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Restructuring, Yemi Osinbajo and the Glass Ceiling of Buhari’s Presidency

It is no longer news that Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has different shades that he adorns since the ascendancy of President Muhammadu Buhari as the President of Nigeria. History will continue to have it on record and of course, to the credit of President Buhari for allowing him (Yemi Osinbajo) to act as President while he goes on vacation or medical trips in London. As much as it is a constitutional expectation, the distrust and the scheme for power in Nigeria has made it look strange and major in politics around the world.

When President Muhammadu Buhari goes on such vacations and Yemi Osinbajo takes up the role as Acting President, everyone including staunch Buharists and the opposition admit the difference even in 10 days. The longest of those medical vacations in 2017 with many thinking that President Buhari was dead, under Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President Nigeria moved up in the World Bank ranking of the Ease of Doing Business. This was made possible by a number Executive Orders he signed within that period.

After the unfortunate incident where Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the National Assembly complex under the directive of Lawal Daura, Acting President Osinbajo responded by terminating his appointment. This act alone received commendation from people like Femi Fani-Kayode, Reno Omokri, Deji Adeyanju and many others who are known to be hardcore critics of the APC-led Federal Government.

Recently in August 2018, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo came out to say that restructuring is not what Nigeria needs at this point. He added that what Nigeria needs is the efficient management of resources which he went further to question the governments of Abacha, Obasanjo, Yar’adua and Jonathan. Some time last year and as part of the opposition in Lagos State under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as Chief Justice of the State, he made mention that Nigeria needs a restructuring of the federation. The All Progressives Congress (APC) during the campaign leading up to the 2015 elections believed in true fiscal federalism. This was also engraved in the manifesto.

He said that Nigerians must not allow themselves to be drawn into the argument that Nigeria’s problems stemmed from some geographical restructuring.

“It is about managing resources properly and providing for the people properly, that is what it is all about.

“I served for eight years as Attorney General in Lagos State and one of the chief issues that we fought for in Lagos State was what you call fiscal federalism.

“We felt that there was a need for the states to be stronger, for states to more or less determine their fortunes. (Premium Times)

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It is interesting to know that Professor Yemi Osinbajo now believes that the other option of restructuring Nigeria is the efficient management of resources. He has equally forgotten how large the country and that for efficient management of the quoted resources, power needs to be decentralized. Maybe, he didn’t forget per say, the wave of politics has overruled every right thinking of a pastor who should know that even God asked Moses to appoint people who will help him administer to the Israelites and to save him from weariness. How do you manage resources in a country that is so large that when monies are appropriated and released it is difficult to give account, track progress or measure the impact it has had on the people? We are not even talking about the dormancy of the lay of our lands that have become obsolete in the comity of nations. Countries are doing away with the mineral resources we have been blessed with for so many years.

Anyone who has heard VP Yemi Osinbajo speak will agree that he is indeed a smart man, learned and equally knows what to do. There is no doubt about this. However, regardless of what he has to offer, he remains the second in command under a President that has admitted being sluggish and slow in taking decisions. He has been relegated to the position of a fixer who is good at the use of words for public relations. And when the many media aides of the President start issuing different statements, he too needs to step in to minimize the damage.

Nigeria is not a place where people resign their roles in government; it is rare. They prefer to tell you that staying in the system to change things is better even when every principle and values they have stood for are defied with ignominy. We all know how these things end when Yemi Osinbajo and his other colleagues in Aso Rock leave government; many will become authors for many reasons; to exonerate themselves but that will never change the role they played in shaping the tide of our national history.

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