By: Bolaji Adeniji
Since the declaration two days ago of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s well-applauded interest to succeed his boss President Muhammadu Buhari, a section of the media (that does the bidding of the Bourdillon political hegemony) have been conscripted into an agenda to heckle him for that excercise of his fundamental democratic right.
First off, they said by putting his hat into the ring to contest a position which Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had earlier signified interest in, he has acted ‘ultra vires’ in accordance with the biblical Judas Iscariot who betrayed his master Jesus Christ.
Secondly, they said the legitimate aspiration of Osinbajo has the similitude of the 1962 Western Region crisis; which referenced Ladoke Akintola to have betrayed his boss when the former moved to the centre to vie for Prime Minister.
I have always alluded that opinions are free but facts are eternally sacred. The Obafemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola acrimonious contestation of 1962, was an attempted constitutional subversion and leadership tussle between the Western Region Leader and his self-seeking Deputy – to which the latter can be accused of betrayal for trying to usurp his boss’ leadership of the Action Group.
In the current circumstance, Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s meritorious and providential ambition is not in conflict with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s lifelong ambition – for both rights are independently guaranteed; without any ‘usurper’ clause.
The two scenarios are not mutually exclusive and it will amount to paranoia and mischief for anyone to accuse Vice President Osinbajo of betrayal; be it within the Akintola context or an existential reference of previously enjoying Tinubu’s political benevolence!
Those who are desperate to denigrate Osinbajo, should exercise more intellectual rigour to stake their claim against his deserved rights and not via some weak historical distortions to suit a premeditated narrative. What they cannot deal with is the “right of first refusal” which the VP has in the APC ticket race and he cannot be begrudged for it.
Osinbajo and Tinubu have an historical relationship that was predicated on the legally utilised latin maxim – , “Quid Pro Quo” – which means a mutually beneficial transaction, where two parties benefit something for what both are giving out. There were value added to Tinubu by Osinbajo in favour of the latter’s appointment as Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in 1999. Those contributions are archived facts that are unimpeachable.
Several reports are in the media space today, of the valuable contribution of Osinbajo to Tinubu before, during and after their eight years administration in Lagos. Evidenced account of how Osinbajo got the VP nomination in 2015 is no longer a conjecture or hidden facts; which actually credits Tinubu as being “one” of the contributors to that effort – and as such cannot lay a claim of omnipotence over that matter.
After serving for almost eight years in such proximity to the ultimate political seat in Nigeria, displaying uncommon candour and amassing invaluable experience on the seat, will he be denied the inalienable right to aspire for a step up the ladder because his more illustrious political associate and erstwhile executive boss – also aspires for same position?
The often trumpeted phenomenon of “A man making a fellow man” is in this scenario being raised to a height, so nauseating and preposterous. How much of making could a 70 year old man have done to a 65 year old man, if the academic qualifications, professional attainments and career progression of Osinbajo is not even in the mix.
Are we talking about the Commissioner portfolio and the co-contribution to VP nomination as highlighted earlier? These two pale in significance to what the man has personally done with his life outside of those public office opportunities of service. It is constitutionally provided for that a Governor must appoint ‘qualified’ persons into statutory cabinet offices to dispense service to the people.
The valid question to ask is, can the fulfillment of these demand of our constitution now approximate the Governor making those appointees become someone meaningful in life – to the extent of gloating over it and then demand that they be eternally beholden to you – even to the ridiculous extent of such persons killing their legislatimate life desires because it either conflicts with yours or not approved by you?
The abiding principles of democracy predisposes that electoral contests must be done in a manner that allows anyone to aspire within what is allowed and proteced by extant provisions of the law; and not a malicious promotion of an exclusivity of contest – as being done by Tinubu promoters.
They had boasted to high heavens that no one in Yorubaland (especially within the APC) dare contest against Asiwaju. In their jaundiced opinion, it will amount to sacrilege and political harakiri; forgetting that democracy is neither autocracy nor mornarchy and that it is God alone who makes all men and only Him crowns leaders as He wills.
The dynamics of human existence, the law of providence, the force of predestination and the unyielding human spirit – are what moderates life outcomes for all men. Like Frantz Fanon opined on generational responsibility, “Each generation must out of relative obscurity, discover its mission; fulfill it or betray it”. Osinbajo has chosen to chase his destiny and should not be harassed off it.
It is understandable that Tinubu and his henchmen consider Osinbajo’s aspiration as an affront on the ‘Capo de Tutti’; after all, you cannot be empathetic to someone who desires what you also want. However, they must do so without blackmail and heresy.
Importantly, the supporters of Tinubu who are out with these orchestrated media whipping of the Vice President, must know that they are inadvertently opening up the ‘Big Elephant’ for more censure; because, to every action, there will be a reaction.
Osinbajo has not betrayed Tinubu in any way. He is the Vice President and by official position, the deputy national leader of the APC. Whatever appelation Asiwaju enjoys have been largely honourary and must not be stretched beyond the limits of its validity and influence.
Everyone on both divide must excercise restraint in order not to spiral an engagement that will be deleterious to the image of the principals and the party by extension.
Bolaji Adeniji is a Communications Consultant and APC stalwart from Ogun State.