On August 7, Osinbajo fired another Buhari loyalist, the hitherto powerful Lawal Daura, who had, in the estimation of most Nigerians, engaged in a series illegalities
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
The above quote by a German theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, appears apt in describing the two tough decisions that the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, took in the last 10 working days he stood in for his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari is on a 10-day vacation in London. First, was the sack of the former Director General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, a man seen by the Buhari loyalists as the “enforcement face of the cabal,” and secondly, the marching order he gave to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to overhaul the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), whose atrocious and dehumanising actions have attracted sustained public outcry.
READ ALSO: Osinbajo orders overhaul of SARS
Ironically, Nigerian politicians have always likened the vice president and the deputy governor positions to a spare tyre of a vehicle, which is only deployed to work when any of the tyres are bad. Therefore, Osinbajo’s recent decisions, actions and inactions in government have singled him out as a ‘spare tyre’ with a difference. He has also demonstrated over time that, yes, he is “wise enough to stand together” when the occasion demands, just as he is also “strong enough to stand alone” and make tough decisions when situations warrant them.
His first acid test probably came when he was made the acting President, when his principal, Buhari was out of the country to attend to his ill health, which lasted for over three months. His stabilising role in the Niger Delta during the period was perhaps responsible for whatever peace the government enjoys today from the region.
Since the inception of the Buhari administration, three key government appointees have been identified by Nigerians as persons not “fit and proper” to continue to serve in the government of a leader whose greatest asset is personal integrity. And whether by coincidence or design, Osinbajo has been directly or indirectly linked to the exit of two of these three appointees.
For instance, it was a panel headed by Osinbajo that recommended the sack of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, a close ally of Buhari, over corruption allegations. Lawal was fired in October last year after Buhari’s return from medical vacation. If Osinbajo had not led the panel that investigated the matter, he probably would have been the one to axe Lawal too. Again, on August 7, Osinbajo fired another Buhari loyalist, the hitherto powerful Lawal Daura. Daura before his recent deployment of operatives to barricade the National Assembly had in the estimation of most Nigerians engaged in series of illegalities, but the presidency had always looked the other way, thus giving the impression that the former DSS boss enjoyed Buhari’s backing, more so when such illegalities were perpetrated before the president’s eyes. The sack of Daura, therefore, at a time when Buhari was out of the country, whether or not with his consent, was seen by many as a display of rare courage by the acting President.
By this action and others, he has also inadvertently told government appointees in unmistakable terms that he won’t tolerate insubordination. This is evident in the speed with which IGP Idris, a man President Buhari openly told Nigerians disobeyed his (President’s) order, is responding to Osinbajo’s memo to reform the dreaded SARS.
Osinbajo, who enjoys a good working relationship with his boss, Buhari, was born on March 7, 1957. He studied Law in the University of Lagos and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1979.
After his call to bar, he enrolled at the London School of Economics, where he bagged a master’s degree in law (LL.M). After his academic pursuit, he settled to practice the law profession and was admitted into the prestigious position of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
He was appointed Special Advisor to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, SAN, in 1988, a position he held till 1991. He joined the University of Lagos as a lecturer, where he became a professor of Public Law. He was the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice from 1999 to 2003. He became Vice President in May 2015, following his nomination as Buhari’s running mate in 2014.