BY SIMON ATEBA/WASHINGTON DC
President Muhammadu Buhari treats Acting President Yemi Osinbajo like his brother and son, Mr. Osinbajo said on Thursday in Katsina state.
President Buhari, who hails from Katsina, is in London battling an undisclosed ailment, and Mr. Osinbajo’s declaration could have been an attempt to reassure the President’s kinsmen that they should be comfortable with him in power and treat him also like their son.
There have been rumours that the northern elite had asked Mr. Osinbajo, a Christian from the southern Nigeria, to resign and pave way for a northern Muslim should President Buhari become unable to complete his term in office.
The President returned to London on May 7 after a previous trip on January 19 for medical treatment there. His health had worsened in recent weeks, taking him away from work and triggering calls that he should step aside.
The Acting President was speaking at a gathering of small scale businesses, industry and stakeholders across the public and private sectors involved in developing the micro, small and medium scale enterprises in the country at the launch of the Katsina State’s MSMES Clinic in Katsina.
The Acting President said President Muhammadu Buhari knows Nigeria’s capacity is limitless in terms of what we can produce.
“When he gave the 2017 budget speech in December 2016, the President said the central vision of our government is to grow everything that we would eat and to make everything we would use,”
Professor Osinbajo said the Federal Government’s newly launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) places high premium on the nation’s capacity to grow it’s export potentials rather than continue on the unsustainable path of total dependence on import.
He said the focus of the Plan is to develop “the capacity of Nigerians to do everything that we need internally; to become a net exporter of the various things that we are importing today.”
Explaining Federal Government’s reason for the inauguration of the MSMEs Clinics that is now going round major cities in the country, Prof Osinbajo stated that it was designed to give small businesses the opportunity “to meet with the industry regulators, to talk to them and to hear their problems”, adding that he was so excited to see not only business men but women who are focussed and serious about their businesses.
He explained that the idea of the MSMES clinics which he has personally attended for the fourth time now is the Buhari administration’s effort to close the gap between MSMES and relevant FG regulatory agencies like NAFDAC, CAC, SON, BOI, FIRS and others and ensure that those agencies become facilitators of businesses not obstacles to business development.
Giving an insight on the personal and official relationships he has shared with the President, Prof. Osinbajo disclosed that ” the President has been treating me as a brother. In fact the President has taken me as a son in the way he treats me.”
Continuing the Acting President noted that going by the amount of responsibilities President Buhari has given me, it shows that he seriously believes that we can live as brothers in this country. He seriously believes in the unity of Nigeria. I pray the Lord will preserve our President to continue to lead us just as the nation has voted him to do.”
The Acting President who earlier paid a visit to the Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, also spoke about his close relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari at the palace reception saying “one of the reasons why I feel very much at home in Katsina State is because this is the State of our President, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has taken me more like a brother; in fact sometimes more like a son than a Vice President.”
He commended the Government and people of Katsina State for being a role model in terms of peaceful co-existence of all ethnic tribes and religions in the State.
Prof Osinbajo who declared the MSMEs Clinic open, was accompanied to Katsina by the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler and Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu.
He also spoke about the imperative of a one indivisible and united Nigeria, emphasizing that the nation’s diversity is its strength and noted that “Katsina State is the home of a United Nigeria.”