Osinbajo: When Not To Bow To Machinations Of Columnists, Hack Writers, By Bernard Okri
The past few weeks have been very engaging for hack writers who seemed to have been commissioned to bring down Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, using the platforms of the media as a tool.
Besides Reno Omokri who has since imposed on himself the task of speaking ill of every policy of the government of President Muhamadu Buhari, and making unrestrained verbal attacks on the person of the President, editors of some newspapers appeared to have been conscripted too to join the fray of attack on the present government.
These days in Nigeria, Journalism is assuming a convoluted fate. It is that which confers on writers the free will to veer into the murky waters of politics, and dabble directly into contending partisan issues while turning the real players into mere spectators.
The situation is worst for journalism in Nigeria when editors, mostly handlers of columns throw the ethics of the profession to the dogs, devoting more spaces in their respective columns to spurious attack on the person of Vice President Osinbajo and key officials of the Buhari’s administration believed to be on the other side of the page with former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Only last week, a certain Bolanle Bolawale took to the Tribune Newspaper to publish an article, titled: The Painful Confession of a Vice President. I read through it, and it was as mischievous as the title sounds. The article attempted to put words in the Vice Presidents mouth and impute what was never said during his visit to Adamawa, at Mrs Binta Marsi Garba’s 50th Thanksgiving ceremony.
The writer claimed that the Vice President said that Christians had not made the desired impact in the government. The hunger for mischief was so evident that after quoting the Vice President’s straightforward comment, the writer said: “what this means is that they are not making the desired impact.” How clumsy.
The mischievous writer went ahead to impute all manner of non-existent negatives from an innocuous comment made by the Vice President.
The entire piece of write-up by this Bolanle was another clear reflection of the deliberate attempts to slander Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Even when there is nothing to slander.
Day-by-day and week after week, Osinbajo became a subject of focus and a cannon fodder of sort which columnists willingly pummel and call names. His only offence was calling a spade a spade on the reckless pillaging and plundering of the treasury of Nigeria by the past government presided over by former President Jonathan.
Vice President Osinbajo did not say anything new or strange about the mindless acts of corruption that is now associated with the past administration of Jonathan. Nigerians are quite aware that key ministers in the cabinet of former President are currently being investigated for alleged mismanagement of the national economy. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has continued to make seizures of hidden local and foreign currencies as well as ill-gotten properties traced to treasury looters under Jonathan. Till date, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Madam Stella Oduah, Sambo Dasuki, Nenadi Usman, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Patience Jonathan and others have been unable to clear their names of allegation of corruption and mismanagement of huge sums of monies traced to their different accounts.
Vice President Osinbajo was not saying anything new when he revealed most recently that former President Jonathan, few weeks before the 2015 election ordered that the sum of N100 billion and $295million be withdrawn in cash from the treasury. He allegedly shared the monies among his cronies in desperate bid to win re-election. He lost woefully in the election, all the same.
Indeed, Nigerians still remember very vividly how the former President, just two weeks to the 2015 elections, carted their hard earn monies in plane loads to Lagos with a bid to bribe the political stakeholders in the south-west to vote for his re election. Nigerians still remember the Ikoyi gate and huge denominations of foreign and local currencies of $43, 449, 947, £27,800 and N23, 218 scooped from Flat 7B at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Will Nigeria ever forget that the un-curtailed stealing under the past government of former President Jonathan plunged Nigeria into a worst case of recession, which literally paralysed governance and required the ingenuity of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to roll back? Do Nigerians need any soothsayer to tell them that had Jonathan won his reelection bid, Nigeria would have become history at the expense of his inaction, lack of focus, determination and know-how on attending to Nigeria’s intricate problem?
Vice President Osinbajo spoke the truth on his insistence that the phenomenal brand of corruption that underpinned the 6 years of governance by Jonathan should not be swept under the carpet so easily, and that emphasis must always be placed on it, just to prevent future occurrence. This is a fact that has kept eluding the attention of newspaper editors and wailers who are arrayed against the Vice President for exposing the dark sides of the governments they seemed to be very much in love with. It presupposes that Remo Omokri and newspaper editors who keep defending the corruption under Jonathan are beneficiaries of the loot shared to newspaper houses at a point in time. A day will come when the lid will blow open.
If newspaper editors are ceaselessly engaged in the task of puling down Osinbajo, just for speaking out the truth on corruption, the fact remains that their plans will amount to naught. The government of President Buhari is unrelenting in the fight against corruption and will continue to expose all the secret places hosing stolen wealth in Nigeria.
In a nutshell, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is not a man who should be hacked down by the machinations of ill informed editors and their paymasters. He is a Cabinet member who deserves the massive support of well meaning Nigerians at all costs. It follows that in Nigeria, a Vice president who earns the trust of his boss is hard to come by. Graciously, President Muhammadu Buhari reposes deeper confidence in Osinbajo and that should be the take home point for anyone who appreciates what a responsible government should look like.
Osinbajo is meant to be a spare tyre as implied by the constitution of Nigeria. Yet, his ability to ride on the crest of hard work, dedication to service, unflagging loyalty and truthfulness is making the difference for him. He is in the mainstream of the agenda of President Buhari, carrying out some major tasks. His background and good pedigree in service have continued to push him to the foreground, making him a doyen in the government of President Buhari. If such a Vice President who means well is not appreciated, the implication is that Nigeria may exist only to appreciate bad leaders and worst conditions.
*Bernard Okri, media practitioner, Public Affairs analysts wrote in from Asaba Delta State.