Why international community needs to appreciate Nigeria’s size – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, receives in audience current MBA Students of Harvard Business School at the Statehouse, Abuja. 26th August, 2022. Photos: Tolani Alli

*Harvard Business School students to VP: We want to hear from you

In a situation where societal or governmental institutions are not strong enough to compel individual behaviour in a way that advances the common good, spirituality and commitment to such values as social justice and transparency are important.

According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, “just looking at these values, there is a great deal of unanimity about what is the right thing to do. The question is whether or not you will do those things, or whether you are motivated enough to do them, or whether you are compelled to do them.

“Spirituality helps in that sense to help you to decide what to do and what not to do. Especially where institutions are not strong enough to restrain people from behaving in a particular way or not.”

This was one of the highlights of the interaction between the Vice President and a group of Harvard Business School students who visited him on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Numbering about a dozen, the students who are currently on an African excursion asked questions about leadership, faith, spirituality, government policies in education, health, economy, and national image, among others.

In his responses, the VP articulated his personal commitment to the virtues of integrity, transparency and social justice which are also virtues exhorted in the different faiths and religions in the country.

He said, “for me, spirituality connotes values. I came into government with values about what I think is important especially around transparency, social justice and justice, among others. You are almost always a product of the values you believe in. Fortunately, a lot of these values cut across the different faiths, they are not necessarily restricted to a religion or one faith.

“In societies that are more developed institutionally, you don’t need to be told that you shouldn’t do certain things because you could end up in jail if you do and there is a good likelihood that you could be detected and the process will go through and you will be punished.

“I speak about corruption and all that. But where the institutions are weak, some people have reasons for not doing the right thing,” Prof. Osinbajo submitted.

Talking about Nigeria and its perception in the international community, Prof. Osinbajo explained to the postgraduate students some of whom are Nigerians, that it is in understanding the size of Nigeria that the international community can better appreciate the enormity and complexity of some of the country’s challenges.

According to the VP, “first, there is a need to appreciate the size of the country, which is crucial to understanding what the issues are.

“For instance, Borno State is about the size of the whole of the United Kingdom plus Sweden or Denmark. So, when it is reported that there is violence in Nigeria, it is probably an incident in one remote area of the country, and many people in Abuja and Lagos may hear about it on social media, such is the size of this country.

“When they talk about economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries, it is a huge target market.”

Responding to the question about some inaccurate characterization of Nigeria in sections of the international community, the Vice President said “it is important to constantly engage the international community to show them how we feel about the stereotypes. It comes down to the work we do as government and people about the characterization.

“This is why some of the work around the Ease of Doing Business etc. are all initiatives that have behind them, the whole idea that this environment is one that is welcoming to business and people can come and do business.”

Talking about creativity in governance, the Vice President said “my view is that there needs to be more innovation in governance and policy. You get that kind of innovation in business. People are disrupting in business everyday but there is very little disruption going on in government. I think there is a need for much more thinking in government.”

He also spoke about education, educating people and wealth creation, providing resources so that more people can move up.

“A lot of that is tied to education, that is really something that interests me the most. Just using an example of something we did in the Northeast.”

The VP then went on to narrate how the Learning Centers in Maiduguri were started.

“I visited Maiduguri, Borno State in 2015, and I saw many children whose parents had been killed by the Boko Haram insurgents and in a place where they were, I saw about 49,500 of such children. I had a conversation with the governor and other officials and the idea of starting a school for them came up and we stepped in.

“The State Government gave us land in Maiduguri that could accommodate 1,300 children, and these were children that could only speak Kanuri. We built a school that exposed these children to technology and values, and after five years, the children were able to speak English and Hausa, they were doing robotics, writing programmes and other things they were not able to do before then.

“What this showed is that with skills, any child, anywhere can do everything, especially when you provide that child with education that is focused,” the VP added.

The Vice President also spoke about the economy, and the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme, politics, leadership, education, and energy transition, among others.

The students, while thanking the VP for the opportunity to visit him added according to their leader, Mr. Daniel Jaiyeoba, that they wanted to hear from the Vice President noting that “we understand your private sector experience and now you are in the public sector. That is why we put this visit together.”

The students were accompanied on the visit by the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, who had taught some of them as undergraduates. The list of the Harvard students’ delegation also included Maan Aldaiel, Dusty Register, Tomas Tussie, Connor Popik, Ruben Anzures, Scott Kimberlee, Thomas Cowan, Laura Romine, Lanre Ojutalayo, Oluwatoyin Ogundele, Etim Imoh and Abdul-Rahman Buhari.


Otunba Wasiu Afolabi addressing Oba Ewuare II

Oba of Benin wades into OPC leadership crisis

By Jethro Ibileke

The Benin Monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, has mediated in the crisis between the warring factional leaders of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC).

towards resolving the misunderstanding that led to the division of the socio-cultural group.

Aare Prince Osibote and Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, have been at loggerheads over who lead the socio-cultural organization, following the death of its founding leader, Dr. Fredrick Fasheun.

They however arrived at the consensus following mediation by the Benin Monarch who met them separately in his palace in Benin City.

They both expressed appreciation to the Oba for promoting friendliness among the ancient City of Benin and Ile-Ife.

Addressing the Monarch, Osibote said, “We are your subjects and your sons; there is nothing that we can do without Benin, as far as Odua is concerned.

“We are from here and Ile-Ife in Osun State are very important to the organization. Without this, we cannot move forward.”

In his own remark, Afolabi who gave a background of how OPC began years ago, said, “I really appreciate your own comments. We will call the few people that are outside together. We are really glad for your goodwill.

“Next time, we will be here as you have directed. We will make sure that we reach out to all aggrieved members and those who still harbour grudges.”

After listening to the two warring leaders, Oba Ewuare II who called for unity, welfare and cultural values of the people, also cautioned the OPC leaders against mistrust or partisan interests.

While reiterating the need for attitudinal change, the Monarch charged members of the socio-cultural organization to shun partisan politics and form a formidable force to reckon with.

Oba Ewuare also promised to reach out to the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojájá II), for further talks on the matter.


A: Oto Awori

B: L-R: Oloto of Oto-Awori Kingdom, Oba Josiah Ilemobade Aina and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu unveiling the plaque to commission of a 250-Seater lecture theatre at the Lagos State University of Education (LASUED), Oto/Ijanikin, donated by the Monarch, on Sunday, 28 August, 2022.

Sanwo-Olu Inaugurates 250-seater Lecture Hall at LASUED

Applauds Oto-Awori Monarch for Gesture

•Governor approves construction of 750-seater theatre, buses, free Internet for Education varsity

•‘Why I donated project to school’
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, inaugurated a 250-seater lecture hall donated by Oloto of Oto-Awori Kingdom, Oba Josiah Ilemobade Aina, to the newly upgraded Lagos State University of Education (LASUED) in Ijanikin, Badagry Division.

The Governor was in the Oto-Awori Kingdom to felicitate with the monarch on the occasion of his 15th coronation anniversary. The lecture hall was donated by the monarch to mark the anniversary.

The king’s gesture, Sanwo-Olu said, is worthy of emulation, noting that the facility would be complementary to those being built on the campus by the State Government, as part of the projects initiated after the school was upgraded from College of Education to a university by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The Governor, at the event, explained why the school, alongside Lagos State Polytechnic, was elevated to degree-awarding institutions.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos, as a big city with a high population of young people, was being underserved by one university, necessitating the need to raise the standards of LASPOTECH and Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, elevating them to raise human capital.

He said: “Education and technology have been the key parts of our deliverables. This objective can only be achieved when we have standard tertiary institutions offering competitive opportunities to raise human capital. The late Alhaji Lateef Jakande gave us Lagos State University over 40 years ago. Why should we not build more on this solid foundation? As big as Lagos is, with a huge population, having one State university does not befit us.

“Lagos cabinet, with the approval of the House of Assembly and NUC, set up two more universities to complement LASU and we got the approvals to establish the schools at the same time. This dream has come true and Oto-Awori Kingdom is a beneficiary. The gesture of Oto-Awori king to support our efforts to improve access to education with the donation of a lecture hall is an act that is worthy of emulation.”

Sanwo-Olu said he had approved the construction of a 750-seater Lecture Theater on LASUED campus, just as he directed procurement of two high-capacity buses for students to aid their mobility to and from the campus.

The Governor additionally offered free campus-wide high-speed Internet for research work and other academic usage.

Sanwo-Olu used the occasion to appeal to towns locked in communal crisis in the area, urging them to embrace peace. The Governor cautioned all parties against destruction of properties and public facilities, stressing that development would only happen in an atmosphere of peace.

The Governor congratulated Oba Aina for the milestones the kingdom attained during his reign, describing the monarch as “man of peace”.

“Kabiesi has not only invited us to celebrate with him on the occasion of his 15th coronation anniversary, he has also challenged all of us in giving back to our communities. His gesture is worthy of emulation and this makes him a man of his words. This is why I personally come here to identify with him and the entire Oto-Awori Kingdom in the Badagry Division,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The monarch said his gesture to support the Government’s intervention in education was borne out of his pledge to assist indigent people surmounting impediment preventing them from going to school.
Oba Aina recalled he could not finish his academic programme at an Ondo university because of N6,000 fee. He promised to embark on more education-focused projects to support Government’s efforts.