It is nothing short of a truism that when you consciously or even unconsciously overshadow your superior in most facets of life, you tend to stamp your position as a threat. This is not far from what has befallen the Vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Different conspiracies have emerged in recent time about the budding powers of the anomalous cabal that have taken over the shores of power in Aso rock. Maybe this is just a figment of the imaginations of naysayers but one does not need a microscope to see how the vice president has been undermined in recent time. Although leaders of the rullling APC have underplayed any idea of the VP being side-lined in the governance of the country, recent happenings continue to prove otherwise.
The Osinbajo’s ordeal has been reported to have started during his period as the Acting President of the country during the President’s medical leave. Two prominent issues that have been attributed to this are the emergence of the displaced former chief justice of the federation, Walter Onnoghen as the substantive chief justice of the federation and the removal of Lawal Daura as the Director General of the department of state services on August 7, 2018. Osinbajo had earlier forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the senate on February 7, 2017 and swore him in on March 7, 2017. Based on this critical issues taken by Osinbajo, he was reportedly accused by the cabals of side-lining them in carrying out these critical decisions.
These issues have been consistently downplayed by the All Progressives Congress but the atom-like truth is that there is an issue which has resulted to the Vice President’s power being ‘chipped away at’. First of such step is the floating of the Prof Doyin Salami-led Economic Advisory Council to replace the Osibajo led Economic management team. Although the office of the Vice President expectedly insisted that the scrapping of his management team won’t affect governance in anyway, many saw it as a strategy by the cabals to soften his grip on power. During this period, there have been speculations that the Vice President could be stripped off his brainchild known as the Social Investment Programmes which comprises the Trader Moni Initiative, N-Power, School Feeding programmes among others. This could be seen as a coincidence and ‘mountains’ should not be made out of the ‘molehill’. Although the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, thinks otherwise. The group had opined that the Vice President’s office has been rendered useless, impotent and irrelevant. Whether this is the case is yet to be ‘fully’ seen.
Yes! ‘fully seen’. The recent bustle about the President’s refusal to handover to the Vice President as he is presently on a ‘private visit’ and the fuss about the Chief of Staff’s visit to London to present the Deep Offshore bill to the President for signing gives one something to see but not ‘fully see’. It would be out of place to categorically state that the Vice President’s office has been undermined. This is because, asides the aforementioned issues presumed to weaken the office of the vice president, just few others could give credence to the Vice president being manipulated. Other issues being trivialised is the President’s order that the Vice President should seek presidential approvals for agencies under his supervisions and also the President’s decision to move the National Social Investments Programme (N-SIP) from the Vice Presidet’s office to a new ministry.
Amidst these many obvious issues, a report from PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, 5th of November, disclosed how the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari engineered the sack of the Vice President from the Ruga projects. As if we have not had enough to digest, THE CABLE, an online news platform, also reported that the President on Tuesday approved the sack of 35 aides working in the office of the vice President. The sack was reportedly carried out by a presidential aide but assented to by the President. One underlining idea that could be inferred from these various issues is that they seem to be championed by some other persons’ in the Presidency, maybe THE CABALS.
However, different justifications have been given to this obvious undercut of the Vice President’s influence. Nothing is however as ridiculous as that given by a member of the House of Reps who confidently stated that the Chief of staff is more powerful than the Vice President. One expects a member of the legislature to be guided by the dictates of the sacrosanct constitution of the country rather than actions portrayed in some movie series. Whatever validation given to these power glitches by the ruling party might not be enough. Rather, it could be said that sadly, the learned Vice President could be likened to a PAWN- that chess piece of the lowest value that can move one square forward at a time, with an optional first move of two squares and can take other pieces by moving diagonally and can be exchanged for any other captured piece on reaching the farthest rank of the board.