My Focus Now is Serving Nigeria, Not on 2023, Says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has played down any interest in the 2023 presidential race, saying his major concern now is serving Nigeria.

 Responding to a question if he would run in 2023, at the virtual Annual General Conference (AGC) of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Osinbajo said his attention was on teaming up with President Muhammadu Buhari to find solutions to pressing national issues.

Osinbajo said: “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve Nigeria and right now I am focused on doing just that.

“There are issues to be tackled and that had been gaining my undivided attention.”

On the incessant killings in the southern part of Kaduna State, Osinbajo, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Laolu Akande, said although the security challenge had continued, the government was making progress in tackling it.

On the way forward in the Southern Kaduna conflict and making reference to his personal experience, the vice president said: “I have been involved since 2001 through the work of the Macedonian initiative, an NGO that focused on providing relief materials to displaced persons in Southern Kaduna and several other places especially in North-central part of Nigeria. There have been judicial commissions and all sorts, but the problem remains. So, there is the need to address the underlying issues. You can’t sweep under the carpet, justice and the cries of economic marginalisation.

“The fact is that we must prosecute persons responsible for these murders or otherwise impunity will worsen. And also support those who have lost their bread winners.

“The mindless callous killings in Southern Kaduna are heartbreaking. And again we must condole with those who have lost loved ones and those injured or who have suffered loss of property. These tragedies are unacceptable and they are avoidable.”

On steps being taken by the federal government in dealing with the killings in Southern Kaduna, Osinbajo said: “First is the improvement of security in Southern Kaduna. Now, we have a military base there, for the first time. We also have a lot of Air Force surveillance.

“We have about 500 conventional and mobile policemen in Zangon-Kataff and Kaura Local Government Areas and then the combined military team of the army and the navy who are also on ground 24 hours. This is basically to just take care of the volatile situation there.

“The president has also had several security council meetings and I have attended all of those, where the issues were discussed and the possibilities of engagement have also been discussed.

“I have also engaged with community leaders in Southern Kaduna and also I have engaged with the governor to look at what peacemaking efforts are possible.”

The vice president expressed optimism that the issues would be resolved, noting that “some of the peacemaking efforts have been fairly successful” as recent peace efforts between the Zangon-Kataff and the Fulani communities would yield positive results.

“But there is also a lot of work going on to ensure that some of these fundamental issues are being addressed and it’s an evolving situation; but it’s something we can’t afford to ignore and it’s gone on for far too long and it’s redressable and possible for us to resolve,” he added.

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