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Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo

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By Chidi Anselm Odinkalu

On World Teachers Day, 5 October 2021, a collective of former students from different parts of the world congregated to pay homage to a former teacher. They included professors, army generals, senior judges, several Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), a Queen’s Counsel (QC), Queen Elizabeth was still alive then), and senior public servants. All of them had one thing in common: they were full of gratitude for the inspiration, motivation, and mentorship provided by the teacher.

That teacher was Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, the law professor and SAN, who became Nigeria’s fifth elected Vice-President on 29 May 2015. That occasion in 2021 marked forty years since he joined the faculty of the University of Lagos as a 24-year-old law lecturer at the beginning of a life-long commitment to ideas, teaching, and mentorship. He was armed with a graduate degree in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN)
When Muhammadu Buhari first happened in Nigeria as military Head of State on the last day of 1983, Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo, was a 26-year-old, who was in his third year of life as a university lecturer. 18 months later, Ibrahim Babangida, Buhari’s gap-toothed Army Chief, overthrew his boss citing causes summarized by Foreign Affairs contemporaneously then as “due primarily to his anti-democratic behavior; regionalism, factionalism, and economic woes.”

Over the next 32 years preceding his somewhat improbable emergence as the running mate to Buhari on their winning presidential ticket in 2015, Osinbajo would compile a quiet record of outstanding accomplishments in academia, civic activism, public service, and legal practice, accompanied by a peerless understanding of the intricacies of successful policy advocacy and public service reform in the country. As a marriage, a more unlikely pair would have been difficult to conjure up.

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He was always among the brightest of his generation. Ikenne, his natal origins in Ogun State, south-west Nigeria, is famous as the home of Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo – whose grand-daughter, Dolapo, would become his life-long partner – the lawyer and political leader who, more than any other in Nigeria’s history, cast the longest shadow of achievement. It is also known for the humanist activism of Tai Solarin, whose vision of cooperative education pioneered a model in the Mayflower School, established in 1956, the year before Osinbajo’s birth. Between them, both men set high standards of attainment for children from the community.

Osinbajo’s primary education at the Corona Schools Trust in Lagos was followed by high school at Igbobi College, where early intimations of his later forensic and oratorical skills were evident in his rich collection of an assortment of prizes in English language, literature, and history, among many. Upon graduation from the Law Faculty of the University of Lagos in 1978, he added the top prize in commercial law. In the year that Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1979, Osinbajo became a lawyer. He was 21.

On assumption of office in August 1985, General Babangida claimed rather impressively for a soldier that even a government of men in military fatigues needed the consent of the people and that he did “not intend to lead a country where individuals are under the fear of expressing themselves.” To lead the country’s de-compression from the authoritarianism of the Buhari era, Babangida asked Bola Ajibola, at that time the president of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), who was severely estranged from his predecessor, to become his federal Attorney-General.

Two years into his tenure, Ajibola requested Osinbajo, then in his seventh year as a university lecturer, to join his team as one of a remarkable duo of advisers. The other member of that team was Awa Kalu, himself also another outstanding practitioner-academic who graduated at the top of his class from the University of Ife in 1977. Between them, Yemi Osinbajo and Awa Kalu (who would one generation later parallel one another in the Attorney-General’s office in Lagos and Abia States respectively) envisioned and implemented arguably the most ambitious programme of legal reform ever evinced from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. From criminal law to family law; evidence to the procedure; international treaties to institutions, no area of law was left untouched.

When Ajibola left in 1991 to succeed Taslim Elias as a judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Osinbajo worked with his successor, Clement Akpamgbo, himself also a former lecturer and president of the NBA. When Osinbajo returned to the University system at the end of that sojourn in public service, it was as a Professor of (Public) Law at the Lagos State University from where he would later return to the University of Lagos.

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By this time, his unobtrusive skill and interest in activist lawyering had begun to blossom. In this enterprise, his experience in public service would prove to be an invaluable asset in crafting resistance to the worst excesses of military rule. Through this work, he built a common cause with a small coalition willing to ask awkward questions of the military when most of the country had lost the will to do so. Parlaying that experience into later civic life, Osinbajo signaled his priorities in founding the Orderly Society Trust and the Convention on Business Integrity.

When the military traded their fatigues for civilian clothes in 1999 without necessarily giving up power, Osinbajo returned to public service, this time as Attorney-General of Lagos State. Over eight tumultuous years, he transformed the office as well as perceptions of the role of the Attorney-General, engrafting a muscular pastoral component to the capacities of the Ministry of Justice, creating the office of the Public Defender (OPD), a Directorate for Citizens’ Rights, and a Citizens Mediation Centre (CMC), and mentoring staff of the Attorney-General’s Chambers into roles in ministering to the public that most of them never associated with the office. He also reformed Magistrates Courts in Lagos state as well as the Coroners.

When he emerged as Vice-President in 2015, Osinbajo arrived with an intellect and record more accomplished than any previous occupants of the office since Dr. Alex Ekwueme in 1979. It was a record built on an ethos of empathy, clarity, relentless application, timeless values, and a stubborn belief in the better angels of human nature, all of which have been severely tested in eight years at the most rarefied levels of Nigeria’s public life and politics. The expectations were unrealistically stratospheric and he may, in hindsight, be surprised at how quickly many in and around the government dispensed with the platform on which they were elected.

As the Buhari presidency quickly descended into a misadventure, Osinbajo proved to be the one oasis of thoughtful competence. On the occasions when the president entrusted him with responsibilities for running the government or any part of it, he delivered capable leadership with clear results.

Some close to the president chose to loathe his fair-minded insistence on rule-based administration and held it against him that he did not brook the privileged lawlessness that characterizes government in Nigeria. People who lacked an inkling as to his life-long passions mistook his advocacy for and leadership of the government’s social investment programmes as political pandering. Many more on the outside who do not care about how the levers of power and government work expected him to be out-front bad-mouthing his boss or, even worse, throwing away the pram and resigning. They forget that progress in government sometimes is also about preventing some of the worst things from happening.

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In this, posterity will be kind to Osinbajo, and with good reason. As Acting President and against the timorous advice of securocrats in government, he attended a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian Civil War in 2017 with powerful personal symbolism and a message of national healing.

In a regime short on any notable displays of empathy for a traumatized country, he never lost sight of the pastoral role of government. On 8 March 2023, Yemi and Dolapo Osinbajo were in Maiduguri to spend the day at the North East Children’s Trust, NECT, in a school that he founded six years earlier to support the education of children orphaned by Boko Haram. It was his last birthday in office as Vice-President but also the clearest signal from him that his commitment to education, mentorship, and investment in empathy will be an undimmed long afterlife in the presidency.

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Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States

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The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.

In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.

Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”

“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.

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“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.

“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”

Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”

 

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Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life

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Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.

Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”

Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.

The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.

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While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.

According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.

The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.

“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.

“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”

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Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.

Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.

The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.

Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).

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Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks

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The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.

The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.

Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.

CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.

Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.

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DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.

She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.

Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.

Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.

Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.

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ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.

CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.

CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.

CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.

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  • Source: Independent

 

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