The Apolitical Speech of a Politician in an Election Era! By: IDEDE Oseyande
When the news that Professor Yemi Osibanjo (SAN), the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, would be delivering a lecture at this year’s edition of the Edo Youth Leadership Summit (EDYLeadS19), filtered in, so many people had reservations. The Vice President no doubt is a very cerebral resource person for such an event, but with the elections less than a month away, the fear was that the purpose for which the event was organised would be defeated as it would most likely be turned to a campaign ground. “Which politician will see over a thousand eligible voters seated and listening to him, and won’t seize the opportunity to sell his manifesto and canvass for votes?”, was the general mindset.
This reservation and perhaps, worry, was stronger, considering the fact that the pioneer and vision bearer of the initiative, Prince Harrison Ehimiyen, also works with the current government. As a matter of fact, when the fliers were sent out online, a good number of the respondent on my social media space expressed their concerns that including the VP might be a threat to the ‘EDYLeadS’ brand, as the handlers of the brand had consistently emphasised that the vision of the yearly summit is to create a pool of young leaders across the board, that share same vision for the advancement of not just the state, but Nigeria, and Africa at large!
But with the Vice President billed to be the last speaker, the consolation was to come and learn from other speakers, and gently take a walk once the discussion becomes politically driven.
Howbeit, when the so-called political class climbed the podium, from the Minister of State Petroleum, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, to the state Governor, His Excellency, Mr Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, to the Vice President, His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osibanjo (SAN), they gave very brief talks void of any political colouration.
The Vice President, whose talk was centred on character- building and trust, narrated how he got an overdraft back in the United Kingdom many years ago without any collateral, based on trust. And then he dropped one that made everyone laugh, “even among thieves, they look for one in their midst that they can trust to keep the money they stole”.
He expanded the discussion also to extol the need for hard work. He charged the youth to be hardworking and put in extra effort in anything they are doing, even when there is no immediate gratification. He told a true life story of how he recommended a staff he once worked with, for a better and more rewarding position, based on how hardworking the person was when they worked together.
The Vice President’s speech that was anticipated to be a politically laden speech soon became one of the most rewarding lectures at the event. Feedbacks from the participants still rate his speech among the best two in the event.
How politics make those we are supposed to celebrate their brilliance become the ones we insult and don’t want to see or hear from still baffles me.
Or better put, how those we once revered their brilliance become something far from their once respected brilliance is another wonder of the world!
IDEDE Oseyande, a participant of EDYLeadS ’19 writes from Edo State.
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.