No need bringing Osinbajo into ‘weakening of Northern economy with privatisation plans’

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Last week, I stumbled upon a news publication from online credited to Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) with its headline that says: “Don’t Weaken North’s Economy With Your Privatization Plans, Northern Coalition Tells Osinbajo.”

This allegation of sabotaging the northern economy to protect the interest of the southern region levelled against the cerebral Nigerian Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, by this northern coalition, is something that ignited my curiosity being an ardent follower of the 64 year old’s numerous activities that transcends beyond ethnic and tribal poles. The allegation as I summed it undermines the VP’s nationalism, numerous achievements and outstanding successes in the entire northern region.

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The Group in the media report had said that the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s economic team was planning to weaken the economy of the northern region through his team’s recently approved privatisation plans of five power plants. They include Calabar, Ihovbor, Olorunsogo, Omotosho and Geregu power plants.

The group’s spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, was quoted to have described the plans “most dubious, unreasonable and unacceptable act of injustice” against northerners and in particular, asked leaders of the region to raise the alarm over the move.

In order to make sense out of this, it is either the group overrates the powers of the VP being the chairman of the National Council of Privatization (NCP) or the group was only being hypocritical or playing a tribal card on the VP.

The CNG must have issued that statement in swift reaction to the decision of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to sell these five National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) to prospective power investors.

As earlier read in news publication, the decision to sell these government’s properties had earlier been made known by the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency overseeing the privatisation of the five plants barely three weeks ago quoting the Federal Government as the major driver of the policy.

While it is true that Osinbajo is both the chairman of National Privatization council, (NCP) and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), one is also aware that with the government’s formations, it should also be made clear that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), is the only agency empowered without any interference from the member of the executive to oversee the privatisation of those five plants which also has a task of implementing government’s several privatisation programmes.

What this automatically mean is that the agency in charge of the privatization is an independent body and the VP doesn’t give them orders, like the way a high school teacher does with his students.

Although, the agency reports to his office which is a statutorily role and function but that doesn’t mean he calls the shot or dictates what is to be done that will now warrant him lording the privatization plans over the Director General of the agency in a bid to push a bogus southern agenda against its northern counterpart. So, dragging him into the privatization process as the major enforcer of the move is not only ridiculous but an outright display of chronic ignorance.

For clarity purposes, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is the Federal Government agency tasked with implementing the government’s privatisation programme, as the Secretariat to the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).

The agency has evolved from the Technical Committee for Privatisation and Commercialisation (TCPC), which was established in 1988 to carry out the government’s privatisation programme.

The TCPC was transformed into the BPE in 1993, with a supervisory and technical board, although BPE retained the organizational structure and personnel of the TCPC and was made part of the public service.

BPE was recreated in 1999 as an independent body without a board, reporting only to the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), which is chaired by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Director General of the BPE is also the member-secretary to the NCP, which is the policy agency charged by the President with overseeing the proper and effective implementation of privatisation.

Let’s not forget that Amperion Power Distribution Company Limited, a subsidiary of Forte Oil Plc owned by a southerner, Femi Otedola acquired the Geregu power plant 1 in 2013 and invested a whooping $94 million in the power plant, while also in 2014, the Federal Government handed over Olorunsogo Power Plc to SEPCO Pacific Partners Ltd, with another southerner as its Chairman Adedeji Adeleke.

It is not out of place for someone to think that some northern forces are not happy and comfortable with the manner at which all these power plants are falling into the hands of some rich southern private individuals, hence, the dragging, Osinbajo, being a Southerner into what can be taken as a “false campaign” of a Southern agenda against the North

Some of us and many others who have been keen observers of the Vice President’s significant contributions to national development and to humanity as a whole, would rise in his defense against any misrepresentation, falsehood, or statement that may sully his long years of selfless service to his country.

It is on record that, Osinbajo has championed and overseen a lot of projects in the Northern Nigerian more than what he has ever done in the South or even in his hometown, Ikenne, in Ogun State, where he came from and there are evidences to back it up.

It is in this spirit of nationalism that the Vice President, Prof Osinbajo, and his wife, Dolapo, built a state- of-the-art primary schools and learning centers for the orphans of those affected by the insurgency in the northeast region.

This is a testament and a reflection of Osinbajo’s humaneness and passion for the northern people, especially, Borno State, where he has personally raised funds to cater for the education of out of school children when many of the northern leaders looked the other way.

Due to his unassuming personality and his quiet life of not wanting accolades or recognition, some of these achievements have been underreported which explains his own kind of politician as opposed to the traditional Nigerian politicians that would deploy all the instruments of propaganda, even on a smallest project.

It would also be recalled that as Acting President in 2017, Prof. Osinbajo, in total disregard to safety concerns amidst security fears, visited Borno State a day after the terrorist Boko Haram attack.

Many Nigerians and security experts and stakeholders during that time said it was unsafe to do so, but he exhibited true service and commitment to not only the victims of the incident in Borno State, but to the entire nation at large, yet a civilian with no military training. That is bravery and unadulterated nationalism.

In a one-day working visit to Maiduguri, Borno State capital. Osinbajo flagged off the distribution of 30,000 metric tonnes of assorted grains for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), in the northeast. Coincidentally, this was a time the North-East and the entire region was facing a severe humanitarian crisis. That was a demonstration of love and real humanity.

In this same North, Vice President Osinbajo, in his bid to ensure stable power supply to better the lives of the people and their economy, he spearheaded the launching the Solar Power Naija programme in Jigawa State commencing with the Jangefe Community which will get 1,000 Solar Home Systems connections.

This gesture was still in pursuit of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) of Buhari’s administration. And this flagging off which commenced the installation in Jigawa, is part of a 100,000 scheme with A-Solar, a local solar power company implementing part of the ESP Solar Power Naija’s planned 5 million connections across the country.

These and many others are the Osinbajo’s contributions to the economic development in the North. So, saying the otherwise is a ruse! Therefore, I can only advise the Northern Coalition Group to jettison politics and desist from attacking Osinbajo that many Nigerians see as a great nationalist, who believes in the progress of every region in Nigeria, which has been made manifest with his deliverables thus far.

Prejudice and logic they say are strange bedfellows. This display of vitriol and animosity directed at the Vice President by CNG is a distraction he can’t afford at the moment for the sake of national development.

Source:- Daily Trust

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