VP Yemi Osinbajo: suffering indignities from the presidency

By Fredrick Nwabufo


‘’But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also’’ – Jesus Christ in Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:39).

I am not a pastor. In fact, I do not subscribe to the wedges and hedges of religion, but there is, no doubt, wisdom in the teachings of Anobi Isa. The point here is simple, ‘’turn the other cheek’’ even when you are persecuted.

If I may add, this teaching is cardinally about being meek. And what does Jesus say about the meek. He says, ‘’blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth’’.

However, this sermon is not law or a commandment that every ‘’believer’’ must follow or obey; it is just a principle.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is a man of the cloth, and he understands this principle. He has turned a cheek and I believe, he will turn the other if necessary again and again.

But to what end? When does turning the other cheek become folly?

In September, President Muhammadu Buhari constituted an economic advisory council to replace the economic management team headed by Osinbajo.

Also, he instructed the vice-president to seek approvals for agencies under his supervision.

With the directive, Osinbajo seeks approvals for contract awards, annual reports, annual accounts, power to borrow, and power to make regulations, among other key functions.

As I wrote in a previous essay, under the laws setting up the agencies, the president is empowered to give final approvals but this was not adhered to in the era of ‘’change’’. It was politically convenient at the time.

As it is, Osinbajo is/was the chairman of the governing boards of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the National Boundary Commission (NBC), the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Ltd.

Currently, NEMA and the National Social Investment Office (NSIO), which were under his orbit, have been reassigned to the ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management headed by Sadiya Umar Farouq.

On Tuesday, a report by Premium Times detailed how Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the president, allegedly manipulated Buhari to sack Osinbajo from ‘’Ruga projects’’. It really conveyed the pathetic state of the vice-president, who does not even have access to the president.

Really, it appears Osinbajo has been stripped of even peripheral responsibilities such as ‘’condolence visits and food-sampling in markets’’. It seems he is no longer considered good enough for even these pettifogging errands.

On Monday, the Deep Offshore Bill was sent to London for assent by a president, who is on a ‘’private visit’’ to that country. On Tuesday, while in the UK and with Kyari in the silhouette, Buhari sacked 35 aides attached to the office of the vice-president.

“Osinbajo is hoping that President Buhari will rescind the decision,” a senior presidency official told TheCable, maintaining that the sackings were done by a presidential aide, not the president himself.

Although all aides at the presidency are appointees of the president, the 35 were said to have been appointed by Osinbajo when he was acting president and were specifically selected by him.

Really, I believe Osinbajo has been functionally sterilised, foreshortened, abbreviated!

But how much should a man take? Should resigning from office be the way out?

If resigning from office as vice-president was that idiot-proof, why did Atiku Abubakar not resign under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s blitz? In all, the choice is his – to resign or not to resign.

Well, I think, it is neither here nor there. As an individual, resigning from a toxic organisation where insubordination is inspired by the chief executive may be a rational thing to do – in the quotidian workplace.

But at the station of the vice-president, there are many layers of consideration to sieve through. The most pressing is public interest. Naturally, the impact of the resignation of a vice-president will be ‘’tsunamic’’, and it will have far-reaching national security implications.

Also, Osinbajo committed to a ‘’complicated relationship’’ with Buhari; he is a part of the government. He is not absolved of any blame; he shares in the failure of the administration, so ‘’pulling out’’ may not uncomplicate the complication.

If resigning from office as vice-president was that idiot-proof, why did Atiku Abubakar not resign under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s blitz?

In all, the choice is his – to resign or not to resign.

But what would you do if you were Osinbajo?

*Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.