In Nigeria today, as the politics of 2023 takes center stage, it has become glaringly obvious that the nightmare scenario for a number of political actors is for the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to stand before a camera and make the following declaration: “I accept the call to run for the office of the Presidency.”
The reason is uncomplicated. For these persons who are already having wet dreams of ‘life in Aso Villa’, this outcome, in which the Vice President heeds what is now a deafening call from virtually every inch of the country to succeed his principal, represents a crushing blow. It is a prospect they fear would present them a hurdle too tall to scale. It threatens their cute, little project of running the country and emerging the Lords of the manor. To borrow a local saying, they are terrified that “e go pour sand sand for their garri.”
It is Yemi Osinbajo, the professor of law, foremost intellectual and outstanding public administrator. The one who as State Attorney General achieved feats no one else has been able to repeat. The Vice President who increased the stock and size of the office with his loyal, competent, and unblemished service. How do you compete against that? The argument for his emergence as President is ironclad. Best fitting as a natural successor, widely admired and trusted by all. He carries no ‘baggage’ at all.
When the topic is Yemi Osinbajo, Nigerians set aside their partisan leanings and acknowledge that “he is a good man”. His support is widespread and organic. To many, he is a source of inspiration. Others say he has returned the dignity of public service. His speech and conduct elicit the highest form of endorsement from Nigerian parents across the country – a recommendation to their wards that he, the Vice President, is worthy of emulation. Love and respect that transcends politics; natural in origination, compelling in intensity.
How do you convince the people otherwise, even as the man continues to break new grounds? This is what troubles the political actors. It is the cause of their affliction. Therefore, to avert this nightmare, they have entered into a frantic race, a war with their own insecurity and apprehensions. With the complicity of a section of the media desperately craving political drama to increase clicks and sales, they have spent most of the year pitting the Vice President against interests and individuals he personally has no problem with.
The latest of the attention-seeking headlines they sponsored with their tattletales to the press, is that the Vice President was snubbed in London by the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, because the timing of his visit to the recuperating political leader was, according to them, questionable.
Whereas the Vice President held the fort at the presidency in the absence of the President, thus making the President’s trip and consequent visit to the National Leader possible, these persons twisted the events and gave it their own conspiratorial interpretation. Instead of deeming the Vice President’s visit a mark of his goodwill as any other normal party would, especially after taking on extra duties to facilitate the President’s preceding visit, they chose malice and discord, and sold the same to the press.
To shoehorn benign events into their set narrative and project their political calculations on the Vice President, they have bent themselves into pretzels, holding up unrelated and innocent actions as the evidence of a grand plot. Per their reasoning, the fallout of the events in London has forced the Vice President to “throw his hat in the ring” and enter into a “fight of his life.”
Anyone with the littlest knowledge of the Vice President knows he is not one for messy political drama let alone a desperate fight for a position when it is God and God alone who gives power. His approach to all things, including politics, is informed by the biblical instruction contained in the book of Romans chapter 12 verse 18: “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
It’s the reason he has successfully built a popular support base that transcends ethnic, religious, regional, and partisan divides. Even his strongest critics attest to his discipline, open-mindedness, and commitment to collective progress.
The real fight for Osinbajo is for these afflicted persons who need an open conflict to fill their pockets, titillate their crowd, and further their agenda to leave him alone and confront their insecurities. Because unlike them, he has elevated work to do, one that affects the fates of millions of Nigerians. He needs no further distractions.