit and amazing spiritual strength to survive a helicopter crash without being paralyzed by its impact. I’m proud of our partnership and your unalloyed loyalty and your commitment to the service of Nigeria.”
“That you proceeded with your engagements, despite the accident, is a testimony of your passion for service to country and a reflection of your admirable spiritual fervour.”
“May God continue to protect you and all those on board with you, bless your lives and grant you more good health and long life to serve our country even more.”
Before now, Osinbajo had demonstrated absolute loyalty to his boss when the president was away for 104 days on medical grounds, maintaining level headedness while he steered the ship of state as acting president and praying for the recovery and return of President Buhari.
Born on 8 March, 1957, Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and Professor of Law.
He attended Corona School, Lagos, for his primary school education. Between 1969 and 1975, he attended Igbobi College Yaba where he won the following prizes: the winner of the State Merit Award 1971; the School Prize for English Oratory, 1972; Adeoba Prize for English Oratory 1972-1975; Elias Prize for Best Performance in History (WASC) – 1973, School Prize for Literature (HSC), 1975; African Statesman Intercollegiate Best Speaker’s Prize, 1974.
Between 1975 and 1978, he proceeded to the University of Lagos where he was awarded a Bachelor of Laws degree. After obtaining a Second Class Upper Degree, he received the Graham-Douglas Prize for Commercial Law.
In 1979, he undertook the mandatory one year professional training at the Nigerian Law School prior to being admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor of Nigeria’s Supreme Court. In 1980, he attended the London School of Economics, where he obtained his Master of Laws.
While at the Law School, he interned with the law firm of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He did his National Youth Service with the Bendel Development and Planning Authority (BDPA) as a legal officer between 1979 and 1980. In 1981, he commenced academic work as a lecturer at the University of Lagos and occupied the position until 1988, when he was appointed as Special Adviser to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (legal advice and litigation) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Prince Bola Ajibola from 1988 to 1991.
He was an adviser to the Attorney-General of the Federation until 1992, when he went back to lecturing. He became a Professor of Law in 1990 at the age of 33 (thirty three). Thereafter, he established a law practice (Osinbajo, Kukoyi & Adokpaye) as a partnership, while he concurrently was a Professor of Law and Head of Department of Public Law (1997–1999) at the University of Lagos.
In 1999, he was appointed a member and secretary of a Think Tank and Transition Work Group that deliberated on strategies to transition from Military rule to democratic government in Lagos State. Bola Tinubu had just been elected as Governor of the State. Owing to his reform-minded contributions to the justice sector, he was appointed into the Cabinet after the inauguration of the Government in May 1999. Thus, he served as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice from 1999 to 2007.
He later joined the services of the University of Lagos where he became a professor of Public law and was appointed as the Head of Department of Public Law in 1997, a position he held for 2 years (1997-1999).
After his tenure in 1999, he was immediately appointed as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Lagos State under the administration of senator Bola Tinubu, who is now the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC. Osinbajo held this position for 8 years, until the end of his tenure in 2007.
From June 2007, he became Senior Partner at the law firm of Simmons Cooper Partners. He was also a visiting Professor of Law, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. Yemi has served on the United Nations Secretary General’s Committee of Experts on Conduct and Discipline of UN Peacekeeping Personnel (2006); United Nations Operations in Somalia, Staff Member, Justice Division, UNOSOM II (1997–1999)
He is also the chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of Redeemer’s University and a solicitor to the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on the suits against Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
After the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013, Yemi was tasked, with other notable Nigerians, to design and produce a manifesto for the new political party. This culminated in the presentation of the Roadmap to a New Nigeria in March 2014. The highlights of the Roadmap included a free schools meal plan, a conditional cash transfer to the 25 million poorest Nigerians if they enroll children in school and immunize them. There were also a number of programs designed to create economic opportunities for Nigeria’s massive youth population.
On 17 December 2014, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) announced him as his running mate and vice-presidential candidate during the 2015 General Elections.
Osinbajo is married to Oludolapo Osinbajo, a granddaughter of the Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and has three children.
- Osinbajo, wife and children*
He is a Senior Pastor and Motivational Speaker at the Olive Tree House of Prayer for All Nations on Banana Island, Lagos, a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.