Vice President Ọ̀ṣíńbàjò, Agbọ́tikúyọ̀s, Agbọ̀ràndùns and Their Crocodile Tears, By Simbo Olorunfemi
Vice President Yemi Ọ̀ṣíńbàjò has been an asset to the nation and the Buhari presidency…. The petty thoughts that seem to engage many as they oil wild conspiracy tales around the routine and most innocuous might titillate some but for the discerning, it is easy to see the crocodile tears of the agbọ́tikúyọ̀s and the pretend sympathy of the agbọ̀ràndùns for what they are.
It is a feast for all comers – the hawks, the vultures, the undertakers and their hirelings. The agbọ́tikúyọ̀s and agbọ̀ràndùns are having a blast, feasting on materials by those whose stock-in-trade is that of soaking their sophistry in highfalutin fabrication that can only be concocted by minds lost to something else or those drunk on the wine of delusion, that they are no longer able to tell reality from fiction. Of course, they all cite sources. They all claim high-wired connection, even if it is only in their imagination.
But truth be told, it should not be that difficult to see that much of what is out there, pretending to be concern or outrage at the assumed marginalisation of Vice President Yemi Ọ̀ṣíńbàjò come from a place of mischief, ignorance and procedural illiteracy, even as sophisticated as the arguments adduced by some might be. Some of the accusations being thrown around are so watery that it ought to be of concern that they can actually stick to paper as print. But these are perilous times in the media, as established brands in the struggle for survival and relevance, now scavenge for discredited materials to drive traffic and sales, where it is simply not a case of having sold their souls. Fiction now walks bare-footed on front pages of newspapers.
It is no surprise that the flood of tears has been more from the same direction, whose scorched earth policy of all-out attack on Ọ̀ṣíńbàjò, his politics and policies have been unrelenting in the last four years. Yet they have now become latter-day altruists, taking on the role of the attorney for a man they have not been subtle in deriding. It is a most absurd pretence at love for Òsó, even more than Ìyá Òsó, mischief of the worst order that should lend the discerning into seeing this for what it is – an orchestration over nothing, in desperation to engineer mischief and soil the image of a man whose main propeller has always been grace, rather than the poorly-concealed machinations by those with eyes on the future on the basis of numbering sequence and the undertakers who incinerated the past and are desperate for a take on the future. Ọ̀ṣíńbàjò’s concern would appear to be more on policy, perhaps of the mind, that meaningful improvement in the lives of the people has a way of impacting politics positively, but those with a different agenda, conscious of his rising profile, would rather have him in the arena. They continue to raise red herrings here and there, but these hardly add up.
Much has been made of the place of the vice president and that of the perceived dominance of the chief of staff. What some seem to forget is that there is only one Presidency, the configuration of which is clearly spelt out in the Constitution. The place of the vice is as provisioned therein. He largely serves at the pleasure of the president, save for a few roles assigned by the Constitution to his office, a novelty, in comparison with most presidential constitutions. That being the reason why many vice presidents are hardly visible.
Back to the Vice President, that his office is another centre of influence in the Presidency should be obvious, largely on account of the fact that the relationship between him and the president has been one of mutual trust, respect and a deep sense of loyalty, which has continued to confound rabble-rousers and mischief makers…
The Presidency is largely a reflection of the architecture of the president. A hands-on or overbearing president is unlikely to be comfortable with an active vice. The Buhari presidency, which functions around a template of delegated authority comes across as one more comfortable with process than the ad-hocism that had become a routine in recent past. It is not strange that for some used to either the jackbootism of the first man and the chaotic all-over-the-place style of the last man, with politics propelling policy in both cases, a bit of order where politicians take a bit of the backseat in the interface with the policy process at the highest level, would appear unusual. It is farcical to see some running riot on the wings of imagination over a statement merely restating this routine for the benefit of those new to the system, advising officials to abide by process than resort to whimsicality in the conduct of government business.
Indeed, there are always multiple centres of influence in the theatre of governance. The Presidency cannot be different that the office of the chief of staff, which serves as clearing house for the president, effectively in charge of what goes in and out of the president’s office, would be one such centre should not be that difficult to understand. Of course, that makes the COS an influential figure, possibly a mythical one, as his office doesn’t allow for public engagement or visibility. The qualities a chief of staff needs for that office are not necessarily those that promote the popularity of the holder of the office. Not many occupants of the office were popular during their terms. If you desire to understand how the COS functions, you only need to look at the U.S. and examine the role of General Kelly in the White House, under the Trump presidency.
Back to the Vice President, that his office is another centre of influence in the Presidency should be obvious, largely on account of the fact that the relationship between him and the president has been one of mutual trust, respect and a deep sense of loyalty, which has continued to confound rabble-rousers and mischief makers who are unable to understand that a fidelity to principles and mutual subscription to ideals, beyond the unending plotting and politicking that have become the full occupation of some, can so motivate people to die to selves in dedication to the duty at hand. That is the point where those desperate to engineer a rupture in the relationship of the two men miss it.
How some have read the constitution of an Economic Advisory Council by the president, which can only be just to formally open up the space for ideas to people who might have been serving in unofficial capacities, as an emasculation of the vice president is baffling. Some are simply not able to tell optics for what it is.
Professor Yemi Ọ̀ṣíńbàjò has obviously had a great time serving in that position and it is evident that he enjoys the confidence and loyalty of the president. He has been active and productive. The vice president as chairman of the National Economic Council, a creation of the Constitution, has played a leading role in the management of the economy as part of a team of officials and advisers and continues to do so, presiding over the meeting of the National Economic Council only last week. How some have read the constitution of an Economic Advisory Council by the president, which can only be just to formally open up the space for ideas to people who might have been serving in unofficial capacities, as an emasculation of the vice president is baffling. Some are simply not able to tell optics for what it is.
Some of the allegations being bandied about hiring prayer warriors, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and campaign funds do not merit engagement by any serious mind. It is stunning that even now, some commentators, with claim to literacy, still do not know how the Tradermoni Scheme, a part of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), being executed by the Bank of Industry works. That some still believe that the vice president who only went round the field to monitor and ensure that the loan is being received by the targeted group, directly oversees the programme or disburses cash, is a pointer to the stunted knowledge bank powering public discourse.
Vice President Yemi Ọ̀ṣíńbàjò has been an asset to the nation and the Buhari presidency. He has carved a niche for himself and redefined the office and the responsibilities of that office in line with his strengths and personality. He has been professorial where there is a need for it and effortlessly connected with the bottom, which might be causing panic in some camps. He is comfortable with himself, he is not trying to be someone else. He is not jostling for attention or position, which must be difficult for those who make that a pastime. The petty thoughts that seem to engage many as they oil wild conspiracy tales around the routine and most innocuous might titillate some but for the discerning, it is easy to see the crocodile tears of the agbọ́tikúyọ̀s and the pretend sympathy of the agbọ̀ràndùns for what they are. Both of them should save their energy for their own battles. Many of their assumptions and allusions are founded around procedural illiteracy and imaginations without wings.