His political trajectory since 1999 when he became the Attorney General of Lagos State may not have been robust. But his presence has been felt all through. He came like a sound from an echo in the canyon. He whispered breadth into the corpus of law and jurisprudence in the state and like the pine dropped its needles to the forest floor and turned full circle to the work of God and the pulsating rhythm of private legal practice. Yemi Osinbajo is not your every day politician.
He was not among the greats that were touted to run with President Muhammadu Buhari in 2011. Yet, he hugged it and claimed it. Twice this year fate has beckoned on him to take charge of the affairs of this nation. Last week, a coinage in the letter to the senate steadying him for the arduous work which says “in my absence, the Vice President will co-ordinate the affairs of the nation” has stirred a tempest in a tea cup. Critics of the letter insist the absence of the constitutional words “Acting president” has deodorized the appointment, whitewashed its import, invaded the primus judgment, and indeed created a moral lacuna.
For many who rely on the constitution in its every use and sense, the interpretation is in the same way a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination. But then, life is a constant withering of extremes. The Vice President has come with coagulated masses taking form before our eyes, reining in plaudits with his style of governance, and growing out bangs. As a pastor in the lord’s vineyard, his disposition in all, displays a keen understanding of the words in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a reason, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”
In Osinbajo, we know that the oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the soul a waking angel stirs. There is a unique energy that exists in tiny things. To so many Nigerians, he appears relaxed, at peace with himself, confident, emotionally neutral, loose and free- floating. According to the Basketball great, Michael Jordan, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
For all you may say about him, he has got a style all his own. That is his strength. He lives and works with the words of Thomas Jefferson, former US president that, “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock,” because adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. The mist of politics may be thick, and it may be hard to see through and waltz past the booby traps. The wind may be wild and he may be caught in the web of the sensations of governance. Will his impact be felt or lost on the wings of the wind, which we all know extinguishes the small and enkindles the great? Will his touch honour the code in the first rule of hurricane coverage, which states that all trees must bend?
Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo was born on March 8, 1957 in Lagos, Nigeria. He was educated at Corona Primary School, Lagos. Between 1969 – 1975, he attended Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos. From 1975 – 1978, he was at the University of Lagos for his undergraduate degree in Law, where he was awarded LLB. He went to the Nigerian Law School from 1979 to 1980. In 1981, he obtained a Master of Law after attending the London School of Economics. After his one year National Youth Service Corps Scheme as a Legal Officer with Bendel Development and Planning Authority (BDPA), he was employed as a Law lecturer at the University of Lagos.
He was a Senior Lecturer from 1983 to 1986. From 1988 to 1992, he was an adviser (legal advice and litigation) to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ajibola. From 1997 to 1999 he was made Professor of Law and Head of Department of Public Law, University of Lagos. From 1999 to 2007, he was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice. He returned to the University of Lagos combining it with private legal practice as Senior Partner in the Law firm of Simmons Cooper Partners. He was also the pastor in charge of the Lagos Province 48(Olive Tree Provincial Headquarters) of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God, Ikoyi before his inauguration into office as vice president of Nigeria. He is married to Oludolapo Osinbajo, a granddaughter of the late Obafemi Awolowo and they have three children.