Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pitting Buhari Against Osinbajo

By Wale Sokunbi
The Presidency on Monday raised an alarm on what it believes to be a plot to cause a division between President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. The Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, described the trending comparisons of Buhari and Osinbajo as the handiwork of those who do not wish the country well.  He also said it was a ploy by the opposition to cause unnecessary division between the two men who share a joint ticket.
*Osinbajo and Buhari 
He was quick to say that Osinbajo was only carrying out the economic policies of the government which the public was only now beginning to feel their impact. As he put it, “it is not a question of one person being better than the other.” Even Osinbajo’s visit to the Niger Delta, he said, is an initiative of the president, and the attempts to divide the two men can only rob Nigerians of the dividends of democracy.
The concerns of the Presidency over what appears a direct effort to pitch Buhari against Osinbajo are well placed. The gambit has apparently been seized by well known Buhari naysayers who have started praising Osinbajo to the high heavens for his modest and sincere efforts at governance, while painting Buhari as lacking in ability to solve the nation’s problems.
For those who have immersed themselves in this worrisome narrative, Buhari is a non-performer while Osinbajo is the magic wand that is gradually making a difference in governance and solving some of the nation’s problems, especially the nation’s forex woes, which has seen the naira appreciate from N520 to N420 to the dollar, while electricity supply is improving with the reducing militancy and bombing of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area of the country.
Vice President Osinbajo has, undoubtedly, been playing his role well but that is no reason for tattling tattlers to seek to draw a wedge between him and his principal, Buhari. Those who cannot appreciate the wisdom of allowing Osinbajo to do his work as Acting President in peace, while Buhari attends to his health in London, will do well to reread the story of David and Goliath in I Samuel, chapters 17 and 18 , of the Holy Bible.
The young boy, David, killed the giant, Goliath, and King Saul was, indeed, happy to have such a young man who could help the nation get rid of the vaulting Goliath (economic recession and forex woes?) from his nation. The king, initially, harboured no evil at all against David.

Verse 2 of Chapter 18 of the first book of Samuel says that the very happy King Saul took David after he had killed Jonathan, and would not let him return to his father’s house. David behaved wisely in King Saul’s palace and went wherever the king sent him. “And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people.”
But then, what did the foolish women of Israel do? Read on from Verse 6: “And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistines, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music
“And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
“And King Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said: They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands: what can he have more but the kingdom?”
Verse 9 says that “Saul eyed David from that day forward.”  His anger against David was so much that the next day, he sought to kill David with a javelin. Verse 19 also adds that “Saul became David’s enemy continually.”
What is the point in all these quotations? It is that the ongoing profuse praises of Osinbajo, and the unnecessary castigations of the ailing Buhari as a non-performing leader, will not, as the Yoruba say “deliver a good child.”
It will, instead, drive a wedge between the two men at the country’s detriment, and may unleash a volley of negative reactions from the president’s team and constituency. This is more so at this time that tempers are beginning to run high over the president’s long absence and the rumour mills are busy grinding with the real and imagined reactions of northerners to any attempts to sideline the sick president.
The people at the forefront of this lionization campaign of Acting President Osinbajo and the demonization of Buhari are, therefore, well advised to desist from it, in the nation’s best interest. They are free to hold their opinions but they will do well to keep them off the public space.
It is good that the Acting president is able to meet up with the challenges of the office of president. He should keep it up and liase at all times with Buhari to return the country back to the path of prosperity as they both promised during the campaigns for their offices.
*Wale Sokunbi is a commentator on public issues 

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