When recession hits the economy, it leads to inflation. When it hits INEC it leads to ‘inconclusive elections’. When it hits APC, they turn Graduate to Conductors. When it hits Davido he stops singing ’emi omo baba olowo’ and starts singing ‘gba be oshi’. When it hits P-Square they stop singing ‘chop my money’ and start singing ‘bank alert’. When it hits Nollywood stars, they stop flashing cleavages and bum and start flashing you with calls. When it hits E-Money, he stops spraying dollar with spraying machine and starts spraying Naira by hand. When it hits UAC they start making gala with sausage only at the end and none in the middle. When it hits Vice President Yemi Osinbajo he forgets mathematics and blames Jonathan for looting $15 billion arms fund though less than $10 billion was budgeted for defence under Jonathan.
But when it hits President Buhari, he stops promising change and starts blaming Goodluck Jonathan!- The incurable Responsibility Dodgers Syndrome afflicting the current administration has reached alarming proportions such that they have turned the weekly meetings of the federal executive council into blame Jonathan sessions. Rightly, agents of the government of the day have earned the unflattering sobriquet, Responsibility Dodgers, because, the big guns in this government, despite their manifest unpreparedness for office and obvious cluelessness, have continued to blame past administrations, especially that of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, for their own failure. It is even most disappointing that a clergyman like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a Professor of law, who incidentally is also the head of the administration’s economic team would join the fray. The latest outburst from Professor Osinbajo was made in a paper he presented at an event in the United States last Monday, where he claimed that the Jonathan administration was never committed to defeating Boko Haram.
Really? Let me remind our revered Vice President of a statement made by his boss when the then President Goodluck Jonathan unleashed the firepower of the Nigerian Army on Boko Haram. Since the Vice President has finally confessed that it was a national leader of the All Progressive Congress who was a former governor that nominated him to his present post, permit me to quote from a newspaper in which the same national leader has interest to buttress my argument. “On the 2nd of June, 2013, The Nation Newspaper in a headline titled ‘Buhari Faults Clampdown on Boko Haram Members’ said “Former Head of State and Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari has faulted the federal government’s clampdown on Boko Haram Islamic insurgents.”
“He accused the government of killing and destroying their houses while the Niger Delta militants were given special treatment by the government.” “Buhari who spoke on Sunday on a Liberty Radio programme, Guest of the Week monitored in Kaduna also admitted that the road to the registration of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was rough, pointing out that the promoters of the party were well prepared for any hitch that may arise.” “Buhari who first spoke in Hausa before the English version accused politicians from the Niger Delta region of starting the current insecurity in the country by recruiting and arming youths of the region in their desperate attempt to retain power as governors.” “The former Nigerian leader said that unlike the special treatment given to the Niger Delta militants by the federal government, the Boko Haram members were being killed and their houses demolished by government.” From the above, a few things become clear: There was a ‘clampdown’ on Boko Haram under Jonathan.
It requires ‘commitment’ to unleash a clampdown. It was precisely Vice President Osinbajo’s boss, President Buhari who was against the clampdown. So now I ask, who was really never committed to defeating Boko Haram? The three facts established by the newspaper owned by the very man who nominated Professor Osinbajo to his present position has exposed him as either a liar or a poor student of history. Given that the Vice President earned a professorship, I am not inclined to believe that he is a poor student of history which leaves only one other conclusion. Let us recall that at one point, while addressing pastors and leaders at a retreat of the Fountain of Life Church in Lagos, Osinbajo had also claimed that the Governments of Jonathan and that of late President Umaru Yar’Adua didn’t build a single road in ten years! On the issue of recession and how to get out of it, the Vice President has continued to dither. In one breathe, he had blamed the downturn on the past administration, and in another, he found it convenient to put the blame on pipeline vandalism. And this is despite the fact that the administration, through the Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) Governor’s Forum, has assumed responsibility for plunging the economy into recession.
Any discerning mind seeking to appraise the Vice President by what he says, about the past administrations, cannot but come to the conclusion that Osinbajo simply does not realize the weight of the responsibility that rests on the seat he occupies. I have no doubt in my mind that accountability requires that a man in his position, whose word bears the full stamp of the administration, should always aspire not only to speak the truth, but to say it with candour and dignity. In the first place, he has continued to raise wide and baseless allegations of an embezzled $15 billion security equipment fund, without any shred of evidence. Again, I state that this is the kind of loose and trite talk that a Vice President should never be associated with. It is self evident that the entire five year defence budget under the former President did not have a security equipment component that was anywhere near that figure. Also, when he insists that the military were poorly equipped, he is simply being economical with the truth. This is because, despite his distant disposition in office, we expect that he should at least know, that the entire military arsenal currently being deployed in the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram, are still the ones ordered or purchased by the past administrations, as the Buhari Administration is yet to replenish the nation’s armoury. Funny enough, as
I was writing this piece, Vanguard Newspaper published a video of the hero of our time, Lieutenant Colonel Abu Ali fighting Boko Haram with the headline “Video: Footage shows artillery weapons bought by Jonathan, used by Late Col. Abu-led troops against Boko Haram!” APC’s lies are catching up with them! I leave Nigerians to determine the wisdom in the Vice President’s claim that Boko Haram occupied 20 of the 27 Local Government Areas in Borno State at the time his Government came on board, when the fact remains that the election that produced both the APC presidency and Borno State Governor, held in all the local government areas in the state. I have to painfully admit that, going by his insensitive and offhand comments, Osinbajo has not impressed Nigerians either as a Senior Advocate, pastor or Vice President. We believe that as a senior lawyer, he understands that his garb of silk conveys on him the responsibility of speaking factually and evidentially. We are also convinced that as a Vice President, his office requires that he speaks with decorum and respect at all times. Above all, as a minister of the gospel, apparently schooled in the forbearing ways of the Saviour, his utterances should only seek to heal, and not revile. Unfortunately,
Osinbajo has failed woefully on all these counts. I urge Vice President Osinbajo to rummage the archives to bring himself up to speed on how Chief Alex Ekwueme, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Arch. Namadi Sambo, all reputable former Vice Presidents, functioned during their time, to make themselves effective in office. For instance, Osinbajo should be reminded that during Jonathan’s short time as Vice President, he left a good track record as the head of the nation’s economic management team. Beyond providing a sterling leadership for the well-placed economic direction of the Yar’Adua administration, Jonathan was also the face of the amnesty negotiations that brought about the peace in the Niger Delta. He did not achieve that through pointless drivel empty sound-bites. We have to point out that while the economy bleeds, this Vice president as the head of the economic management team of the present administration, who ordinarily should be marshalling out policy initiatives, remains aloof and marooned. Let us not forget that he was the head of the economic team when padding was introduced in our budgeting lexicon.
The 2016 budget which he supervised and sent to the Senate with all grime and warts, has gone down as the most scandalous and worst ever to be prepared in this country. Ditto for the $29.9 billion loan request which has just been thrown out by the Senate, as a result of the opaque and vague nature of the proposal. It appears the shame of plummeting naira value, galloping inflation, mounting job losses and collapsing economy, increasing hunger as well as worsening unemployment numbers, are not enough to rouse the Vice President to action. Otherwise, Osinbajo, did not have to wait for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the National Assembly to remind his Government that a humongous loan bid without a comprehensive economic blueprint, simply cannot fly. But did he need to be reminded that a depressed economy, or any economy at all, can never recover or flourish when placed on auto pilot, like Osinbajo and his team have done? The earlier Osinbajo realizes that a good Vice President avoids the distractions of tactless activism, the better for him. What is required of him is to strategically apply himself to the job of helping his principal and the administration to succeed, especially in these trying times.
Omokri is the founder of the Mind of Christ Christian Center in California, author of Shunpiking: No Shortcuts to God and Why Jesus Wept and the host of Transformation with Reno Omokri