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2019 debate: Osinbajo opens up on life as Buhari’s vice-president

Nigeria’s Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, has shared his experiences working as President Muhammadu Buhari’s deputy.

According to him, it has been a mixed grill of demanding but rewarding experiences for him.

He made this disclosure yesterday at the Vice-Presidential debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group, NEDG, in Abuja ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Osinbajo, who noted that the Nigerian constitution specified roles for the vice-president, also said that there is room for more activity for him depending on the level of trust he shared with President Buhari at specific times.

His words: “First, I am sure that those who know me quite well know that my hair was not this grey when I started out in 2015.

“So, really, it has been tasking but it has also been an incredibly rewarding experience, especially from the point of view of the ability to do things one wanted to do all along as an individual.

“But the role is one where you’re in many senses the chief adviser to the president of the country, and possibly the one person that would represent him even just when he is absent for a meeting as opposed to when he is even absent for longer periods.

“So, there is a sense in which the role of the vice-president already mirrors the role of the president.

“But our vice-presidency is different from the vice-presidency of other countries that have similar constitutions.

“Our constitution actually specifies roles for the VP. He is the chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC); he is also the chairman of the National Council of Privatization (NCP); he is also the statutory chairman of about 22 different parastatals and agencies all defined by law.

“Those who say the role of the vice-president is a spare tyre have it wrong. In our jurisdiction, there are very specific roles that the VP is entitled and empowered by law to perform.

“But still, I think a lot depends on the trust that exists between the president and the vice-president because the president does delegate some of his roles depending on the trust that exists between both parties.

“Where that trust exists, I think there is plenty of room for activity for the VP.

“Finally, I think the role of vice-president is one that also requires a great deal of patience because you may not always agree on policies.”

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