Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, earlier in the week said it’s keenly monitoring developments at Aso Rock. Although within the purview of the President, it is believed that recent happenings at the Seat of Power in Nigeria is targeted at waning the Vice-President’s influence. The spokesman of the group, Yinka Odumakin, said “clearly, what has happened is that the VP’s office has been rendered impotent, useless and irrelevant”.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, earlier in the week, dissolved the Economic Management Team (EMT) chaired by the Vice-President, replacing the team with an 8-man Economic Advisory Council (EAC) which will report directly to the President. This writer considers that a positive step in the right direction until media suggestions started to filter in that the action was a calculated attempted to reduce the Vice-President’s influence. This writer considers the composition of the new council a positive, considering the pedigree and economic astuteness of the council members.
The council is headed by Prof Doyin Salami, a former member of the monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a senior lecturer at the Lagos Business School. Others are Mohammed Sagagi (Vice-Chairman), Ode Ojowu, Shehu Yahaya, Chukwuma Soludo, Bismark Rewane and Mohammed Adaya Salisu (Council Secretary and Special Adviser to the President, Development Policy). If the President will not be true to his usually arrogant and ignorant self, and will toe the path of nation building, this council should help find a way to salvage our dwindling economy.
The PUNCH reports that a source in the Presidential Villa confided in its reporter that members of the cabal in the Presidency were bitter about the roles played by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, in his capacity as Acting President, when the President went on medical leave.
The newspaper claimed that its source cited the emergence of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria on March 7, 2017 and the removal of Lawal Daura as the Director-General of the Department of State Services on August 7, 2018 as two of their grievances against Prof Osinbajo. President Buhari had on November 10, 2016 sworn in Onnoghen in acting capacity despite the recommendation of the National Judicial Council stating that he should be appointed as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, being the most senior justice of the Supreme Court at the time. One can only wonder if truly there are reasons the President was indisposed to sending Onnoghen’s name to the National Assembly for confirmation in a substantive capacity. The Vice-President sent his name to the National Assembly on February 7, 2017 and swore him in on March 7, 2017. To this writer, it was the right thing to do at the time and I strongly believe he must have carried the President along.
The sack of Lawal Daura as the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) by the Vice-President is another issue The PUNCH source claimed to have necessitated the Vice-President’s ‘treatment’. It was the right thing to do at the time as Nigeria was going through a phase that demanded outright professionalism and unbiased judgements from men around intelligence gathering and security formations in general. Nigerians saw the move as the right step going forward. It’s also believed the VP was expected to ‘monitor’ Obono-Obla on recovery of public assets, but he let Obono-Obla go unchecked.
While it is within the jurisdiction of the President to decide what to or what not to leave on the Vice-President’s desk, the President should be made aware (if he doesn’t already know) that people are beginning to read body languages from the North showing they are desperate to hold on to power beyond 2023 and would employ every means, morally right or wrong, to accomplish it. Nigeria is tensed, but quiet. Nigerians are angry, but calm. The more questionable decisions are made, the more the Federal Government gives people reasons to distrust it.