Does Osinbajo know what happens in Nigeria at all?
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lived the life of the quintessential vice president in the past 14 months of his emergence. There is an old American anecdote that portrays the Vice Presidency as a particularly “irrelevant” post in a presidential democracy. It tells of how one Unlce Tom “lost” two of his sons: “one joined the Navy, the other became the Vice President”.
Perhaps, that is American sarcasm taken too far. In Nigeria, the Vice President is important for three major reasons. He is the Second Citizen and constitutionally empowered to act as the Chairman of the National Economic Council, NEC. Apart from acting for the President whenever the latter is not available, he also carries out many assignments given him by his boss, especially if he enjoys the President’s confidence.
But most importantly, though he acts the role of a “spare tyre” most of the time, he becomes President when the occupant of that position becomes permanently unavailable, as we saw in the case of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former Vice President to the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua. OsinbajoOsinbajo Like all the Vice Presidents our presidential democracy has produced, Osinbajo boasts intimidating academic and public service credentials (dwarfed only by Dr Alex Ekwueme’s multiple doctorates and professional accomplishments).
Indeed, our Vice Presidents (except, perhaps, Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo) have tended to be academic Brobdingnagians but political Lilliputians compared to their principals. Of the lot, Osinbajo towers over Buhari many times over: while the authenticity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s School Certificate (with which he joined the Army to rise to the rank of Major General and Head of State) remains in doubt, Osinbajo is a Professor of Law and an epoch-making former Attorney-General of Lagos State during the tenure of Chief Ahmed Bola Tinubu as governor.
When Tinubu submitted his name to Buhari, the presidential candidate of the upstart All Progressives Congress, APC, as running mate in 2014, the party’s famous (or infamous) propaganda machinery was immediately deployed in his favour.
Osinbajo’s position as a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, was tweaked and burnished to prove that Buhari who accepted him as his VP was not a religious extremist. It is up to you whether Buhari has proved his critics wrong after 14 months as President.
Again, Osinbajo’s wife, Dolapo, is a grandchild of the Father of South West politics, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. As soon as he was picked as Buhari’s VP, Osinbajo, accompanied by top APC chieftains, went to his mother in-law, Chief HID Awolowo’s residence in Ikenne, Ogun State, for blessings which he abundantly got. And to fit into the part of carrying the Awo imagery with him to Abuja, Osinbajo has also been wearing the type of cap popularised by Chief Awolowo. It is another story whether Osinbajo has lived up to the pretensions he and Buhari wore like ceremonial robes during the electioneering days.
As a pastor, he has not shrunk from the lies often associated with many of the APC chieftains and figures in its Federal Government, all aimed at demonising the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. For instance, Osinbajo openly lied that the regimes of Yar’ Adua and Jonathan never built “a single road”. And he made this false claim at a pastors and leaders retreat of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos on February 26, 2016.
The truth is that the Jonathan regime constructed roads in all the six geopolitical zones, including the beginning of the total reconstruction and widening of the Lagos-Ibadan and Apapa-Oshodi Expressways. What a place and occasion to peddle faslehood so brazenly! Osinbajo has, again, trounced the legacies of the Awolowo vision and philosophy which he leveraged on to get the votes of the South West electorate by saying that Nigeria does not need to restructure in order to move forward.
In a lecture at the Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, on Saturday July 9, 2016, Osinbajo declared that Nigeria needs the diversification of her economy, not restructuring, to move forward. He was obviously responding to calls by APC chiefs, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Akinwunmi Abode and some regional leaders of the South East, South-South and South West who echoed the call for true federalism and restructuring as the only way to make Nigeria work.
This is a clear political apostasy for a political leader whose core political platform climbed on the back of Awoism to buy over the South West electorate. The leader of Osinbajo’s faction of the APC, Tinubu, won the governorship of Lagos State and maintained his hold on it till date by posturing as a neo-Awoist. He even wears the Awo trade mark cap and round lenses.
Tinubu successfully fought off rampaging President Olusegun Obasanjo’s quest to “capture” Lagos because he firmly rooted his resistance on Awoist rhetoric. Again, the Tinubu wing of the APC, which was the arrowhead of the Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, promised the restructuring of the country as one of the programmes an APC Federal Government under Buhari would immediately implement on assuming power.
However, observers (including yours sincerely) wondered how oil and water could mix. How could Awoism be accommodated by Buhari’s reactionary Caliphate fundamentalism (Fulani/Muslim/Arewa-centric interests) which favours the centralised Federalism that the military foisted on the nation? At what point would Tinubu and his group begin to pressure Buhari to implement true federalism to prove that, indeed, APC was a properly negotiated political marriage? I have posed this question several times in the past one year. Tinubu’s camp remained mute, though Governor Ambode spoke out for it recently.
The APC appears confused on this matter, as everybody is speaking discordant tunes. But Osinbajo’s unsolicited disavowal of restructuring and true federalism, and his trumpeting of mere “diversification” of the economy appears to have made it clear that the Tinubu political group has abandoned Awoism in order to be accommodated within Buhari’s Caliphate presidential dispensation. It is a sellout, and we have taken note. One more promise has been broken. Next item?
Original Article By Ochereome Nnanna, published under the title “Osinbajo commits political apostasy”