By Ernest Omoarelojie
He was on a sick bed in a London hospital, recuperating from, as he puts it, ‘repairing’ some body parts when he learnt that his erstwhile protégé, the brainy law teacher, who has held innumerable offices where he left indelible reference foot marks, Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has shown interest in vying for the highest office in the land, the same he, the Jagaban hopes to occupy, upon the exit of incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reports had it that he hurriedly discharged himself from the hospital in order to be the first to make such an announcement, perhaps afraid of being beaten to it.
He was even quicker upon arriving Nigeria as he wasted no time in running to the country’s seat of power to inform the president of what he termed his ‘lifelong’ dream to rule Nigeria. That done, he left the other task, the task of confessing his fears and loathing for healthy competition to his supporters. They had to perform his Man Friday job.
Since then, his supporters have had to prove that they are loyal. After all, if you are not loyal, you will ‘lo oya’ (suffer) as the saying goes in Benin City. So they have continued to show no restraint in going to town, not necessarily to canvass convincing reasons why Nigerians should look his ways but to pull down those in better stead for the role. In particular, they singled out Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, perhaps for obvious reasons.
In picking on Osinbajo, they brushed aside genuine concerns as expressed by the people about his many grey colors of their principal’s character. To them, such concerns are nothing but jealous ranting, undeserving of consideration. It does not matter that they employed the same measured arguments to pull down the aspirations of others.
To them, the more important thing is to paint Osinbajo as traitor for having once shared similar views with BAT but daring to hold an independent opinion now. BAT is, to them, the only saint with whom no one else is worthy of mention, enough to be qualify for the office. It doesn’t matter that if all sane measures were to be put in place, he would be the least qualified to even think of the office.
Not done, they went the extra mile of holding in contempt anyone who dared to diss their puerile position, dismissing such as pecuniary-induced ranters. Put differently, any and every one opposed to BAT as a fitting choice for the country’s number one citizen’s role is constructed only by the quest to assuage the stomach, which they aptly captured as ‘Stomach Infrastructure’. They forget too quickly that if anyone is guilty of the allegation, they are because only BAT himself has the wherewithal, capacity and tendency to dispense, acquire and retain lucre-induced loyalty. Talk about the guilty being afraid.
A lot has already been said of why BAT should not even consider vying for the Office in the first instance. Sundry and serious as the reasons are, his followers have disingenuously parried the people’s genuine concerns, harping instead on his rather challenging health status, which they surmised, rightly so, as not being an indication that he is about to replay the Yar Adua debacle. Even then, they deliberately ignored evidence-backed facts which has him exhibiting enough disturbing traits to raise the red flag.
Disingenuously too, BAT’s supporters seem to have no qualms about subtly making Nigerians relive the Abacha morbid years. Many a time some of them made the unrestraint claim that he is the only individual alive that can keep Nigeria going after President Buhari. It doesn’t matter to them that there is the place of God in the affairs of men. That is rather intriguing.
The other sad side of his supporters brigand mentalilty is their fixation on Osinbajo’s intention to also vie for the office. It is such that no other would-be aspirant matters except the VP. Of concern is that while claiming that his decision is immaterial and irrelevant to the outcome of BAT’s life long ambition, they are however, having sleepless nights over when he is going to formally declare his intention. Why are they so concerned about the VP’s declaration?
Interrstingly, while some of them argue that the Osinbajo lacks the courage to make a move for the Office because of his loyalty to BAT, others insist he cannot declare his intention having been made by the Bourdillon Czar. Yet, others hold the view that he is already a traitor for even considering the move. None of them is smart enough to realise that when the VP eventually declares his intention, an irretrievable lie would have been put on both their principal and whatever he represents. Nigerians are waiting for what they will say when the VP finally declares for the Office.
BAT and his supporters appear to have forgotten that democracy allows for the expression of different shades of opinions. They really tend to have forgotten that it is a stutute-given right that must not be tampered with as long as it is expressed along accepted lines. It is rather strange that they are not aware that only dictators and their collaborators are opposed to freedom of expression. It is baffling that they have not realized the disservice they are doing to BAT’s image with the care free manner they portray anyone opposed to him as a traitor. Indirectly they are painting him as a dictator who is not comfortable with freedom of expression. Certainly, that is not an attribute of a Democrat. What it boils down to is that if BAT is a democrat in the true sense of the word as he claims, he should have reined in his aides and supporters from openly canvassing the view that oppossing his views amounts to treachery. Not doing so is an act of terror and banditry. Perhaps there are fifth columnists in his camp who want the world to see him as a moral burden.