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2023: Professors drum support for Osinbajo’s presidential bid

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A collection of Nigerian professors known as Progressive Intellectuals Advisory Group has backed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s 2023 presidential bid.

The group led by Shehu Adamu, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria, (NOUN), during a visit to Osinbajo, in Abuja on Thursday, called on academics and members of other professional bodies to “participate actively in the task of making Nigeria a better place for all”.

According to the group, they have decided to endorse the vice-president in order not to create opportunities for the wrong people to occupy the political space in Nigeria.

Receiving the 13 professors drawn from the six geopolitical zones of the country, at the Presidential Villa, Osinbajo said, “these days, you find all sorts of pretenders claiming expertise in everything under the sun without any real expertise. So, it is important that academics do not vacate that space to allow all sorts of people to begin to postulate on practically every issue.”

Recounting his experience as an academic who veered into politics, Osinbajo stated that “one of the most important things I recall when I served first as attorney-general of Lagos State was that it is so important for those of us who are in academics to participate because not only are we among the more knowledgeable groups, we have also done more work.”

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“The path that you (the group) have chosen is a crucial one because, in the future, more intellectual groups will take the responsibility that is really theirs. And I think that for those of us who are from academia, it is a privilege that we have the intellectual crème de la crème of our society, and this comes with responsibility.”

He appreciated the group’s endorsement of his presidential aspiration and observed that “if there is any sort of endorsement that has given me particular joy, it is this one; because if one is endorsed by professional colleagues, people who live their lives by critical analysis and evaluation; it is worth celebrating.

“These matters are not to be taken lightly. For a professor to say that he supports a political cause is a weighty matter indeed because you are aware that a lot of reflections go into it.

“But when you have 13 professors all over the country saying that they are aligned to one cause; I am greatly humbled. It is one of those things that don’t happen often.”

He promised to work with them to make a significant difference in the country.

Earlier, the leader of the group, Shehu Adamu, said the visit was to intimate the vice-president on the activities and efforts of the group to support his aspiration to become Nigeria’s president.

He said the academics were convinced of Osinbajo’s capability to lead a more prosperous Nigeria; hence their resolve not only to endorse him but also to offer their expertise and do what it takes to ensure that he emerges victorious.

Adamu said the group will engage in activities, including media engagements, community mobilisation, and partnerships with other professionals, among others, to shape public opinion in a manner that will lead to a successful run by Osinbajo in 2023.

In a similar vein, Chukwuemeka Nwanegbo, the head of the Political Science Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Anambra State, declared that members of the academic community “don’t want to sit back and watch the political terrain disallow you from emerging. So, we want to work with you, other professionals and students to actualise your bid.”