By Sam Ibemere… Dear Professor Osinbajo,
I reckon how occupied you are, and so this may not really be time for unnecessary niceties.
Anyway, guess you and Dolapo aren’t doing too badly though you looked to have shed some weight the last time I saw you both sing at your quiet birthday outing.
The work pressure could be consuming, and I am reminded of the double portfolio which you had borne since January 19. Guess you understand my drift. Not sure there are guarantees that your work load would be any less in the coming days.
Even President Muhammad Buhari admitted that much when he said you’ll continue to hold brief while he gains more strength after his now famous 50-day medical vacation in UK.
Sometimes, I really do wonder how you had borne the weight of the Nigerian challenge on that diminutive stature.
Did I hear you say, ‘na God?’ Not surprised, though. Our religiosity is infectious and has become some sort of balm. So true that one wonders if it has not made us prisoners and zombies of our own very existence.
How nice to have you accord some time to this private mail which has now gone public. Spare my impudence. It’s just that, in my desperation, I was willing to scale the fence because of the subject of this mail.
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Did the title give you some jitters? I had a challenge myself trying to figure out how best to illustrate the dribbling thoughts in my head. It could have been a bit more sober, I agree, especially with the uncertainties clouding our national life.
Someone even suggested that I had been most insensitive when I broached the idea of this mail and its content. Why, he asked, should anyone habour thoughts that could breed resentments and dismember the presidency? Why seek to alter a largely harmonious working relationship, he queried? I was one of the many mischiefs the presidency had talked about, he said.
But my friend missed the point, dear Osinbajo. This is not about you, even though it’s about you! No, I wasn’t asking you to literarily run away from responsibilities, as the title of my mail may have suggested. Why would anyone do that? That would diminish your character and substance.
All the same, dear Prof, would you pretend not to have heard the whistle that sounded last Thursday? Yes, on that day, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) turned its whistle on Nigerians, an exercise some private citizens have found a rewarding past-time.
Many are reaping from the whistle-blowing game, and we hear that those who squealed on Andrew Yakubu, former NNPC boss, and Abdullahi Dikko of the Nigerian Customs may soon be smiling to the banks.
We have no reason to distrust Lai Mohammed who is Minister for Information and Culture on the matter of reward for the growing whistle-blowing community.
INEC’s broadcast is, no doubt, a clarion call, and l’m wondering how you received it. Did it ring too early? Did it come as a rude distraction as many have argued, given the enormity of economic and social dislocations in the country?
Or, did you, like the average Nigerian politician, pretend it came too early in the day but now working underground to activate every known machinery in preparation for the 2019 polls as announced by INEC?
While you ponder over these, I have been wondering too if there is any relationship between President Buhari’s hurried return on Friday and the Thursday announcement calling on interested candidates to get on their marks. Forgive my wild imaginations but these are, indeed, strange times.
Yes, strange times, indeed. The question on the lips of many is, will the ailing President brave the odds to join the fray? Will he succumb to the manipulations of an alleged tiny cabal so determined to urge him on if only to advance its own narrow interest? Will Mr President listen to his inner spirit and say, ‘No more’ knowing that the rigours of the office have become too demanding for his tiring body.
But is it true that he is being edged on by claims that key institutions of state, like INEC, are at his whims and caprice? I am greatly agitated, dear Prof, and I seek your understanding.
Do you recall how woeful INEC’s performance has been lately? From Kogi to Rivers State, we got tales of ‘inconclusive elections’ which left a huge credibility gap. In Edo and Ondo State, the Mahmood Yakubu-led Commission still struggles with accusations of bias levied against it by the opposition.
Even now, the opposition believes that INEC’s schedule for 2019 polls is heavily tilted in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). I do not know what the facts are but I am simply apprehensive, and that is putting it mildly.
With INEC’s whistle beckoning, here is why you are at the centre of this piece, dear Osinbajo. Have you considered doing something very radical? I mean, if President Buhari opts out of the race, will you be inclined to throw your hat in the ring?
Indeed, will you run? Or, would your courage fail since your benefactor, and acclaimed leader of the APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, has indicated his intention to run if a vacancy exists?
And, how suicidal would it be to even challenge for the presidency with Buhari still in charge? Unimaginable? But that gives us away as a people unwilling to truly ride the wind of change. Nothing close to ‘undue radicalism’ is tolerated, and this leaves us satisfied with the ordinary. I dare say no country makes progress that way.
Prof, I am still lost in thoughts as to how you fit into all the permutations. However, it would be interesting to see how you wriggle through the temptations of a vacant presidency which might just be in the offing.
As you rummage through this mail, never give up on doing good to the greatest majority without minding whose star is being deemed by your actions.
By Sam Ibemere
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears
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