I’ve told VP, Tinubu to leave APC—Adebanjo
We’re watching events unfold—Akintoye
VP being undermined, not S/West—Afenifere
By Dapo Akinrefon, Dayo Johnson, Ola Ajayi, Rotimi Ojomoyela & Shina Abubakar
Yoruba leaders have warned against what they described as the ongoing humiliation of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying they would not fold their arms and watch the number-two man degraded by powerful forces.
They said whatever negative that happens to Osinbajo politically is an affront to the Yoruba race regardless of his political affiliation.
Latching on the dismissal of the Vice President’s aides last week by the Presidency, the leaders drawn from different umbrella groups of the race and other eminent persons of Yoruba extraction said recent developments confirmed that there is a plot to disgrace him.
Sunday Vanguard notes that while Osinbajo on the one hand, has not complained about being marginalised in government, the Presidency has repeatedly dismissed reports to that effect.
Marginalised in govt
However, the disengagement of 35 aides of the Vice President from the services of the government was the latest in the series of surprising changes that had taken place in his office at the behest of the Presidency.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in September, replaced the Economic Management Team ,EMT, headed by Osinbajo with an Economic Advisory Council ,EAC, under the chairmanship of Prof. Doyin Salami.
The Vice President had headed the EMT since 2015. Number-two citizens had been heading the economic team since 1999. That was followed by the removal of the supervision of National Social Investment Programme, NSIP, from the watch of Vice President.
The NSIP was moved to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs-a new ministry created this year.
The NSIP is a social scheme which was launched in 2016. However, speaking on the latest development which the Presidency later owned up to, Yoruba leaders said dismissing the aides verified speculations about how poorly the Vice President is being treated lately. A few believed that Osinbajo is not being undermined.
Those, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard include Yoruba leader, Prof Banji Akintoye, Pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere; Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE; elder statesman, Chief Olu Falae; Afenifere chieftain, Pa Ayo Adebanjo; Chief Olusola Ebiseni; Chief Biodun Fasae; Southwest Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Paty, PDP, Ayo Fadaka; Sen Francis Fadahunsi, and Comrade Moshood Erubami among others.
Speaking on the issue, Akintoye warned that the Yoruba would not allow the Vice President to be degraded or dehumanised.
We won’t allow intimidation of Yoruba sons——Akintoye
Akintoye said: “There is a problem that we need to acknowledge. The challenge is that not many facts are coming out about what is happening to the Vice President. We hear a lot of bizarre and weird things.
“I know that quite a lot of things are happening but we do not have definite information about what is happening.
The important thing, however, is those strange things happen to people like Osinbajo and other non-Fulani people serving in this government. One thing though is that we are watching events unfold with keen interest. We are taking note of what is happening to them.
“Nobody should make the mistake of thinking that the Yoruba will be watching and allow their sons to be degraded and dehumanised. It will be very difficult to advice Osinbajo because he holds a high position. But my advice to him is to stick in there and let us see what they will do, then, they will see what we will do.”
I told Osinbajo, Tinubu to leave APC—Adebanjo
On his part, Afenifere leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo said he does not want to be dragged into the matter, saying the Vice President failed to make his presence felt in the Southwest geopolitical zone.
Adebanjo said: “I don’t want to be dragged into the issue. What has he (Osinbajo) done that the Southwest has benefited from? I am 91 years old, all I want is for a better Nigeria. I have told Osinbajo and Tinubu to leave the APC.”
Cabal is at work——YCE
Lending his voice, Secretary-General of YCE, Dr. Kunle Olajide asserted that: “Yoruba people are uncomfortable with the way the Vice President is being treated.
“The signals we are seeing in the public domain appear embarrassing to us. With the events of the last few weeks, it is evident all is not well in the Presidency. I suspect the cabal is at work because of 2023.
“There are tell-tale signs that all is not well. At a time, the economic team of the country was changed. Instead of carrying the Vice President along, he heard it in the news just like I heard it. This is not fair. The President should have carried him along.
“Also, a few days ago, 35 aides of the Vice President were relieved of their positions without any prior notice. I am sure, if Osinbajo knew, he would probably have organised a get-together for them and send them off appropriately.
“Some people were even calling on him to resign. He should not resign. Let him continue to be loyal to the President. A lot of Nigerians still admire him.”
The plan is to humiliate VP—Afenifere
Spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said: “It is to humiliate the Vice President, not the Southwest. He has never supported the Southwest since he became the Vice President. Our indignation at what they are daily serving him without any explanation to the country is more than what we will do if he were an Igbira man or Ogoni person.
Osinbajo should have prepared for eventuality —Ebiseni
Another chieftain of Afenifere and former Commissioner in Ondo State, Ebiseni, said: “There are no complaints from the Vice President to the best of my knowledge. The erudite Law Professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria ,SAN, who also left the serenity of the pulpit where the pastor is adored as an infallible mortal and knowingly took the plunge not only into the murky waters of politics but also among strangers and merciless veterans should have prepared for any eventuality.
‘’It reminds one of T.Y Danjuma as President Obasanjo’s Defence Minister. Hitherto, they were comrades-in-arms when Danjuma was Obasanjo’s Chief of Army Staff. There were no comets seen. But politics and politricks nearly destroyed their relationship, prompting TY’s dictum where he said he left government and politics because he was used to the military where the enemy was known and the direction of bullets determinable, unlike in politics where there is no art to differentiate the enemy from a friend. Osinbajo saw it coming when he opted for the position with its assets and liabilities.’’
Consequences of undermining VP’ll be dire —Fadaka
On his part, Fadaka said: “The APC is certainly not a serious-minded party. This manifests mostly in the pettiness that permeates the Presidency and the attitudinal disposition of its leaders. They certainly do not know that Nigeria is in a very precarious state. Over 85 percent of the citizenry have been driven to penury, health facilities have been destroyed and even patriotism continues to wane. All they are concerned about is to flex muscle with the Vice President. It is a shame that rather than for the Presidency to put on its thinking cap and work to lift our nation out of the deep morass their naive policies have brought about, it is busy intimidating the Vice President.
“I will encourage him to stand firm on his rights and privileges. He must not be intimidated by the arrays of actions targeted against him as the cabal arraigned against him is indeed a lethal and vicious one. It is time for Nigerians too to begin to demand respect for institutions and laws. The President has no justification to drag the affairs of our nation to the United Kingdom. The opinion expressed by some APC leaders that the President can work from anywhere, with due apologies to them and their status, is both patronising and idiotic. I also want to let the Vice President know that he is walking on hostile grounds now. Therefore, he must watch his steps. It is however in the interest of the nation to declare that no accident becomes his portion, the consequences may be dire. The sack of the aides merely represents a pawn on the presidential chessboard.”
It’s not about us —Falae
Also, Falae said: “l take what is happening to him as a party matter. It is happening within the All Progressive Congress government and it has nothing to do with the Yoruba. Their party is not an inter-ethnic coalition, it is a political party. What is happening is internal politics it has nothing to do with ethnicity. I do not want to be involved in their internal politics. It is their problem, not ours. Don’t be surprised that those behind the intrigues may even be Yoruba.’’
Senator Fadahunsi added that: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s predicament has nothing to do with the Yoruba nation. The race should not be dragged into it. The issue is an APC matter and should be strictly seen as such. Professor Osinbajo has never defended Yoruba interest or even taken a stand to show that he is representing the race.
“If the Presidency sought to impeach him, I will, as an individual work against it. But I believe he does not represent Yoruba interest.’’
However, Fasae differed mainly from other speakers, saying there is no cause for alarm. “This is speculative, nobody confirmed it. “The Chief of Staff is the number one errand boy to the President, not the President.’’
Similarly, Erubami, said: “The Vice President has not complained or cried out about any victimisation.
“The laying off of his aides is either for the good of the Prof Yemi Osinbajo or for the betterment of the country.”
It’s not a slap on S’West—Ajulo
Reacting to the perceived ordeal of the Vice President, Dr. Kayode Ajulo said he does not rule out power play but dismissed insinuations that it is targeted at the Southwest.
Ajulo said: “On the Southwest angle, it is not against the region, although some are crying more than the bereaved. In fact, those defending the Vice President are his adversaries in the Southwest. They are envious of his rising stars. 2023 is around the corner. Such a good product is a frontline candidate in any election.
“I don’t agree with the insinuations that the Vice President is being sidelined by the President.
Events in the past have shown that President Buhari sees Vice President Osibanjo as a confidant and someone he could trust. At the same time, one can’t rule out power struggles not between the President and the Vice President but with other senior government officials. Good enough, we have a professor of law as Vice President.
“Legally speaking, while thinking about this so-called ordeal, the case of A.G Federation v. Alhaji Abubakar (2007) ALL FWLR (Pt. 389) 1264 comes to mind wherein the Supreme Court enunciated the duties of the Vice President.
‘’The court held inter alia that: A vice president is not at liberty to refuse to carry out government decisions of which he personally disagrees, or to defy government orders or the authority of the President over him or otherwise to act as if he is an independent executive within the government.
“Similarly, section 148 of the constitution confers a discretionary power on the President to assign responsibility for any business of the government of the federation on the Vice President or ministers of the government. It is clear that the office of the Vice President is in a precarious position and thus there is a need to amend the provisions of the constitution to properly delineate the duties and functions of the Office of the Vice President.
“As it is, if there is any infraction on the powers of the VP, the constitution has a mechanism to correct such anomaly. The National Assembly through its oversight functions has powers to look into any infraction in the Presidency, hence the doctrine of checks and balances. Moreover, the Nigerian Council of State is an organ of the Nigerian government. Its functions include advising the executive on policy-making, they could meet to advice the Presidency and put all things right.’’