Buhari health has in recent times been the main focus of the national attention. Part of the cause of this unwarranted attention stems from the peoples natural instinct and curiosity about the health of its leader and the bad taste left in the mouths of Nigerians from the actions of the Yar Adua cabal during the illness of former President Yar Adua.
To the credit of President Buhari, he has acted with the highest sense of responsibility and confidence. He (in furtherance of the law) handed over power to his Vice President.
His Vice President has (with all due sense of urgency and responsibility) proceeded to carry forward the agenda of the Buhari government with urgency and responsibility whilst bringing to bear on governmental actions his own personal style which is anchored on his experience as a pastor and his background as a legal technocrat in the Lagos state government of former Governor Bola Tinubu.
The performance of Acting President Osinbajo has been getting good reviews in recent times. Some are made to highlight the added impetus perceived to have been brought to the operation of government by the actions of an Acting President free from the debilitating effects of illness (See the financial times article of the last few days “titled Nigeria’s ruling politicians jostle for power in Buhari’s absence” by Maggie Fick).
Other similar articles have been written by local writers which appear to be praising the performance of acting President Osinbajo whilst at the same time diminishing the contributions of the clearly responsible, inherently confident President Buhari in both having the sense of responsibility to hand over power to the Vice President and his obvious good judgment in picking Osinbajo as his vice and empowering him in the first place.
This second group of writers that peddle the unfavourable comparison narrative have a strategy that is anchored on geo-political power competition.
These writers (the second group that is) are mostly from the igbo speaking parts of the South East and Delta state and from the PDP.
Their aim is and has always been to destroy the political alliance between the North and the South West by creating mutual suspicion between the two governing political zones thereby forcing one of the two alliance partners to leave the alliance thereby creating the space for the South East to displace the South West and resume its more traditional alliance role with the North during civilian governments in Nigeria and take the place of the South West and the Yoruba in the government of Nigeria.
Former senate presidents Ken Nnamani and Pius Anyim have at various times said in clear terms that the South East cannot afford to be in opposition nor can they effectively play opposition politics. Ken Nnamani has cited the igbo’s lack of control of the economy, media, seaports or airports as a geo-political weakness which ensures that the South East needs the Federal Government more than the Federal Government needs the South East.
It is therefore imperative for the South East to redirect itself towards accommodating itself within the new power structure of the APC.
This is partly being pursued by large scale decamping to the APC and the use of propaganda to try to destroy the political alliance between the Yoruba and the North.
The initial strategy was anchored on fully supporting the ill-fated GEJ government who effectively ceded real power to the igbos.
In that venture it pushed the narrative mainly to the Yoruba that it would amount to the Yoruba being slaves to the North if it supported Buhari against GEJ at the 2015 Election.
It pushed the narrative of the experiences of Abiola, OBJ , Afonja and Awolowo at the hands of the North. That narrative clearly failed because the Yoruba in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo , Kwara and Kogi voted for Buhari with Ekiti being the sole Yoruba state that voted for GEJ.
After the election, the igbo writers started pushing the line of the South West being used and dumped. It focused on and referenced the supposed plight of Tinubu in failing to get his nominees as ministers (as the personalization of the South West) and evidence of the use and dump strategy of the North against the Yoruba.
Ignoring the fact that Tinubu’s ACN were a major player in the Buhari government with real and powerful roles having been assigned to former ACN members of the APC coalition.
That strategy of divide and rule almost worked but for the activities of IPOB and their inbred disdain for all things Buhari.
Tinubu almost bought into the narrative and the Buhari faction almost seriously considered trying to erect a new alliance with the South East as a buffer against the loss of support from the Tinubu faction.
Tinubu’s possible lack of judgment in that instance was curtailed by the Yoruba ministers and some governors who thankfully brought sense to rein.
It was also helped by Buhari’s people being more flexible and reaching consensus with Tinubu behind the scenes. Additionally, there was serious doubt whether the South East political elite could muster the support of the South east people who seem to defer more to the instructions and propaganda of the IPOB elements.
It is from the same prism that one should therefore view the recent articles negatively comparing Buhari with Osinbajo. Writings from Jideofor Adibe, Nnanna Ocherome, Azuka Onwuka amongst others are aimed at making Buhari view Osinbajo with suspicion and forcing a political divorce between Buhari and Osinbajo (which would weaken both) and by extension a political divorce between the North and the Yoruba.
President Buhari is clearly a man of immense self confidence. He allowed his former deputy Tunde Idiagbon to shine and to operate with freedom.
He is doing the same with Yemi Osinbajo. That is an indication of the strength of character and good judgment. We wish Buhari a very quick recovery.
It is the responsibility of Osinbajo to allow Buhari rest and recover peacefully and to take as much of the problems of Nigeria of the President’s desk before his return. If Osinbajo can successfully place Nigeria on the road to economic recovery by the time President Buhari resumes work then he has done his job properly.
Buhari and Osinbajo are a team. The success of either is the success of the team and the success of the political alliance between the North and the Yoruba.
We wish them well.
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