Last week saw Vice President Yemi Osinbajo wash his hands, again, off any interest in succeeding his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, come 2023.
Unambiguously, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, stated that he has not declared any interest in contesting the forthcoming presidential election.
Bearing in mind that this is the second time in three months that Osinbajo would be denying any interest in the presidency, the political space is awash with quiet conversations around the issue. Two other stories caught our attention. Read on.
The smoke this time
On August 23, Vice President Osinbajo denied having anything to do with ongoing campaigns across most media platforms in the country seeking to market his candidacy in the forthcoming 2023 Presidential race.
A statement issued by Akande reads, among others: “Prof. Osinbajo has not declared any interest whatsoever in the 2023 election, but he is rather focused on working in his capacity as Vice President…”
It may not be out of place to allege something fishy about these supposedly unsponsored rallies and Osinbajo’s subsequent denials. It could be recalled that, on May 17, the VP’s team had also distanced him from a website – supportosinbajo.ng – campaigning and mobilising for his supposed Presidential ambition.
Given the penchant for most Nigerian politicians to speak from both sides of their mouths, it is not unlikely that Osinbajo is testing the waters.
Same pattern has also played out in the game plans of acclaimed National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who has seen a flurry of activities around his perceived 2023 aspirations, with him not personally declaring any ambitions.
For instance, in April, Tinubu expressly denied any interest in the Presidency after customised bags of rice bearing his picture, and title: Jagaban, were distributed to the people of Kano.
As it is with established political strategy and protocols, neither Osinbajo nor Tinubu would take any far reaching measures to counteract these rallies because they positively position them in the crowded 2023 race for elective offices.
While the Osinbajo team may choose to play hide and seek, it is, however, clear that the spate of denials is mere political games designed to hoodwink the uninformed. As it is said in common parlance, there is no smoke without fire.
Indeed, it is understood that the game plan is to take your enemy by surprise. Osinbajo is certainly playing his cards well, and only the undiscerning will be fooled into believing that he means those denials.
Two other talking points
Presidency’s dirty clap-back
On August 25, the Presidency accused the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, of stirring up hatred among ethnic groups in the country.
“In an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, Ortom takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by playing on ethnic themes – and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims,” Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari media aide, had stated, among others.
No doubt, the face-off between the presidency and Ortom has become a huge embarrassment as key issues of constitutionalism and national security have been dumped for what appears to be a personal quarrel between two individuals with bloated egos.
It must be said that Nigerians remain unimpressed by these ego trips and urgently demand a return to some level of sanity where rule of law governs, and the security of lives and property of citizens are given prime attention.
Buhari, and his assurances
President Buhari, on August 25, assured that the attack on the facility of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, will inspire the military to make a decisive end of criminality in the country, not dampen their morale.
“The President says the heinous action would accelerate the total uprooting of evil in the polity, which members of the Armed Forces are solidly resolved to accomplish in the shortest possible time,” Femi Adesina, a media aide quoted Buhari as saying in a statement.
The attack on the NDA facility is too troubling. Many have described it as a disgraceful slap on the face of the military, and an excellent demonstration of how bad the country’s security situation has become.
Already, the growing perception that the Armed Forces have been compromised in the fight against insurgency and banditry is fast gaining traction, and momentum.
All said, most Nigerians have grown weary of Buhari’s assurances. While the criminal elements keep taking lives, and destroying property unhindered, Buhari keeps serenading Nigerians with assurances that keep failing to materialise.
Indeed, the President’s expression of confidence that the incident would inspire the Armed Forces to flush out the criminals remains a thing of uncertainty.
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