An Osinbajo Presidency: Buhari’s Death May Be A Blessing To Nigeria

By Ikenga Chronicles February 13, 2017

Since Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo became Nigeria’s acting President, the people of Nigeria have begun to experience a semblance of democratic leadership. First, the name of Justice Walter Onnoghen, which the president had delayed in sending to the Senate for confirmation as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, has been sent. Then, there has been an open engagement with the people by the Presidency (well, the part that Osinbajo has control over), which hitherto was not there. Take for instance Osinbajo’s move of personally engaging with the people of the Niger Delta on the Niger Delta issue, and his effort at supporting the technological efforts of the South East, by personally showing immense support for the Made in Aba campaign. All of these show the necessary affection and commitment, which a genuine leader must at all times display to his subjects.

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It is important to note that in reaching out to the people from the South East and the South South, Mr. Osinbajo did not send his media assistants to release a statement while he was gallivanting in Togo or Germany. No, he came down himself, and personally visited Abia state, and the South South states, despite the fact that they are predominantly PDP states. By taking that step, Mr. Osinbajo showed that for him, the Presidency is for the entire people of Nigeria, and not for a particular section, thus boosting the people’s confidence in the federal government.

Now, Mr. Osinbajo’s little efforts when juxtaposed with the actions of Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari expose a wide difference in leadership qualities. While Osinbajo comes across as the leader who is willing to listen to his people, and would even come down to meet them no matter the risks, Buhari is aloof, and often times shows a lack of empathy for the people he claims to be leading. It is in fact on record that in close to two years in office as president, Mr. Buhari has never visited the South East, nor any of the South South states being ruled by a PDP governor! How then are the people of the South East and South South supposed to believe that a president (who by the way went on international television to state that he would not treat Nigerians from all the regions equally) who claims to be committed to solving their problems is genuinely committed to it, when he never comes down to evaluate the problems? That was a major flaw of the Buhari presidency, which Yemi Osinbajo seemed to have corrected within the short period he has been president in an acting capacity.

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Again, under Buhari, the Presidency has flouted with impunity court orders for the bail of Shiite leader Zakzaky, IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and even Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser. So in essence, under a Buhari presidency, the democratic principle of  “separation of powers” which the Nigerian constitution upholds is discarded by the man who swore to defend the constitution! That clearly underscores the fact that President Buhari, is not practising democracy in Nigeria. In contrast, the act of sending Justice Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation on the other hand, firmly shows Yemi Osinbajo’s willingness to follow due process and the letters of the law–something Nigeria really needs right now.

However one weighs it, the short period that Professor Yemi Osinbajo has held office as the acting president shows that he has a clear idea of what leadership should be about. He seems to possess enough ideas on how best to address the Nigerian situation, and record tremendous success. The same cannot be said of President Buhari. In fact, apart from being undemocratic, Buhari does not seem to have any idea about how to tackle Nigeria’s numerous problems. Thus he relies heavily on propaganda and make believe accounts of progress being made. This is not what Nigeria needs right now. Nigeria needs a president with ideas, one who understands what democracy is, and is also willing to listen to the people.

With president Buhari sick and unavailable, Osinbajo has given Nigerians a taste of what real leadership should be about. One can thus say that perhaps an Osinbajo presidency may just be the way out for Nigeria. In which case, one will not be wrong to also say that Buhari’s illness (and maybe death) is(and will be) a blessing for Nigeria.

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