Sad Or Happy? Where Osinbajo Stands Given Buhari’s Independence Day Speech
Beyond all doubts, indications are rife that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is in the most critical times of his political career and so may not be the usual happy-go-lucky man he’d led the world to believe he is.
Part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 59th Independence Day Speech may well have further put credence to the widely-held claim that a seed of discord has been sown between him and his next-man-in-command. In the speech, Buhari had hinted that the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) might be moved from the office of Vice-President.
The initiative, which the president had admitted was fully Osinbajo’s brainchild shortly after the last presidential election, is one of the major avenues through which the current administration is empowering the masses and it’s currently coordinated by the office of the VP.
In his Independence Day broadcast, Buhari said the newly created ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development will consolidate on the achievement of the scheme.
His words partly read; “Our ongoing N500 billion Special Intervention Programme continues to target these vulnerable groups, through the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power Job Creation Programme, loans for traders and artisans, Conditional Cash Transfers to the poorest families and social housing scheme.”
This development had surfaced barely two weeks after Buhari disbanded the Osinbajo-led economic management team and set up another made up of; Prof. Doyin Salami – Chairman; Dr. Mohammed Sagagi – Vice-Chairman; Prof. Ode Ojowu – Member; Dr. Shehu Yahaya – Member; Dr. Iyabo Masha – Member; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo – Member; Mr. Bismark Rewane – Member; Dr. Mohammed Adaya Salisu – Secretary (Senior Special Assistant to the President, Development Policy).
“The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) will advise the President on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies. The EAC will have monthly technical sessions as well as scheduled quarterly meetings with the President. The Chairman may, however, request for unscheduled meetings if the need arises,” a statement from the presidency reads.
In the same breadth, Buhari had also ordered that Osinbajo seeks approval for agencies under his supervision. Some of the agencies Osinbajo chairs are; National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the National Boundary Commission (NBC), Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), National Economic Council (NEC), a constitutional body made up of state governors and key federal government officials, as well as the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).
If the foregoing was an injury, it was further compounded by dirts targeted to smear him by his detractors. One of such was hurled by Frank Timi, a former chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who alleged that the vice president had illegally collected N90billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Though Osinbajo had denied the allegation and said he was ready to waive his immunity to be investigated, Timi, has continued to dare him to proceed to court over the matter.
It’s no news that the president has been the one tending to less serious issues like condolence visits, paper presentations at functions across various industries amidst other degradation of the office of a vice president.
So bad has the person of vice president being smeared by even online trolls, one of whom was Yakassai, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje’s aide. Many would recall Yakassai made the mockery remark via his official Twitter handle @dawisu, while responding to a tweet by one @bhulaskonsult. @bhulaskonsult had asked, ”It seems everyone in Nigeria is in New York for 🇺🇳 UN Assembly?.” However, responding, Dawisu said, ”Vice President (Academics) is still around sir.”
These developments had been described to be the end result of 2023 presidential ambition of some power mongers, and in which Osinbajo himself has also been alleged to be startlingly keen.
In and outside the government, a few persons said to have the president’s ears have also been fingered as the ones behind Osinbajo’s travails. Allegedly, some of the vice president’s sins, if not all, are the sacking of the former DSS boss, Lawal Daura and the confirmation of Walter Onoghen as the Chief Judge of Nigeria after his time as the acting CJN had elapsed. These among others may have been the unpardonable hurts the Aso Rock cabal had waited till now to avenge.
So, on the occasion of Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary, it appears there are really not much suggesting that Nigeria has a happy vice president no matter how resplendent Osinbajo looks is in his garb of comfort.