Sunday, May 21, 2017 1:42 pm
By Bola Bolawole
It is not a surprise that many Nigerians have described President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly in which he called Vice President Yemi Osinbaju “coordinator” of government business as a banana peel meant to emasculate Osinbajo and truncate our renascent democracy. Whereas some have variously referred to the word “coordinator” used in the letter transferring power to Osinbajo as an error, a mistake, slip of the pen, semantics, play on words or sheer ambiguity, there are those who insist it is a clear indication of intention and that those who scripted the letter knew what they were saying and doing.
In addition, the recent transfer of key officers of the armed forces is being taken with a pinch of salt in many quarters. There are those who do not see this as routine and normal posting and re-posting but as major preparations for any eventualities. Could these be preparations for a post-Buhari era? Some are saying it is. In a country so mindlessly polarised as Nigeria and where ethnic and religious considerations run high, with primordial interests and base sentiments over-riding patriotic and nationalistic sentiments, such suspicions cannot be treated with kid gloves.
Ordinarily, the president’s second round of medical vacation would have not raised any highbrow if not for the “coordinator” red-herring introduced into Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly. If, truly, this word was carefully and deliberately chosen, then we ignore it at our own peril. It could be that some people do not want to cede power; they do not want to relinquish authority. They do not want Osinbajo to exercise the powers of an Acting President. They saw how he exercised those powers the last time around and how he tried to make a difference. They don’t want that this time around; so they are already telling him to know his limit. They are trying to build a wall around him to emasculate him.
What, if I may ask, is the meaning of “coordinator of government affairs”? It is alien to our constitution. It is either Osinbajo is Vice-President or he is Acting President. There is no other way about it. This cutting of corners by the cabal ruling the country behind the scene is a dangerous signal which we must quickly shoot down or it will in no time ignite a conflagration that will consume all of us.
It is even likely that the President did not sign or see the contents of that dubious, dangerous, and controversial letter. It is likely he simply told them to transmit a letter to the National Assembly according to law and they went and wrote what they wanted. We have warned Nigerians several times that there are consortiums of presidencies within the Presidency. We have seen dangerous power-play within their antagonistic and competing groups, which have helped to expose them.
It is sad and dangerous that we are again treading the paths that we trod under the late President Umaru Yar’Adua when a cabal held this country by the jugular. A Yar’Adua that was widely believed to have long been comatose was said to have signed an Appropriation Bill, otherwise known as the budget, on his death bed.
We all saw what remained of our dear President Buhari on the few occasions that he ventured out in the last few weeks before he jetted out to London. We all saw how sickly he was. A president who was that sick may not be the same man capable of all the dangerous intrigues and manipulations visibly evident in that letter.
That letter is satanic and must be rejected by all men and women of goodwill. If you have the love and interest of Nigeria and Nigerians at heart, you must reject that letter without any equivocation.
The National Assembly did the right thing when it ignored the word “coordinator” and decided to refer to Osinbajo as acting President. That is the law but the legislators should not have been diplomatic in their reaction to the purported letter from President Buhari but should have come down heavily on the cabal toying with the destiny of this country. It is right that they have clearly and unambiguously declared, held, perceived, and authorised Osinbajo to act as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the absence of President Buhari; they should, however, have gone a step forward by investigating that letter so that the masquerades behind the offensive and obnoxious word could be exposed and subjected to public opprobrium to serve as deterrent to others.
That letter of coordinator or whatever is utter rubbish, balderdash, bunkum and is only fit for the wastepaper basket. I enjoin the media and all Nigerians to see, accept, and address Osinbajo as acting President; I also advice Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to act presidential during the medical vacation of the substantive President.
To the cabal or cabals intent on causing confusion, chaos, and destruction, they should sheathe their sword and give peace a chance. Nigeria is greater than any individual or group of cabals. No one has a monopoly of violence. It will be the height of folly should any group of persons think they can lord it over all the other peoples of this country willy-nilly.
We must be a people and country ruled by law; the alternative is anarchy and disintegration. Since 1999, we have had uninterrupted civil rule; we must strive to keep it so. No military putsch will be entertained by Nigerians. If anyone thinks he can pull one off, such a person lives in a fool’s paradise. Gone were the days when Nigerians jumped at every “I, so-and-so” nonsense. We have seen through it all – from the benevolent to the autocratic; from the smiling and chatty to the unsmiling and cantankerous lout.
Never again must the country fall under the jackboot of military adventurers – and never should anyone think they can truncate the constitutional order of things.
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