The piece today is a follow up to my last write up in which I vouched on the character and integrity of Vice President, that he would do the right thing on any state matter devolved to him by Mr President, I urged my readers who were un settled with the appointment of the VP to chair the committee set up by the President to investigate the graft against the former SGF. a chance. Very few of them agreed with me while many cried foul that the committee would not come out with a far reaching decisions on the allegations of corruption labelled against the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr Babachir .
I said it then and I still stand by my statement that the VP is a good man and anybody who doubts his ability to be fair, just, diligent and a political in any State matter is either ignorant of his antecedents or is just playing politics.
Since my last write up on the issue the Vice President has proved me right at least on three occasions.
Firstly, the way he kept the country together at the height of the agitations of the members of IPOB for the actualization of independent state of Biafra and the call by the Northern Youth Group requesting the Ibos to vacate the North. The way he handled the situation with dignity and character was exemplary.
His performance during period when Mr President was on medical sojourn out of the country for a period of more than 103 days was commendable, un paralleld in the history of our great country.
To date, since Mr President, resumed office no single Nigerian Media however critical they have been of the VP have written any single story accusing the VP of fumbling in the discharge of his responsibility as the acting President. This demostrated the general acceptability of the VP stewardship.
Secondly, when the President appointed the VP to chair the committee to investigate the allegations of financial impropriety labelled against the former SGF, many doubted the ability of the committee to be fair and a political in their recommendations. All sorts of hypothesis regarding the committee’s ability to come out with conclusions that would be acceptable, became a subject of intense debate among political pundits.
Now that the report is out and Mr President had acted on it by formally sacking the former SGF for the thievery in the grass cutting saga. Those who doubted the impartiality of the VP must be bitting their fingers .
As to when the former SGF will have his first day with the EFCC, the buck still remains with the President.
Thirdly, when the debate on Sukuk Bond dominated the headlines in the Mass Media, the Christian Association of Nigeria, raised alarm that the Federal Government is trying to Islamatise Nigeria.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in a statement issued by its General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake, demanded the abrogation of the laws and framework behind the bond and threatened to seek legal redress if that was not done.
The group said the FG was trying to sell the nation to Arab countries through the Sukuk Bond, arguing that the government was pursuing an Islamisation agenda.
According to the Christian body, Nigeria is a secular state and the government is expected to be neutral on issues involving religion. It argued that the promotion of a sectional religious financial policy was a violation of the Constitution.
It went on to say, “The recent floating of Sukkuk Bond by the government is not only sectional but illegal and a violation of the Constitution. Every law that has been promulgated to back the Sukuk issuance and promote an Islamic banking system in Nigeria is ultra vires, illegal, null and void.”
“Therefore, the manipulations and scheming to smuggle the country into a full blown Islamic state should stop; these manipulations became apparent with the smuggling of Nigeria into the Organisation of Islamic
“The FG must dismantle all legal and institutional framework established to promote Islamic financing in Nigeria.
“We affirm that the territorial integrity of Nigeria is undermined through the issuance of Sukuk in the country. We hope that the government shall desist from its policies of unbridled religious sectionalism,”
WHAT IS SUKKUK?
Sukkuk is an islamic bonds, structured in such a way as to generate returns to investors without infringing Islamic law (that prohibits riba or interest).
Sukuk represents undivided shares in the ownership of tangible assets relating to particular projects or special investment activity. A sukuk investor has a common share in the ownership of the assets linked to the investment although this does not represent a debt owed to the issuer of the bond.
In the case of conventional bonds the issuer has a contractual obligation to pay to bond holders, on certain specified dates, interest and principal. In contrast, under a sukuk structure the sukuk holders each hold an undivided beneficial ownership in the underlying assets.
Consequently, sukuk holders are entitled to a share in the revenues generated by the Sukuk assets. The sale of sukuk relates to the sale of a proportionate share in the assets.
Since the beginning of 2000, sukuk have become important Islamic financial instruments in raising funds for long-term project financing.
By 2011 over more than $19bn had been raised through 30 issues of sukuk bonds on the London Stock Exchange.
The Federal Government in an initially response to CAN, through the Minister of Information and culture denied any plan to Islamitise country.
The Minister Lai Mohammed, said the financial initiative was borne out of the need to include people who are opposed to interest-yielding enterprises.
“Sukuk is not an attempt to Islamise Nigeria in any form. On the contrary, it is an attempt at financial inclusiveness. The difference between Sukuk Bond and other bonds is that if you invest in Sukkuk bond, you earn no interest.
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a senior clergy at the penta coastal church of Nigeria choose the occasion of the Greater Nigeria Pastors Conference convened by Apostle Wale Adefarasin and Rev. Abayomi Kasali to declare that “it was impossible for anyone to Islamitise Nigeria as claimed by Christian leaders
He cautioned that the recent uproar over the country’s subscription to Sukuk Bonds was not justified.
He bluntly stated that “Part of the problem is the failure of Christian leadership to take its rightful place. We focus our minds on something we call the Islamic agenda. We look for it everywhere as if we are looking for demons.
“But where is the Christian agenda. Are we not entitled to one? We are too divided as Christians to have an agenda. The key to the unity and progress of Nigeria is in the church.”
According to him, there were no plans to Islamise Nigeria through the Sukuk bond or the country’s membership of the Islamic Development Bank.
He said that apart from Nigeria, many nations of the world including the United States of America and the United Kingdom had also embraced the system as a result of its progressive nature.
He said, “The Sukuk is an Islamic concept, which enables people to have access to credit. It is essentially like a bond. The US, UK, China, South Africa have all used the Sukuk. Once there is money in the market, let us not get sentimental. The most important thing is for us to use those monies well.
“Some people say there are some hidden things in this arrangement and that one day somebody is going to take us over. Where? How will that happen?
“These are straightforward financial systems used all over the world. I don’t think it presents any real problem. It is a very progressive financial system.
“Nigeria became a member of the Islamic Development Bank in 2005 and the first person to sit as director of the bank was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“The second person to sit as a director is the current Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and both of them are Christians. So, when people talk about Islamic agenda, sometimes I am lost.
“The person who brought us into the bank is not a Fulani or Northerner, the person was a Christian, so why are we complaining? Nigeria is the fourth largest shareholder in the Islamic Bank.
“This wasn’t Buhari’s making. We must have facts before saying things. But above all, we must ask ourselves if being a member of the bank profits us or not.
“For me, I have no problem with this. We can use what we get there to develop our society. This is the most important thing to me”
By now you can see the reason why I chose these three issues because all have the potential to over heat the polity and they represent some challenges to our Cooperate existence as Nation.
It also shows the passion, the bluntness, the nationalistic conviction of the VP to address matters affecting the State without mincing words.
Speaking to the Ohanaeze leaders at the height of Kanu agitations for the actualization of independent Biafran state.
The VP demonstrated similar Nationalistic fervour when he said “I firmly believe that we ought to address these agitations and proclamations urgently and decisively. Burying our heads in the sand and expecting the storm to blow over of their own accord is not an option. But equally not reasonable is falling for the temptation for tit-for-tat. It has never worked or moved us closer to a solution or resolution.
“Government, must deal with these pressing issues and grievances. And we will never shy away from the responsibility to ensure and uphold the peace and security of Nigeria.
“As leaders, we carry the burden to secure the peace, progress and prosperity of our people, and that is why our voices ought to be heard and heard loud and clear at moments like this in the defense and articulation of what is truly beneficial to the nation and the people, and what is right and patriotic”.
The VP in my view is the type of people we need in leadership in Nigeria. People who can speak the truth irrespective of their religious tilt, regional or political persuasion. Every time he speaks you feel the sincerity, honesty, patriotism and the nationalistic fervour in his words.
Next you hear the VP is involved in any National assignment believe in him and expect that the matter would be handled truthfully and deligently as he is not given to frivolity, nepotism and sectionalism.
Today, the VP remains one of the most respected and trusted member of the administration. He commands respect and admired across the political divide.