MUSLIM PRESIDENTIAL AIDE TAKES ON “CHRISTIANIZATION” AGENDA ATTACK ON OSINBAJO.

Allowing fake news to linger may create the impression that there could be some element of truth in what was propagated.

It is for the foregoing reasons that when the write up credited to one Dr Musbau Akinbode titled “Osinbajo’s Stealth Christianization Agenda”, which has been circulating of recent in the social media, was brought to my attention, I opted to respond. Although no date was ascribed to the write up, it appears to be a rehash of several baseless allegations made in the past against the Vice President, many of whom have been debunked with apologies issued by unsuspecting media houses misled into publishing some of the concocted stories.

The new twist in Dr Akinbode’s write up is the allegation that the Vice President is implementing a “Christianization” agenda and in that wise none of the appointments made by the Vice President from persons of Yoruba extraction were given to Yoruba Muslims.

This allegation reminded me of a similar baseless claim made in 2017 by one Dr. Ismaila Farouk, which Akinbode referred to, alleging that the selection of personal staff of the Vice President was skewed in favor of “his Yoruba ethnic group.”

Those fuelling the orchestrated and surreptitious narrative immediately backtracked when confronted with facts and a long list of Northerners, from tribes other than Yoruba, working in the office at the time including, among others, Mrs. Maryam Uwais (Special Adviser on Social Investment, from Kano State); Ambassador Abdullahi Gwary (Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs, from Yobe State); my humble self (Senior Special Assistant on Legal, Research and Compliance Matters, from Sokoto State); Mr. Ismaeel Ahmed (Senior Special Assistant on Social Investment, from Kano State); Mr. Bege Bala (Special Assistant, BPE, from Kaduna State); Abdurahman Baffa Yola (Special Assistant on Political Matters); Mrs. Susan Chagwa (Special Assistant on Household and Social Events, from Adamawa State), etc.

Certainly, some of the listed allegations made by Dr Akinbode are objectionably and glaringly malicious and even laughable, unlikely to be believed by any discerning follower of the rise and actions of the Vice President.

For example, the Office of the Vice President is like a mini-Nigeria. The level of diversity accomplished in the office reflects all segments of the society – geo-political, ethnic, religious, gender and youth representation.
It is therefore inconceivable for anyone to suggest marginalization or, as Dr Akinbode puts it, “Christianization” in appointments and religious bigotry.

To the specific point of appointment of Yoruba Muslims, Dr Akinbode may wish to know that, even amongst his personal staff, no less than ten Yoruba Muslims were appointed to work for the Vice President including his next in command and the highest-ranking officer in the Vice President’s office, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. AbdurRahman Adeola Ipaye.

Other Yoruba Muslims who work, at various times, in the office include Distinguished Senator Babafemi Ojudu (Special Adviser on Political Matters); Dr Mariam Masha (Senior Special Assistant on Internally Displaced Persons); Ms Lanre Shasore (Senior Special Assistant on Planning and Coordination); Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbemi (Special Assistant on Political Matters); Yusuf Ali (Special Assistant on Power); Mr Mohammed Brimah (Special Assistant on Job Creation); Mr Mukhtar Tijani (Special Assistant on Power); Ms. Lolade Abiola; and Mr. Akanni Rahman.

A leader known to suspend meetings to enable Muslim participants perform prayers; known to rescue Muslim orphans and provide them with shelter and educational opportunities that safeguard and promote their religious practices; known to host Breaking of Ramadan Fast (Iftar) with Religious Leaders and Muslim communities from across the country; known to timeously intervene in the resolution of thorny inter-religious issues with potential for escalation can certainly not be said to be promoting any particular religion.

Also, the allegation of “Christianization” in the appointment of some named individuals to various positions in Government is indicative of a complete lack of understanding of how Government appointments are made or a deliberate attempt to distort facts and mislead unsuspecting public.

Save for Mr. Kayode Pitan, who was appointed by the Vice President as the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry to take over from Mr. Waheed Olagunju, who was serving in acting capacity, all the other persons named by Dr Akinbode were appointed by the President in the exercise of his constitutional powers.
The caliber of the persons is not in question. In terms of accomplishments, these are pacesetters in their respective industries.

For example, Mr. Ben Akabueze, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation served more than two terms as Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos State and was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NAL Bank Plc. (now Sterling Bank Plc.). He has also served as Special Adviser to the President on National Planning.

Mr. Alex Okoh, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, an Alumnus of Harvard Business School and former Managing Partner, Ashford & McGuire Consulting Ltd.; is a quintessential Banker and Financial Advisor who as the Managing Director/CEO of NNB International Bank led the transformation of the bank from a comatose state into a leading commercial bank in Nigeria.

He has worked with various banks within and outside Nigeria including Nigeria International Bank Limited (Citibank); United Bank for Africa Plc.; Citibank New York; Fidelity Bank London; Swiss Banking Corporation, Zurich; and Grindlays Bank, Zimbabwe. His first tenure recorded tremendous transformation of the Bureau leading to his reappointment by the President.

Before the appointment by Mr. President of Mr Okey Enelamah as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment in 2015, the Harvard University graduate, Baker Scholar and Loeb Fellow has had a tremendous successful…

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