Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says holding political office is more of an opportunity to serve and impact on lives of millions of people than the prestige that comes with the position.
His spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, quoted the vice-president as making the assertion at the unveiling of a book titled “Deputising and Governance in Nigeria’’.
The book was authored by the governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje.
The book launch was part of the programme at a workshop where the roles of a deputy to an elected public official, especially vice- presidents and deputy governors came under public searchlight.
The workshop featured reminiscences by former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was deputy to deceased President Umaru Yar’Adua, Osinbajo, the author himself and his deputy, Alhaji Nasir Gawuna.
“A thought that runs through the book is that in spite of the put-downs of the office, being political number two is important.
“This is because political office is about the lives of millions of people and not just about the prestige of office.
“In our constitutional democracy, the effectiveness of the number two citizen, the vice-president, depends a great deal on the trust reposed in him by the president.
“That is a function of loyalty and it goes both ways as Ganduje points out in his book,’’ Osinbajo said.
The vice-president highlighted the importance of dedication, loyalty and service in political office on governance.
He described the relationship between him and his boss – President Muhammadu Buhari, as ideal and exemplary.
“I am more fortunate than others in my relationship with my principal, the president who genuinely believes in the role of the vice-president.
“At a time that he was embarking on medical leave, there were a few things that were outstanding to send to him.
“All he said was: “I don’t want you to send me anything, it is your job now, just make sure you do a good job,’ ’’ Osinbajo recalled.
Osinbajo said that as former President Jonathan said of his relationship with late Gov. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa, Buhari did not expect him (Osinbajo) to call him when he was away.
“He expects that I know what to do and should do it,’’ he noted.
The vice-president drew an analogy of the spare tyre widely used to describe the role of the deputy to the president.
He explained that a better description would be that of the relationship between a pilot and his deputy in an aircraft.
“Imagine a commercial flight with people, including you on a plane, there is the captain, and then there is his deputy.
“The captain flies the plane, but no human being can be completely focused for several hours.
“So, sometimes he gets up and goes to the bathroom while the flight is on; his deputy had better be a good pilot, otherwise lives are at risk.
“Can you imagine a situation where the captain leaves the cockpit briefly and you hear an announcement from the cockpit: “ladies and gentlemen, I am the deputy to the captain; the captain is in the restroom, and I am only a spare tyre and I am not sure what to do now?”
“If you are in that plane you will ask God for forgiveness for expecting that a deputy or assistant plays no role,’’ he said.
Osinbajo observed that the book was full of wisdom and wit from a practical politician and erudite social scientist, Alhaji Ganduje.
“Ganduje is worth studying not because he has always succeeded politically, but because he failed many times, yet he always knew how to lose and not get lost.
“This book is not about Ganduje and his achievements, it is more of a textbook on governance and politics.
“And we have heard this most eloquently from Prof. Attahiru Jega, the book reviewer today; it contains important nuggets on those two subjects,’’ Osinbajo said.
The vice-president recommended the book to everyone, not just politicians, but anyone who had any kind of interest in good governance.
Dignitaries at the event included the APC vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Kashim Shettima, who represented the party’s presidential candidate, Sen. BolaTinubu, Govs. Babagana Zulum (Borno), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe) and Abdulrahman Abdulrazak (Kwara).