Nigerians are watching the unravelling of a fascinating story of political skulduggery in the ongoing saga of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What we may perceive as a passing fancy is becoming a bruising and humiliating experience for Nigeria’s Number two citizen. We may be tempted to say that Nigeria’s democracy is going through a new phase where sacred cows will soon be a relic of bygone era.
However, Osinbajo’s embattled political destiny may have divided the nation into two camps. Those who are savouring the excitement of seeing a seemingly harmless and clean-skinned politician being thrown deep into the miry clay of public shame and accusation of corruption. On the other hand are the outraged and concerned Nigerians who see a dangerous and systematic desecration of Osinbajo’s sterling integrity, loyalty, patriotism and his wider Yoruba tribe. Yes, the unfolding event may be unavoidable hiccoughs for a healthy and evolving democracy, but to take that point at face value without an honest and proper appraisal of who is really hunting and hounding the Vice President would amount to serious injustice. To your tent, O Oduduwa!
The charges against Osinbajo, no matter how cautious is our neutrality, raise a natural scepticism. The embattled Vice President, we are reliably informed, faces a serious allegation of mismanaging $250m that was allegedly withdrawn from the country’s tax service to fund the ruling party’s election campaign. The allegations are being spread by a former deputy spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank and his co-traveller called, Katch Ononuju. Viewed objectively, the charges are legitimate if the purpose is to dissuade our public figures from corruption and mismanagement of public money.
However, my scepticism in the Osinbajo’s case is heightened by its timing and the manner of its persecution which, taken together, raise valid and important questions. Of all the corrupt politicians in Nigeria, why did Frank and Ononuju singled out the VP for this rare political comeuppance? Are both Frank and Ononuju fantasists looking for a bruising realism of their workshop fantasy?
Are we seeing the beginning of a scare tactics to dissuade Yemi Osinbajo from his 2023 dream of ruling this embattled country? Are we embracing a reckless and dangerous game of political elimination of the Yoruba tribe before the beginning of the 2023 race? What gain is there for these two rebel rousers in pursuing a career of unparalleled feather ruffling? To your tent, O Oduduwa!
What is catalysing this political enigma is the increasingly fractious relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo which is, in no small way, generating powerful alarm among the Yoruba tribe. Under the Vice President watch, President Buhari dissolved the Economic Management Team (EMT) chaired by Osinbajo, while naming an 8-man Economic Advisory Council (EAC) which will report directly to him, as a replacement. There are also widespread insinuations that President Buhari is planning to strip the VP of his brainchild Social Investment Programme (SIP) which comprises the TraderMoni Scheme, N-Power, the school feeding programme, among others. I daresay, to your tent O Oduduwa!
Yes, Yemi Osinbajo has his own faults, flaws and frailties. One observable paradox of his character set is the immersion in APC political project. His immersive obsession in defending President Muhammadu Buhari’s political aberrations when silence would have been golden. There is also his embarrassing and fawning attitude towards his boss and the Fulani cabal who coil around his neck like poison ivy. We should however not misconstrue his intention. Yes, we can give it to him and say that this professor of law is not taking care of carnal comfort by his obsessive subservience to the power cabal, but that he is holding fast to the Yoruba tenet of omoluabi (someone born into honour and dignity) that is having a resurgence among the Yoruba people.
As an enthusiastic enforcer of public accountability and morality, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has avowed to set aside his immunity in order to defend the charge of corruption against him. This is Osinbajo at his best. In spite of the brutalising damage to his public standing as a torch bearer for probity, dedication, service to the fatherland, his action, after the allegation, continues to encode a message for hope, strength, loyalty, honour and steadfastness.
But in a boisterous water of Nigerian politics, Professor Osinbajo has one big thorn in his flesh. His academicising of politics as a clean, rather than dirty game, especially in Nigeria’s heated political realm, shows how easy it is for bruisers, cons, manipulators, demagogues, opportunists, feral rebels and traitors to form a confederacy of adversaries against the truest dream of Osinbajo come 2023. Enemies are out to defile Osinbajo from entertaining any notion of running for the presidency in 2023. Ah, to your tent O Oduduwa!
Only recently, Governor of Kaduna State, Malam El-Rufai sprayed and fouled our political space with a depraved and salacious scandal by announcing an end to power rotation. Vainglory is essentially one of El- Rufai’s great attributes. Whether the statement was real, imagined or fabricated, it reinforced that twin engines of capture and dominance that have continued to be the ugly political legacy of our national politics. His kite flying antic may encapsulates the cosmic wish of the Fulani crusaders. The North could be irrational, power-drunk, arrogant and ungrateful. This political recantation from El-Rufai is unfortunate. Fulani/Hausa must not undermine the sanctity of that rotational arrangement through sheer dare and arrogance. They must not undermine the return of power to the south either through Osinbajo, Tinubu or any southern hopers who may try their fortune on the political field.
Not too long ago this venomous, arrogant and direct talker called El-Rufai raised a storm by lobbing a grenade against the Jagaban of Borgu,
the Asiwaju of Lagos and the National Leader of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. His argument, narrative, polemical assault, crude vulgarities and disrespect for Tinubu were all designed to cause disquiet among the Yoruba. Yes, El Rufai is a child of radical politics and a dedicated apostle to political belligerency that seeks to destroy hierarchical monolithic foe like Tinubu through polemical interventions, grandstanding and bluff. I daresay that this narrow, Northern, egotistical opposition against Yoruba president in 2023 is a delusion- a delusion seriously blinkered by a disturbing Fulani hubris that will blow on their faces.
On the other hand, the Yoruba are faced with a contentious moral choice come 2023 between the irrepressible ambition of Bola Tinubu and the natural evolution of Osinbajo to the Number One seat. We are in a politically surreal times that call for courageous intervention to prevent further wholesale assault of Osinbajo from the hands of few Fulani cabal within Aso Rock. In its own intervention, Afenifere is in a deadpan armlock with President Buhari government over his shabby treatment of Osinbajo, a proudly omoluabi son. Another interventionist, fiery Pastor Tunde Bakare has issued an expedient warning against humiliating Osinbajo out of office.
The youths of Ondo state, with collective solidarity passion, have protested against the disrespectful treatment of their hero. However, from Bola Tinubu, there is a grave and disturbing silence over the political holocaust facing Osinbajo. Tinubu is the all-purpose maypole where APC’s start-and-end game revolves. The idea that the Vice President faces a sack from office is provocative and we are in that momentum where Tinubu should arbitrate, first, as national leader of APC and secondly as a Yoruba man. Thirdly, he has to clear the damaging innuendoes orbiting the social media space that he is the architect of Osinbajo’s shocking travail. The supposedly offensive anachronism of shunting aside and betraying our own Yoruba tribe from our tick-tock politics have turned a sizeable chunk of the so called Yoruba leaders into wall-to-wall raving black cougars bent on self-sabotage. Betrayal is being helped – sad to say – if at this moment of blanket clampdown on Osinbajo and Tinubu is not ahead of the pack calling for condemnation and standing shoulder to shoulder with him. The art of daily worship in the Bourdillon grove of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, where political supplicants must live a life of obedience to his will or have his demons all over them should end now!
Aso rock cabal is real. Its deep symbolism is immediately apparent in Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, his appointments, his clamp down against southern opponents and critics of his administration, his desire to Islamise Nigeria and the perpetual war he is waging against social media activists. It is so bad now that the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has to ask the imperial permission of President Buhari to even laugh or use the Aso Rock toilet!! His bludgeoning demand for restructuring and state police has opened the door to Fulani predators to demand that Osinbajo be flung out of the window. Ah, to your tent O Oduduwa!
This is the time for Yoruba leaders and the people of that tribe to stay their nerves and unite in the face of provocation and disgrace of their son. There must be a coalition of minds, hearts, purpose and vision. Power must shift and shift effortlessly to the South come 2023. El- Rufai’s feather ruffling and grandiloquent statement, the cabal scare tactics and the antipathy of President Buhari towards his Vice are all political schemata that are destined to fail. So, to your tent O Oduduwa!!
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