Osinbajo’s Office Like A Mini Nigeria – Balkisu Saidu
Dr. Balkisu Saidu, a Senior Special Assistant on Legal, Research and Compliance matters in the office of the Vice President, has rubbished allegations of a ‘stealth Christianization agenda’ leveled against Prof. Osinbajo in an essay credited to a certain Musbau Akinbode.
In the discredited essay, Musbau Akinbode alleged that the Vice President was implementing a ‘Christianization’ agenda, evidence of which Musbau claimed could be found in the purported non-appointment of Yoruba Muslims.
This allegation, now rendered false by a simple check of appointees who have served and presently serve in the Vice President’s office, is similar to an earlier allegation which claimed – falsely, too – that Prof. Osinbajo favored only Yoruba people in his appointments.
Given the similarities of the false allegations, and the frequency of their production and circulation now that the 2023 Presidential race is in full view, members of the public are expressing suspicion that they may be indicative of a coordinated effort by those opposed to the emergence of the Vice President seeking to tack onto his image negative labels of religious and ethnic bias – charges that fail to stand up to scrutiny.
Previous election campaigns have featured the deployment of such crude tactics and slander efforts. Indeed, President Buhari himself faced such allegations, only in reverse as he was accused of intent to ‘Islamize’ the country and entrench nepotism. None of these have thus far materialized.
In her rebuttal, Dr. Balkisu Saidu, a Sokoto Indigene whose service in the Vice President’s is itself proof of the allegations’ baseless nature, hinted this as she provided a long list of northerners who work(ed) alongside her in the office of the Vice President, thus disproving the theory that he favored only Yorubas, as well as other Yoruba persons who are indeed Muslims who equally work with the Prof, including the highest-ranking officer in his office, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. AbdurRahman Adeola Ipaye.
Others include Senator Babafemi Ojodu as Special Adviser on Political Matters, Dr. Mariam Masha as SSA on IDPs, Ms. Lanre Shasore as SSA on Planning and Coordination, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbemi as SA on Political Matters, Yusuf Ali as SA on Power, Mr. Mohammed Brimah as SA on Job Creation, Mr. Mukhtar Tijani as SA on Power, Ms. Lolade Abiola, and Mr. Akanni Rahman. All of them are from the Yoruba ethnic group and dutifully practice the Islam faith.
Dr. Saidu added that the Vice President earned the respect of his diverse pool of staff with his responsible commitment to their religious obligations and sensitivities, including the suspension of meetings to allow Muslim participants perform prayers, the rescue of Muslim orphans and provision of shelter and education to them, hosting of Ramadan fast breaks (iftar), and a harmonious, mutually respectful relationship with Muslim religious leaders and communities across the country.
She also pointed out the ignorance or distortion of facts on the part of the accusers who often omit the known fact that certain appointments to the Vice President’s office were done by the President in the exercise of his constitutional powers.
She condemned what she described as a “divisive rhetoric and adverse language dangerous to Nigeria’s unified harmonious existence” and urged resistance and rejection by the public.
Dr. Saidu described the Vice President as a “humane, compassionate, detribalized patriotic Nigerian, who is committed to the service of Nigeria and Nigerians in a fair, honest, transparent, and accountable manner.”