By Adewale Sanyaolu Despite being a country with the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, Nigeria, according to Foraminifera, a marketing and research firm, spends about N2 billion yearly on importation of asphalt, a derivative of bitumen. The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is twice the amount of existing reserves of crude…
Garcia Marquez, now late, is a richly famous Latin American writer. He authored One Hundred Years of Solitude, among other books. The novel, generally considered a great one, is in fact rated by many as the great novel of the Americas. That is, it is taken as their own Things Fall Apart, if you like. And Garcia like most writers was a devourer of books, magazines and what not. Yet, in one of his off moments he confessed to something. Oftentimes, when he came home to smooch his dear wife, Mercedes, he discovered a revelation. It was that Mercedes always had stories that he missed despite his library-wide readings. And these stories are very important, sometimes too weighty to be lost. And he asked where she got them. The answer was in lifestyle, feminine and sundry light materials.
Perhaps that is how the rivers flow. Oftentimes it so happens that heavy-duty insights spring from the lightest of readings. The world is never complete in all seriousness. To achieve completion, “the ofo and the ogu,” the light and the heavy must meet and mate. Mother A’Endu.
Thanks to the wisdom of Garcia, we are persuaded to read the so-called non-serious stuff. For instance, just today on the Linda Ikeji Blog, a twin picture trended. The first was the picture of the then governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, wearing a disconcerting, if disdainful look, with power-stretched shoulders to match. Fashola stood, almost like Caesar, towering and lording it over his minions. And one of those minions, hold your breath, was Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, his legal savant. The second picture was a minion-like Fashola grinning from ear to ear, a typical flunkey, even if in dinner suit. And he was toadying before the man who holds all the power today, Osinbajo. Osinbajo happens to be the substantive Vice President and Acting President. [See, Linda Ikeji Blog: Major Throwback, featuring Osinbajo and Fashola].
Several lessons may be drawn from the pictures but one is certain: power is not inherent in persons and persons act the powers of their offices. That is, as Mother A’Endu says of history, it is forces [powers] that are at work; men are merely at play. And power is as architected to a given office. It is true one may stretch things and go ex-cathedral, exercising the full powers thereof. However, power, like force, obeys its own Newtonian laws. It thus may be said that power will continue in its state of uniform motion and direction until stopped or altered by external forces or powers.
What does this tell us? It is to warn that those who canvass Osinbajo to be the stuff of which great presidents are made, by the logic of his sterling performance as stand-in President, are wrong. The facts are, Osinbajo has not performed as a President. Osinbajo has only performed as an Acting President. And the power configurations in substantive and acting presidencies are two largely unrelated matters. As an actor or an Acting President, one is like a set or free kick specialist. As a President, one has to be a Diego Maradona. That is, he must be able to take the game from his own eighteen, dribble all the way to the opponent’s penalty box, command a goal, alone or in combination with team players.
New kid in town?
Now, if Osinbajo were made President, the following would happen. He would be given all the power to act, actually to be made a monster. We use words advisedly. It is on record, what Chief Obafemi Awolowo said of Nigeria’s Constitution. In the words and warnings of Awolowo, the Constitution [which is a basis-constitution of all succeeding ones] contrived by Gen. Murtala Mohammed/Rotimi Williams and the rest of their gang, will only make monsters of Nigerian Presidents. Well, very well, the same Awolowo, records reveal, showed up severally to be voted President. This is despite his forebodings of the presidency as a wondrous monster-maker machine. Ahiazuwa.
Immediately this is clear we can zoom in on Osinbajo. And the facts are as follows. Just like his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo has retained only those he can trust, to work with him. And as much as we know of his vice presidency, his aides are one and all his own people, that is, sons and daughters of Oduduwa. We hold nothing for or against his choices. We are only interested in them as analytic facts.
Of the few non-Yoruba who were allegedly hired under his influence, they are also tainted with other forms of sectionalism also typical of his principal. And these others, it is enlightening to know, were back-loaded unto the presidency, essentially.
If it is true that Osinbajo facilitated the hiring of Okechukwu Enelamah, Ben Akabueze, etc., that much is instructive. These men are all his junior colleague pastors, under one sectarian worship or persuasion.
What does this prove? Well, in our last essay we cautioned: “The problem is not really Buhari … The problem is intrinsically APC … the primordial APC was constructed as an exclusionist, nepotistic, and regional army of occupation. Their basic game was for a few to corner the whole. That is, from day one, APC was divisive.’’
Technocrats with broadcast powers?
The point is clear. If Osinbajo is given unfettered powers, the APC in him will drag him into their default setting. Osinbajo, like his principal, Buhari, will take himself too seriously. He will almost certainly think he is on a civilising mission to the rest of us ‘natives.’ The result is that, like his principal he will be conflating his partisan ambitions and career with our higher national destinies. And just like his sick principal, his tribesmen/parish acolytes will be the missionaries, waving one apocrypha or even plain forgeries as nationalism. That is, the difference between Buhari and Osinbajo may be a matter of half full, half empty. The internal APC logic is to campaign as “fellow countrymen,” but to perform as “fellow tribesman,” thus deceiving even the very elect, in the logic of the power, which they have architected. We wish Osinbajo well in his future endeavours, but let nobody be disappointed if he turns up to be a Buhari in Yoruba shokoto, not Fulani khaftan.
Finally, this needs to be pointed out: Buhari is failing not because he doesn’t know what to do, but because his governance is nepotistic. In fact, a great source of the failure of Buhari’s governance is the cost inherent in excluding others, in the diseconomies of nepotism and exclusion. The act of taking your fellow tribesmen, co-religionists and co-regionalists as civilising missionaries is just not workable. And to worsen matters, there are no records that any Nigerian tribesmen ever founded any religion or produced an Einstein, etc., like the white man who once missioned to us severally did.
The game is that there are the economies of multitudes and inclusions. And as if this was not enough, inclusions and multitudes manufacture genius, crowd-sourced genius, or what the Yankee, Prof. Nassim Taleb, calls anti-fragility. As everybody knows, genius yields the highest return on investment, save for banditry. If in doubt on this, ask the nearest successful coup maker.
So our present economic depression is not a Buharimanical species. Our economic collapse is a social pathology attached to and attracted by a pattern of behaviours. And that won’t spare Osinbajo, certainly not because he is Yoruba, if he continues practicing same. For history, it is logic that works. The actors merely change. APC is a changeling.
Proficiency is in its architecture
In two of our recent articles, we wrote in part about PR and information management at the federal and state levels. A part of what we wrote read: “It is not enough to know what to say, how it is said and who says it are as important if not more so … The point tragically is that there is too much of the Presidency in their PR media. They are apparently getting the mix wrong. They, for their own sakes, will need other parties for a great deployment of media powers.’’ History never goes on vacation, 09-02-17.
So, it gladdened our hearts to see Dr. Reuben Abati, a former presidential media hand, turn up on TV to explain the Buhari health brouhaha the best he could. Abati was on Channels TV on 26-02-17.
Well the point is not whether the Presidency listened to us or made up their mind independently. The matter is that an Abati, as a third and apparently uninterested party, comes to ‘equity’ with cleaner hands. And he performed reasonably well. His many allusions to books on similar presidential dilemma dragged in the scholar in him.
But the whole matter almost derailed. The anchor of the show, Seun Okinbaloye, was somewhat professionally morbid. He wanted to draw blood and that blood was to flow from the heart of another matter Abati apparently is in. Looking Abati in the eyes, he asked him what he has to say on the arms deal scandal swirling around many heads, including, it appeared, Abati’s own. Abati tried to dodge the question only for the anchor man to twist his knife. Did you agree to return only 5 million as alleged out of the 50 million that was allegedly missing? And again Abati pleaded his unwillingness or inability to find any answers to such simple questions.
Well, it was now a question of the state of the cleanliness of Abati’s hands before equity. A man who could reference the most scholarly tomes to answer issues of the dowdiness of presidential health, how come he couldn’t be straight explaining his own concrete experience?
Anyway despite his “lack of full disclosures,” Abati as presidential or court logician made a better case than the usual suspects would have. He at least is a third party even if on retainership. But was Abati’s logic ‘soundproof’? Not quite. However, that much must be left to PDP PR people to pooh-pooh. They should go and read as many books as Abati has read or hire those who can.