Yemi Osinbajo’s ordeal and the slippery presidential terrain

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Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President no longer needs tutorials on the vagaries of the country’s treacherous politics. He is learning from experience, which has often been described as the best teacher.
What actually informed his decision to jump into the murky waters of Nigeria politics in 2014 to the extent of even accepting to serve as the running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari? That and other questions must be running through the mind of the law professor and Pastor of the populous Pentecostal Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) daily as he remains at the centre of mischief and villainy of Aso Villa, the country’s seat of presidential power.

By now, the Vice President would have recognized that unlike the table in the household of God, where righteousness and holiness guarantee access, in the power game of presidential politics, there is no brother in the jungle of interests.
Did Osinbajo fail to realise on time that politics is the only ‘business’ that brings saints and sinners together on the same table?

Having spent the first four years filled with enthralling benefits associated with his high office, Osinbajo seems to be going through the valley of the shadow of presidential politics, which could be as harrowing as death.

The same vice president, whom his principal, Buhari, entrusted with so many tasks is now being vilified and degraded by the same source. A founding member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) described the unpalatable circumstances around the Vice President in an interaction with The Guardian recently.The elderly APC chieftain said: “What Osinbajo is passing through might last throughout the tenure of this administration. It appears that he has fallen out of favour with powers that once embraced him.Barely a month after a subtle move was made in the Presidency to whittle down the influence wielded by his office, which stirred the hornets’ nest, the news of the sack of 35 aides in his office by the presidency has continued to generate wild conjectures across the country.And coming just a few weeks after he was accused of corruption, which elicited his declaration that he was ready to waive his immunity to face trial, it was if the events were carefully planned to achieve a particular end.

Intriguingly, the two developments took place after the surprise directives from his principal to the effect that all correspondences from the newly appointed ministers should pass through the office of the Chief of Staff, Abba KyariMost observers interpreted the directive to mean that the office of the vice president had been subsumed under that of the Chief of Staff, Mallam Kyari. And while these were going on, in the true character of APC, an organisation that could even engage in self-abnegation, both the Presidency and the party continued to deny the existence of any rift in the Buhari administration, especially between the President and the office of the Vice President.

Then came Buhari’s private visit to the United Kingdom, which was ostensibly for medical checks, without transmitting power to the VP as stipulated by the constitution. As if that was not enough, the President was seen signing a bill into law, which was ferried to him outside the shore of Nigeria.It has become glaring to a miffed nation that despite attempts by Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity, to the President that there is no rancour between the two leaders, the contrary obtains.

Some observers have described the unfolding drama as the manifestation of the true nature of the ruling party, beginning from when it took over power in 2015.

However, the shocking aspect of the entire scenario is that none of the Southwest APC elders or leaders from which Osinbajo hails has made any statement in defense of the VP, despite the calculated attempts to embarrass his office.

A popular proverb has it that: ‘Eewu bę loko Longę, Longę fun ara rę eewu ni’, meaning there is a danger at Longę’s farm. But unfortunately for the Vice President, he does not seem to be extremely careful of situations that could portend danger in Nigerian politics.

Some political actors blamed the odds on the VP’s nonchalance, saying: “Osinbajo’s ordeal did not start today. He ought to have seen the handwritings long ago when his principal deliberately distanced from the National Leader, Bola Tinubu immediately after APC won the 2015 presidential election. And despite Tinubu’s commitment to Buhari’s victory, the former Lagos State governor stayed out of the Villa for almost three years until his services were needed for the second term. The vice president felt comfortable, while his godfather was forced to go on self-exile.

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