By Chidi Obineche
The Presidency last Tuesday described as unnecessary the projection of an imminent political and constitutional crisis on account of President Muhammadu Buhari’s prolonged absence from office to attend to his health in London. The statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media to the president Mallam Garba Shehu alluded to what he called “ needless sensational and exaggerated speculations by conspiracy theorists” with regard to an article by a Nigerian historian, Max Siollum entitled “ The gentleman’s agreement that could break apart Nigeria”, published in the United States based Foreign Policy magazine. The riposte from Shehu has brought to the fore the simmering indignation on the style of transfer of power to Osinbajo and how he has applied himself to it. In the mix are demanding inactions on the swearing-in of confirmed ministers, assent to the 2017 appropriation bill, allegations of tribalism and nepotism, the cold indifference at last Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting on a row between the north and south east that could leap into monstrosity, and others that impinge on the soul of the nation. The slow grind of the mill in these critical areas may have dire straits on the survival of the nation. As acting President, Osinbajo resembles a Cremona fiddle, forgetting that age but increases the worth of the seat and sets its tone.
As he fiddle- fuddles, the hunch foretells the knell of the parting day. He may be hamstrung by loose winds around him but the wise one homeward plods. Osinbanjo may just be acting president, but the seat is like a fiddle string which must be screwed too tight. He, just like a sitting president must paint pictures on canvas and not join the orchestra that paints theirs on silence. He must hit an elephant’s ass with a bull fiddle, for now and tomorrow. A painter who is colour blind is helpless. The acting president must work in rhythm as a principle underlying all life. As it goes, the violin, according to the Russians, is the princess but the cello is the queen. To that extent, he approximates to the Presidency that Nigerians see and know today. And one may ask; is it that the razor blade is not sharp or that the barber is not good? A little attention to grave matters can free the nation from the tyranny of conscious thought. From William Hazzitt (1778 – 1830), we learn that danger is a good teacher and makes apt people. So are disgrace, defeat, exposure to immediate scorn and laughter. Agreed that the most difficult instrument to play in the orchestra is the second fiddle, but when some people play it, you will dance.
Action expresses priorities, according to Mahatma Ghandi. Osinbajo can rise above the barriers and tickle the ears, and like Thermistocles make a great state from a little city while the music lasts. Some say that he should rise and rule like it is golden , golden, golden, golden. After all…tomorrow is another day.
Born on March 8, 1957 in Lagos. He is married to Oludolapo and has three children. He is a professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and until his inauguration as vice president on May 29, 2015, a Senior Partner with Simmons Cooper Partners, a commercial Law practice. Some of his publications include The Common Law, The Evidence Act and the Interpretation of Section5(a) in Essays in Honour of Justice Elias(1986) (J A) Omotola, ed Pgs 165 -18; Some Reforms in the Nigerian Law of Evidence Evidence Chapter in Law and Development (1986)( J A Omotola and A. A. Adegun, eds) pgs282 -311; Domestic and International for Women: “ Landmarks on the Journey so far” in women and children under Nigerian Law”( Awa U Kalu and Yemi Osinbajo eds) 1990 pgs 231 – 241.