President Muhammadu Buhari made it a remarkable week for Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo when he acknowledged the humility of the number two citizen, who turned 64 on March 8.
“I’m proud to have selected Yemi Osinbajo as my running mate. He has given a good account of himself since our journey began in 2015,” Buhari announced as he joined other citizens to celebrate Osinbajo’s birthday.
Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman in a statement quoted Buhari as describing Osinbajo as “a reliable and dedicated deputy’’.
Buhari stated that “Osinbajo is not only admirably competent but also exudes confidence and passion in the performance of his job”.
According to the president, the vice-president is a cool-headed gentleman, who puts the interest of Nigeria above other narrow considerations.
“Vice-President Osinbajo is an incredibly patient politician, who demonstrates remarkable intellectual and mental energy in the discharge of his duties.”
The president wished Osinbajo many more prosperous years and God’s continued guidance.
Earlier on March 7, the Presidency released a checklist of what it described as “The Buhari Women” as part of activities to mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).
March 8 of every year is observed globally as IWD. A statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, listed 50 Nigerian women in leadership positions in the Buhari administration.
According to the presidential aide, the celebration provides ample opportunity to reflect on how Buhari honours the womenfolk. On March 8, Buhari hosted former Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who is also the ECOWAS Head of Mission on the Elections in the Niger Republic.
The president expressed satisfaction with the way and manner the Feb. 20 run-off presidential election was conducted in Niger, adding that Nigeria was concerned about security in that country.
The Nigerian leader said: “We are concerned about their stability and I am glad the elections went well. I am happy it was transparent as attested to by most of the observers.’’
Buhari congratulated Sambo and his team for a job well done, stating: “I am glad you came back with good news.”
Also on March 8, Buhari rejoiced with Nigerian women on the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day, describing them as the bedrock of society.
He restated his administration’s commitment to addressing the challenges confronting women at various levels of society.
According to him, several women, including seven female ministers, in addition to scores more are currently in charge of key parastatal agencies as well as serving as presidential aides.
He said that the women were performing well in their respective ministries and agencies.
Buhari, similarly, on March 8, offered his sincere condolences to President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea over the explosions at a military base that wreaked havoc in a city in the country, called Bata.
Over 30 people were reported killed in the explosion with more than 6oo injured in the mishap, which also left homes and buildings in the city with considerable damages.
Also on March 8, the vice-president, presented a keynote address at a webinar organized by Women in Africa in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day.
Anchoring his contributions on the theme of the 2021 celebrations: “Choose to Challenge”, Osinbajo noted that “a child of a mother who can read is 50 per cent more likely to live past the age of five.
“Each additional school year increases a woman’s earning by 20 per cent — two thirds less maternal deaths if mothers finish primary school,” said the vice-president, who is also a law professor.
On March 9, Buhari performed the virtual ground-breaking of three projects namely: the reconstruction of Port Harcourt – Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway Project, the Bonny Deep Sea Port and the Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the event, the president expressed his optimism that rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt–Maiduguri railway would resuscitate economic activities on the Eastern corridor which had been affected by insecurity.
He said the country’s aspiration for nationwide transport infrastructure and railways would be significantly enhanced by the three projects.
On March 9, the Nigerian leader hosted the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Mrs Winnie Byanyima, at State House, Abuja.
Also on March 9, Buhari requested the Senate to confirm the nomination of Mr Ahmad Halilu as the substantive Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency.
Halilu was until his nomination, the acting Director-General of the agency after being the Director in charge of Strategic Space Applications in the same organisation from 2009 to 2019.
The president had on March 10, presided over the 37th virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.
The Federal Ministries of Education, Power and Niger Delta Affairs made presentations at the meeting.
The council approved N500 million as a variation for the completion of a road project in Delta State, 526 million dollars for power projects in Abia, Imo and Benue as well as N190.5 million for the purchase of a microscope for the University of Ibadan.
On March 11, Buhari inaugurated the headquarters building of the Niger Delta Development Commission, 25 years after the ground-breaking ceremony of the building.
The president, who virtually inaugurated the building from the Council Chamber of the State House, commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, for his steadfastness in ending many years of renting accommodation by the commission with the attendant profligacy.
Also on March 11, the Nigerian leader met with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria.
The council is co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.
On March 12, the vice-president paid an official visit to Sokoto State, where he delivered the convocation lecture of the Sokoto State University. While in Sokoto, Osinbajo also paid a courtesy call on the Sultan of Sokoto.
Buhari concluded the week in review with a warning to would-be terrorists and bandits, targeting schools, saying that government would not allow the destruction of the school system.
The president, who gave the warning in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday, was reacting to the gunmen’s invasion of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka in Kaduna State early on March 12.
Buhari lauded the efforts of the Kaduna State government and the early response of the military, which led to the rescue of 180 students, including eight members of staff. He, however, directed that the other missing students must be found and returned safely to their families.
The president also commended the efforts and contributions of local intelligence in thwarting the moves of kidnappers.