By Fola Ojo
The sickening state of the nation’s economy is his bother. The widespread brutish stratum of insecurity is a nauseating nag on his neck. Kidnappings here, killings there will always be unsettling for a patriot like him. For Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the anointed man of God, and the man of the law, there are now surreal signs and grotesque indications that these aren’t good times for Jacuzzi gyration in the murky waters of Nigerian politics. Without a doubt, this is a turbulent season to be the second-in-command to a man called Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani man from Daura.
Commonsense and life experiences have both recently revealed that there is an ugly agendum to strip Osinbajo to a political bare bone; silence his vice-presidential voice from leaving a mark in the minds of Nigerians as a jolly good fellow; and then sideline him from the team of men making crucial decisions about governance; a vow he jointly made with Muhammadu Buhari as leaders set to rebuild Nigeria against stacking and staggering odds. I expect Osinbajo’s aides to stoutly deny all of my submissions; that is what they are paid to do. I am also cocksure that his adherents will debunk what our political radar is picking up.
Events in the last few weeks, however, have obviously shown that somebody tucked out somewhere in the crevices of the purlieu of power beholds the pastor as a formidable threat to their dreams. Who that is, we know not; or whose interests they serve are both gauzy and hazy. There appears to be a determined, almost diabolical effort to railroad this VP who is believed to be running faster than a deer to succeed Buhari. They want to kick him to the stinking curbs of irrelevance in the present power play. This is now for them a task that must be done as we glide closer to 2023. There is no jot of assurance that Osinbajo wants to be President. Even to his close pals, a few of whom are my friends; he has not spoken one word in this regard. We have been told and warned by hawks who gloat after power that the tussle for who is crowned as President in Nigeria is food for “Adults Only”, not political babies in oversized diapers. For long, we foresaw the unfolding events. The anointed is now in an epic battle for political survival with the annoyed.
Nigeria’s constitution expressly makes clear the executive functions of the Nigerian vice-president which include participation in all cabinet meetings and, by statute, membership in the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, and the Chairman of National Economic Council. His relative power, however, depends upon the duties delegated by the President. The difference between the offices of the President and Vice-President is a yawning gulf. Every Vice-President serves at the pleasure of the President. In nations around the world, even in developed countries like the US, the VPs are largely errand boys except if the President decides he should have a taste of the pudding of power.
Last month, after inaugurating his cabinet, President Muhammadu Buhari decreed that all ministerial authorities be routed through his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, for approval. Matters concerning the Federal Executive Council were also instructed to go through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha. This may be routine in other climes; but in a disjoined and disorganised system like Nigeria where politics comes before commonsense, and surge for power by every means necessary is advanced before love of country, it casts a dark and evil cloud of suspicion over the terrain.
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with an apparatchik in the Presidency for five hours in Houston, Texas. I told the bigwig that things would get worse for the VP as time went on. He would be insulted more; and assaulted without limits. Bit by bit, our words are coming to pass. A few days ago, the Economic Management Team presided over by Osinbajo was scrapped and replaced by an Economic Advisory Council whose members will advise the President on economic policy and other matters. This group of notable professionals will report directly to the President. Osinbajo heads agencies like the National Emergency Management Agency, the National Boundary Commission, the Border Communities Development Agency and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd. The liberty to award contracts and perform other duties of impact will now have to be approved by the President, not the VP. What may be left for my pastor is the peripatetic assignment of sharing TraderMoni to the poor all over Nigerian hamlets and huts. That, too, may soon become a blighted ovum. The powers-that-be are ‘killing’ Osinbajo softly.
The requirements for holding the reins of power in Nigerian politics are more than the endowment of good ideas; prowess of good speeches, and the display of good manners. The game is ruled by very ugly unwritten intrigues; and you learn as you go. A player in the game who doesn’t understand this will cheaply become a sheep for the slaughter.
In Nigeria’s anal of history, after Goodluck Jonathan as the VP, Osinbajo, in my opinion, is the most overused, abused and bruised. Even as sitting VP, they called him a ‘common commissioner’. The Church in Nigeria is railing on him; prominent bishops and pastors hate his guts; his friends in the South-West are now gradually turning against him because of 2023; and haters of Buhari from all over Nigeria hate him because he is the VP to a man they hate. The cabal in the Presidency with its own agenda will not let Osinbajo sleep sweet. This pastor is fighting political wars that have turned personal from at least four fronts because he chose to serve his country. Worse days of fights are ahead of this Professor of Law. He must get ready for the boisterous headwinds of brutal politics that pastors and prophets around him may be unable to handle with just a sprinkle of the anointing oil and rattling in unknown tongues.
Hustlers for power must not forget that there is still a God in heaven who rules in the affairs of men. It is He who makes the final call on who becomes what and when. A friend who once worked in the Nigerian Presidency when the amiable Umaru Yar’Adua was President, and Jonathan was his deputy told me some stories a few years ago. My friend witnessed firsthand many events where Jonathan was rubbished, insulted and verbally assaulted. Jonathan was barred from attending some crucial meetings. And on issues concerning the Niger Delta people, a powerful governor from a Niger Delta state was the audible voice in presidential meetings. The governor was propping himself up and hatching to replace Jonathan as the VP candidate with Yar’Adua in the 2011 presidential run. Jonathan was weakened, discouraged and disenchanted. If the decision was solely his to make, he would have resigned and returned to Otuoke in Bayelsa, according to my friend. But there was another plan in the realm of the spirit that outwitted the knowledge of man. Jonathan was encouraged to hold on. By fate, and by the design of the Giver of Power, Jonathan became President. Those who thirst and salivate after power must never forget the equation of God who gives power to whom He deems fit. He is always God in heaven who does as He pleases. With His fingers, He shows Himself as the Writer of our stories. What He writes cannot be rewritten by the fingers of men. All power in heaven and on earth belongs to God; not to mere men who think they are The Mighty God.
CULLE FROM PUNCH