Health Sector Reform committee

By Idris Zekeri (Jr)

Following the unimpressive persuasive quality of their previous narratives, those who require Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to wash his hands off the 2023 race for them to stand any real chance of success have settled on a new one.

Without evidence, as is now characteristic of them, they are selling the notion that a certain ‘trust deficit’ exists between the Vice President and his principal and that this unabridged deficit will not only see him forfeit the President’s endorsement, but will also aid the emergence of a known but unnamed candidate.

The only basis provided for this ‘trust deficit’ – a phrase repeated in all the reports planted in the press to promote the propagandistic claim, and one that betrays the effort as the product of an orchestrated plot to bias public opinion – were the actions of the Vice President when he stood in for the President in an acting capacity.

One of the unseemly actions Osinbajo took as Acting President according to these persons, was his defense of democracy and firm condemnation of the invasion of the country’s parliament by armed men in an unauthorized operation that earned Nigeria headline mentions on international platforms as an “unstable state with weak democratic institutions.”

For them, despite being trusted with power and the management of the country’s affairs by his principal, the legal professor should have sat on his hands or ignored a crisis that shook the entire country and rankled global partners who relied – and still rely – on Nigeria as a trusted force for the sustenance of constitutional democracy and the rule of law.

Blinded by politics, a flaw that reveals their unfitness for power, they are reiterating that their evaluation of the utility of any decision starts and ends with a question: how does this help my quest for power? Their impaired moral compass serves only the self and they will not mind watching the country burn so long they remain seated, magisterially, over the ashes. Nobler concerns for stability and useful precedence amount to a ‘weakness’ in their estimation.

These narcissistic and selfish tendencies are what they project on others. It is why they remain insistent, without a single proof beyond their self-imposed mind-reading abilities, that the President remains cross with the Vice President for doing exactly what he charged him to do: act decisively and follow his conscience on important matters of state.

It explains why they amplify the false narrative of a ‘trust deficit’ in spite of the obvious good relationship the Vice President enjoys with his principal beyond even the sphere of public service obligations. It is visible to any unbiased observer that in Vice President Osinbajo, the President and his kin have found a loyal and dutiful patriot whose fixation is not on self-promotion – unlike his scheming traducers – but a genuine desire for national growth and development. It is a cause to which he has devoted himself for many years and why his depth on some of the country’s existential problems dazzles local and international stakeholders.

They have not limited their bizarre projections to just the Vice President. These individuals, most likely recruited and mobilized by an interested but shy candidate for 2023, are also claiming to speak the minds of all the Governors elected on the platform of the APC.

Abusing a position that can only be best described as ‘first among equals’ for purely organizational – not hierarchical – purpose, they continue to offer a false portrayal that the Progressive Governors are marching in a single file, whether in favor or against, a candidate ahead of 2023. By so doing, this individual and his cohorts have reduced colleagues, who are just as influential and with their own set of convictions, to the rank and file position.

It goes without saying that as important stakeholders in national polity and partisan politics, the Governors will have a say on who emerges as both the flagbearer of the APC and the eventual winner of the general election. But to offer a picture of unanimity where there is none, especially in a situation contrived to further your own interests, is a betrayal of trust and an act of desperation taken too far. To suggest that your colleagues are on your strings and will toe a line that advances you is both degrading and insulting.

The choice of a preferred candidate traditionally follows independent analysis and careful considerations. Every Governor, whether in the APC or PDP, will carry out these deliberations on their own and in consultation with trusted parties before reaching a definite decision. As it stands, they each have their sympathies as permitted in a democracy. And their positions will become manifest with time.

Those consumed with the mission of influencing public opinion with false narratives that there is a storm against the Vice President that renders his candidacy ‘uncertain’ are only expressing their fears that the opposite appears increasingly true. Perhaps they think repeating a lie will earn it the legitimacy of truth. But this blatant, easily dismissed falsehood can only create a ‘trust deficit’ in one way. And it’s not between Prof. Osinbajo and the President, but rather between them and the general public who can see through the mendacity.

Idris Zekeri (Jr) is the National Coordinator, The Democratic Reformers.

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