Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on email@example.com
Many Nigerian politicians are males. They are often reckless and selfish. Not with their concubines scattered around the world, but with their countrymen.
They often arrive in power without money. However, in just a few years, they often get rich, having emptied public coffers and deposited the stolen cash into their private bank accounts at home or abroad.
When they are charged with corruption, they often bribe the judges, and they often bribe, intimidate, blackmail or assassinate witnesses, and are let go. This is often, after bribing officials at the asset declaration bureau, the most corrupt government agency in Nigeria.
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When the judges clear them of corruption, not because they are not corrupt, but because of more bribery, they often use that fake judgement to convince themselves they are clean. What is often surprising is they often begin to believe their own lies themselves after telling them multiple times, even when their records suggest otherwise.
Bayo Osinowo, the Nigerian Senator from Lagos East Senatorial District, who passed away on Monday as a result of complications from COVID-19, may not have been very different from many Nigerian politicians. However, since his passing, thousands of people have come forward, saying he changed their lives and his Senate seat should go to someone with a big heart.
To some, he paid their school fees. To others, he completed their school fees or helped them start a business. To many others he touched, it was constant help for many years such as food, house rent, medical bills or legal fees.
Nigeria is an oil-rich country but an overwhelming number people live in squalor and hopelessness. Those with means with a good heart often try to pull others up. Many do not. Those who do share some love are often beloved and others who spend time flying abroad, enjoying life and running away from the poor are often despised.
Bayo Osinowo seemed to fall in the first category, going by the number of people coming forward and lauding him for the help rendered at critical times in their lives.
“I knew he was a generous man, but thousands and thousands of people are mourning him because of what he did for them even though he was never in the executive and was never even the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly with a budget worth billions when he was there for many terms,” a family member told TODAY NEWS AFRICA.
The family member suggested that his wife should get his seat at the senate as a way of paying the beloved senator back for his good deeds of earth.
Another person at the office of the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said thousands of people were mourning the late senator for the help he gave them while he was still alive.
That other person said the beloved senator would be missed by his political circle, friends and family members, but above all by the thousands of people he helped while he was alive.
Several other people who spoke to TODAY NEWS AFRICA lauded the departed senator for his good deeds.
And it was not just ordinary Nigerians who remembered him for the good things he did. Other politicians remembered him as well.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday offered his deepest condolences to the family of Osinowo and the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the death of Senator Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo, the Senator representing Lagos East senatorial district.
As a member of the ninth senate and a key member of the All Progressives Congress, President Buhari recounted that Senator Osinowo as Chairman of Senate Committee on Industry and member of other committees, worked diligently to advance this administration’s objective of building a better and prosperous Nigeria.
The President affirmed that the Senator’s commitment to meet the needs of his community as a four-time member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, devotion to national development as well as insightful contributions at the floor of the Senate would be fondly remembered and missed.
The President prayed God Almighty to grant the family of Osinowo, friends and well-wishers the fortitude to bear the loss.
The President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said he received with shock and sadness the news of the death of Senator Osinowo.
Lawan condoled with Senator Osinowo’s family, friends, political associates and also the government and people of Lagos State over the loss.
Senator Osinowo who until his death represented Lagos East Senatorial first made his mark at the Lagos Civil Service and also at the Lagos State House Assembly where he served four terms before his election to the Senate, Lawan said.
Lawan said Osinowo served his country creditably as a Distinguished Senator at the Ninth Senate which marked its first anniversary only last week. Osinowo was the Chairman of the Committee on industries.
The Senate President said the pains of Senator Osinowo’s untimely departure will be felt by his Distinguished colleagues and the National Assembly in general.
Lawan prayed for sweet repose of his gentle soul and for God to grant those he left behind the fortitude to bear the loss.
The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila described as shocking and saddening the passing of Sen. Bayo Osinowo.
Gbajabiamila described the late Senator as a fine politician who contributed immensely to the growth and development of Lagos State through his membership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a condolence message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker recalled his engagements with the late Senator all in an attempt to better the lives of Lagosians.
“Senator Bayo Osinowo’s death is a painful loss to Lagosians. Here was a man who dedicated himself to the service of his people. He was always at the forefront of delivering the dividends of democracy to the electorate.
“As a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly for many years, he endeared himself to his constituents through different laudable projects. And as a Senator from June last year until his demise, Senator Osinowo was already proving his mettle.
“At this moment of grief, my thoughts are with members of his immediate family, his constituents, the people of Lagos State in general and the Nigerian Senate,” Gbajabiamila said.
While praying for the repose of the soul of the late Senator, Gbajabiamila prayed God to give his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Senator Osinowo, who represented Lagos East Senatorial District, died on Monday afternoon at the age of 65. He was the chairman, Senate Committee on Industries.
Former Governor of Lagos Bola Ahmed Tinubu also mourned Senator Osinowo, writing in a statement on Monday that his death “deeply hurt him and Lagosians”.
Osinowo represented Kosofe Constituency 1 in the Lagos State House of Assembly while Tinubu was serving a second term as Lagos State Governor. Tinubu left office in 2007.
“Over the years he became like a family member and brother in so many ways. Bayo and I have come a long way, dating back to our days in the pro-democracy struggles. We both enlisted in the Social Democratic Party where he served so well as the Youth Chairman of that party during the Third Republic and later in the Alliance for Democracy in 1998 after the restoration of democracy.”
He said Osinowo contributed immensely for the return of democracy in 1999.
“Bayo’s contributions to the return of democracy were significant and enduring. As a prominent political figure in Lagos, he served with dedication, passion and concern for the common man.
“In the Lagos State House of Assembly, where he was a four-time member from 2003 to 2019 representing Kosofe Constituency 1, he was more than a member of that House. He provided leadership. He was a stabilising figure. He worked hard and tirelessly to make Lagos a better place.
“He cared for all Lagosians. His election in 2019 to represent Lagos East in the Senate demonstrated not only his immense political skills but also the affection the people have for him and his popularity,” Tinubu added.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu also expressed sadness over the sudden death of Senator Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo.
Sanwo-Olu in a condolence message, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile described Senator Osinowo’s death as a rude shock, coming at a time when the State and indeed the entire nation had just started benefiting from his wealth of political and administrative experience.
The Governor said Senator Osinowo’s demise had thrown the State into mourning, urging Lagosians, whose interests the late lawmaker represented at the National Assembly to use his death as a reminder that the battle against the ravaging coronavirus pandemic is far from being won.
“The death of Senator Bayo Osinowo is painful. He died at a time when we have just begun to consolidate on our successes and see a ray of hope in our fight against the covid-19. We must not allow the death of Senator Osinowo to deter us from forging ahead in our quest to finding a lasting solution to the dreaded disease.”
“I am saddened by the death of this fine gentleman; a loyal party man and committed democrat, with a deep understanding of the State’s social and political landscape.”
“Senator Osinowo was an extremely loyal politician, who started his political journey with the progressives and remained in the fold until his unfortunate exit today.”
“There’s no doubting the fact that he would be missed by the entire political class, particularly his immediate constituents in Kosofe, the Lagos East Senatorial District and the State as a whole.”
The Governor added that the best honour to give the deceased would be for government to speedily achieve a turn around in the State’s health sector by ensuring that no single life is lost on the account of poor health.
“We will continue to give priority attention to our health sector, improve on service delivery, trainings and other critical areas in the sector so as to ensure that no life is lost due to poor health facilities.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu condoled with the immediate family of the departed, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Senate, Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan over what he described as the loss of a “dear colleague”.
He also sympathised with members of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos and at the national level as well as the Lagos State House of Assembly.
“I pray that almighty Allah grant the soul of our beloved Bayo Osinowo eternal rest and grant him a place in Aljannah firdaus, he said.