Osinbajo has taken the first crucial step that will establish him firmly in the eyes and psyche of Nigerians as someone who is truly playing the role of the President in the absence of the boss.
We can safely say that the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is now properly weaned. He has come of age. He can now walk with assured steps. That is why he has broken loose from strictures and hangups. Before now, he has had occasion to step into the shoes of President Muhammadu Buhari in acting capacity. But at no time has he exercised the full powers of his office more than now. As a polemicist, Osinbajo enjoys sermonizing. He likes to espouse on issues. Sometimes, he comes away as someone on a lecture circuit. Obviously, he is given more to public lectures than real politick.
But this time, Osinbajo has taken the first crucial step that will establish him firmly in the eyes and psyche of Nigerians as someone who is truly playing the role of the President in the absence of the boss. His swift response to the blockade of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) clearly establishes him as someone in control of his office. With his action, the Acting President has uprooted a major stump from the bush of thorns that Nigerians have been made to wade through since Buhari assumed the reins of governance.
What is at issue here is the effrontery of some of the appointees of President Buhari. Following the unprecedented clannishness that Buhari displayed in his appointments, some of the members of the cabal that run the affairs of Nigeria have come to believe that they can ride roughshod over anybody and over anything. They have no respect for democratic norms and ethos. They violate the rule of law at will. They operate with a suffocating arrogance that makes many see Nigeria as a fiefdom of sorts. Their mentality borders on conquest. They do not think that anybody outside their regiment matters. They are the real owners of Nigeria. And they can get away, and have often got away, with any infraction on the surface of the earth.
That was what Lawal Daura, the sacked director-general of the DSS, tried to display when he ordered his operatives to take over the National Assembly. He had a mission, to prevent the leadership of the National Assembly from holding their scheduled meeting. Feelers also had it that he had plans to get senators who were sympathetic to Buhari’s second term bid to commence impeachment proceedings agains the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. By that plan, Daura was set to make himself the Mr. Enforcer of the present democratic dispensation. He clearly abandoned his brief long ago and chose to plunge headlong into dirty politicking. But by his action, Osinbajo has aborted the Daura coup. The former DSS boss set out to topple the leadership of the National Assembly. He wanted to harass them into submission. But the coup failed because the Acting President intervened decisively.
It is a well known fact that Daura operated a DSS that invaded people’s privacy at will. The service, under him, obeyed no court orders. Today, the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki,
is still in captivity, regardless of several bails granted him by several courts. That was courtesy of Daura. As the President’s kinsman, Daura operated with the highest level of impunity hitherto unknown in a democratic order. Buhari, the man that appointed him and his ilk, sees nothing wrong with their ways. Their actions are in line with what he wants. The President has no pan-Nigerian disposition.
He operates from the narrow confines of ethnicity and religion. That is why he has brought Nigeria to its knees. The country is more divided today than ever before. We owe this unsavoury situation to Buhari. Daura is a faithful disciple of this President that has put Nigeria on the reverse.
Another member of the cabal in the mould of Daura is the inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris. The police chief has been acting out the script of the President. He has so far excelled in humiliating the Senate. From Senator Dino Melaye to Bukola Saraki, the story has been that of humiliation. The President’s agents have also, in the name of fighting corruption, brought Senators Ike Ekweremadu and Enyinnaya Abaribe to their knees. They were detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on charges of corruption and other matters. But we are not deceived. Nigerians know the undercurrents.
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It was under the watch of Idris as the inspector-general that the Senate chambers was invaded by thugs. They made away with the mace and there was no consequence. The senator who was alleged to be the mastermind of the embarrassing act is a faithful ally of the cabal. He cannot be touched, questioned or queried.
We can recall that while Buhari was away the other time on his routine medical trips, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) staged a public show. It wanted to be heard. It demanded a referendum on Biafra. Osinbajo, also Acting President at that time, handled the situation with the maturity it deserved. We live in a civil society and issues must be approached with absolute civility. Osinbajo subscribes to this civilised norm. He preaches and practises it. But as soon as Buhari returned, he threw the Osinbajo approach overboard and ordered for a crackdown on unarmed and defenceless members
of IPOB. Many lost their lives in the process. And the cabal cheered and jeered.
That has been our unenviable lot in the hands of Buhari. All of these constitute a serious embarrassment to the country and its citizens. The government that came into office on the wings of populism has become the worst enemy of the people. This time four years ago, the group that formed this government was acting like angels. They painted Goodluck Jonathan and his government in lurid colours. They made Nigerians believe that the best thing to happen to them was to vote them in. They were lucky. They met a quintessential patriot and democrat in Jonathan. He was not interested in tension. He did not want to drive Nigeria to the precipice. And so he allowed the desperadoes to take over.
Four years down the line, Nigerians have come to realise their foolishness. They can see clearly now. The government that promised them heaven on earth has failed them. The people now look back with regrets. If only they had remained with Jonathan.
But they are consoled by the prospect of voting a bad government out in a few months’ time. But the snag here is that the government that has brought them hardship and death is insisting on staying on without the mandate of the people. It wants to remain in office, no matter what the people say or do. That is what has brought us to where we are. That is the reason for the disgraceful conduct of the likes of Daura. But the chicks are coming home to roost. The day of reckoning is fast approaching and those who have been acting on the wrong side of the law are getting even more desperate. They are not likely to be saved, not even by the brigandage and effrontery that we are witnessing.