I didn’t beg to be VP, I can leave at short notice – Osinbajo
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday night said he would rather vacate his office as the nation’s Number Two man than compromise his Christian faith.
Osinbajo stated this while responding to posers raised by some Christian leaders at the stakeholders’ meeting held at the new Banquet Hall of the Benue State Government House, Makurdi.
He said under no circumstances would he give up his faith but would rather vacate his position as the nation’s Vice-President at the slightest attempt to cause him to abandon his Christian virtues.
One of the speakers, the Catholic Bishop of Gboko, His Lordship, Williams Avenya, had reminded Osinbajo of the then-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign promises that he would not Islamise the country and would protect the interest of all Nigerians including citizens of minority ethnic groups if voted into power.
Quoting Buhari, the bishop said, “My deputy is a Christian and there is no way I will Islamise Nigeria with many Christians in my team.”
Avenya noted that the killing of Christians and members of the minority ethnic group particularly in Benue State had proved that the Federal Government under Buhari was not living up to these promises.
Facing Osinbajo, the bishop said, “The point I’m trying to make is that a day is going to come when you, as the Vice-President, will bear the brunt of that problem of injustices in our land, especially those perpetrated on smaller ethnic groups that have no one to fight for them.
“So, as a Christian person, exonerate yourself from this situation,” the bishop advised the VP.
Responding, the vice-president said, “My Lord Bishop, you said you are not a politician, I am also not a politician. As a matter of fact, I’m also a priest and I’m a Christian, a born again Christian. Because I’m a born again Christian, my destiny is not determined by any man but by God who I serve.
"Let me assure you that under no circumstances, none whatsoever, will I give up my faith or refuse to stand up for my faith.
“You can take that to the bank. Even the position that I currently occupy, I did not ask for it and I’m prepared to leave it at a short notice.
“It doesn’t mean anything. I became a born again Christian after I became a professor, a professor of the law of evidence, a professor of proof.
“But when the Lord Jesus Christ met me, He persuaded me by showing me clearly that there is such a thing as the evidence of things that are not seen.
“It is because of the evidence of things that are not seen, it is because you can make something out of nothing that I stand here today as Vice-President.
“How possible can anyone say that the killing of women and children doesn’t matter because he is Vice-President or because he is President? How is that possible? Certainly, it cannot be for a person who is born again. A renewed mind will know that there is justice, there is consequence even if there is no justice here on earth.”
The Vice-President, while reacting to the issue raised by another speaker, Dr. Magdalene Dura, that the invasion of the state was an ethnic agenda, said no one would deliberately kill his own people.
“I do not accept and I do not believe that there is an agenda. No one will deliberately kill his own people. No one will do so. But we cannot bring back the dead but we can make life more bearable for the living.
“This is why coming here today at the behest of the President is first, to look at the situation myself, to get a first-hand view of the situation because the President has mandated me to take this on board and deal with the issues,” Osinbajo added.
In his remark, Governor Samuel Ortom appealed to the Federal Government to ensure that peace reign in his state.
The governor said that the killing of the two Catholic priests and 17 parishioners could have caused a religious crisis but for the prompt action of his administration.
He appreciated the Federal Government for deploying more troops to the state as well as releasing funds for control of flood in the state.
Desperation casts a shadow on your Christianity, PDP tells VP
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has described Osinbajo’s visit to Benue State as an act of desperation and an attempt to “swindle votes” ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The party, which said this in a statement signed by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Agbo, in Abuja, on Wednesday, noted that Osinbajo’s alleged desperation to be Buhari’s running mate in 2019 “casts doubt publicly on his professed Christian faith.”
According to the party, the Vice-President’s visit to Abagana, Gbajimba and Anyii Internally Displaced Persons’ camps was political.
Agbo described it as “a political attempt at window dressing the already damaged image of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and an insult to the grieving people of Benue State.”
The PDP statement partly read, “Osinbajo did not visit the people of Benue when two priests and 17 parishioners were killed, neither does he agree that the herdsmen who killed 73 Christians in the state are terrorists.
“It is pathetic that while Osinbajo speaks loudly against former President Goodluck Jonathan and the opposition, he remained voiceless until our people were made refugees in their own land.
“Since the news of the cabal’s plan to pick a new running mate for Buhari ahead of the 2019 presidential election became public knowledge, Osinbajo has since shown a level of desperation that casts doubt publicly on his professed Christian faith.”
The statement added, “Osinbajo’s promise during his visit to the IDP camps in the state that President Buhari has approved a total of N10bn for the rehabilitation of communities affected by violent attacks in parts of the country, further shows that the Federal Government is totally disconnected from the people.
“This shameless act affirms that Buhari’s administration fail to realise that money cannot replace or buy back the lives lost to the reckless slaughter of innocent citizens by Fulani extremists.
“By this dishonest act, the Buhari administration has only added insult to the injury of Benue people. The Buhari-led Federal Government who promised N50bn for states who donate land for Fulani herdsmen in the name of colony unfortunately has only N10bn for all those internally displaced farmers that cut across more than 13 states in the country.”
The party which described the N10bn as “blood money” said the VP and the President should “eat” the money, arguing that the life of one Benue citizen was worth more than the money.
“Let it be on record that the people of Benue will not be deceived by those who impoverished our people and watched us bury our sons and daughters while they gave nothing but excuses,” the statement added.