Holding political office is more of an opportunity to serve and positively impact the lives of millions of people, rather than the prestige that comes with the position, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the book titled “Deputising and Governance in Nigeria” by the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
It was an occasion where the roles of a deputy to an elected public official, especially Vice Presidents and Deputy Governors, came under public searchlight with reminiscence from former President Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Osinbajo, the author himself and his deputy, Alhaji Nasir Gawuna.
“A thought that runs through the book is that despite the put-downs of the office, being political number 2 is important because the political office is about the lives of millions of people not just about the prestige of office,” the Vice President stated.
“In our Constitutional Democracy, the effectiveness of the number 2, the Vice President, depends a great deal on the trust reposed in him by the President. That is a function of loyalty and it goes both ways as Umar Ganduje points out in his book.”
The Vice President further highlighted the importance of dedication, loyalty and service in political office on governance.
Describing the relationship between him and his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, as ideal and exemplary, the VP noted that he has been “more fortunate than others in my relationship with my principal, Mr. President.”
According to the VP, the President “genuinely believes in the role of the Vice President.
“When he was leaving on medical leave, the second time, there were a few things that were outstanding to send to him, and he said, “I don’t want you to send me anything, it is your job now, just make sure you do a good job.”
“As former President Jonathan said, of his relationship with late Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the President does not expect me to call him when he is away, he expects that I know what to do and should do it.
“Indeed, once when I called him, he said, “Professor, I am on leave, you are supposed to do your job. Do whatever you want to do, when I come back, we will discuss it.” And that is the way we have always related. I think that is ideal, and I recommend it to principals everywhere.”
While the VP noted the analogy of the spare trye widely used to describe the role of the deputy to the President, he explained that a better description would be that of the relationship between a captain of a flight and his deputy.
His words: “Imagine a commercial flight with people, including yourself on a plane, there is the captain, and then there is his deputy. The captain flies the plane, but no human being can be completely focused for several hours. So, sometimes he gets up and goes to the bathroom, while the flight is on, his deputy had better be a good pilot otherwise lives are at risk.
“Can you imagine a situation where the captain leaves the cockpit briefly and you hear an announcement from the cockpit, “ladies and gentlemen, I am the deputy to the captain, the captain is in the restroom, and I am only a spare tyre and I am not sure what to do now?” If you are on that plane you will ask God for forgiveness, for expecting that a deputy or vice plays no role.”