Weekly political notes

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Buhari Handed Over To Me –Osinbajo
Amid controversy over the letter President Muhammadu Buhari sent to the National Assembly, where he said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will “coordinate” government activities, the Vice President has declared that the President actually handed over power to him.

In his response to a question on Twitter, Osinbajo said power was transferred to him.

One Bernard Amaiguo, tweeting via @benamaigwo, had asked: “Mr. Vice President, why did Mr. President refuse to hand over the affairs of the country to you?”

Osinbajo, in his response, said the President did hand over power to him.

The vice president, responding @Prof Osinbajo, said: “He did Sir. He transmitted a letter to the Senate in compliance with Section145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”

Buhari, in the letter sent to the National Assembly on his recent medical vacation, stated that the vice-president would “coordinate the activities of the government” in his absence.

This was different from the letter he sent to the National Assembly when he embarked on a similar trip to the UK in January. At the time, he wrote that the vice-president would “perform the duties of my office” in his absence.

The controversy and mixed reactions that trailed Buhari’s second letter to the Senate was not unexpected. This is especially so in a country where people in government and those outside love mischief and suspicion. There ought not to be controversy over the wordings of the letter when the Section 145 of the constitution is very explicit and supreme on the matter. However, people prefer to read different meanings and interpretation to the constitution.

Now that the vice president, who is also a renowned lawyer has spoken on the matter, it is hoped that tension would be doused and business of governance can take precedent.

While it is not out place that the writer of the letter, be it Buhari or someone else might have ulterior motive, such motives is immaterial now because the Senate and Osinbajo have spoken. Meanwhile, the content of letter and the reactions that trailed it have once more exposed the level of cronyism, prebendalism, sentiment and hypocrisy that characterise political power, leadership and followers in Nigeria. What is of utmost important now is how not to make mountain out of the molehill on issues, but how to support the vice president to move the country forward.

Biafra: IPOB Insists On Sit-At-Home Order On May 30
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) said there is no going back on the sit-at-home order it declared on May 30, for Biafra Day celebration in remembrance of fallen heroes of Biafra, who died during the civil war of 1967 and 1970.

The group alerted Biafrans, friends and lovers of Biafra freedom about plan by the Federal Government and security agencies to deal with the people of Biafra during the remembrance day celebration.

A statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful advised Biafrans to stay at home on that day to avoid security operatives from killing innocent members of the public or IPOB members.

There is nothing new in IPOB’s order, considering that before it, MASSOB has been making similar orders. But the level of compliance, especially in the Southeast region has always been poor. It is high time the pro-Biafra groups adopt a new strategy for the struggle. They should be mindful of the fact that majority of Igbos are not at home with being idle. So, there is need for the review of this yearly “sit-at-home” order that has not achieved the desired result.

If truly Federal Government and security agents have concluded plans to clampdown on Biafra supporters on the day as alleged, it behoves the government to protect citizens, because it is its constitutional responsibility. It will be unfair for security agents to attack law abiding Biafran supporters on the remembrance day celebration.

Obanikoro’s Defection To APC Makes Me Sad-Fani-Kayode
A former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has described as saddening the defection of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Fani-Kayode wrote on his Facebook page, “My brother, Musiliu Obanikoro’s decision to join the APC irks and saddens me. I say this because I have always loved him and I care.  You cannot fight evil by joining it. You cannot bring light by entering the darkness. You cannot find joy by partaking in the bread of sorrows.

“You cannot run away in the heat of battle. You must have the courage of your convictions. Where is your honour? Where is your strength? Where is your dignity? Where is your self-respect? Where is your sense of self-worth?

While there is sense in Fani-Kayode’s narrative, it is quite unfortunate that there is no morality in Nigerian politics. Besides, what is permanent in Nigerian politics is interest, not camps. Obanikoro has no permanent enemy in the APC as long as it is the party in power today. After all, Obanikoro’s political godfather, Senator Bola Tinubu is a force to reckon with in the APC and Koro needs him to bounce back politically. So Obanikoro’s action is typical of a Nigerian politician, whose major preoccupation is how to remain relevant politically and nothing else.

Femi Fani-Kayode

Why is Fani-Kayode saddened by Obanikoro’s defection, when he too had to leave the APC for PDP, though on the excuse that Buhari and Tinubu, both Muslims should not run as president and vice. After that, President Jonathan offered him a job as campaign spokesman. Nigerians are familiar with antics of politicians and will not be shocked if Fani-Kayode defects to APC before 2019. After all, Fani-Kayode is a Nigerian politician and there is no difference between him and Obanikoro.

Instead of lamenting over Obanikoro’s defection, Fani-Kayode and other PDP faithful should work extra hard to reposition PDP for better performance. Succeeding in doing this will shame Obanikoro and other PDP defectors. That is if they have capacity for shame in the first place.

PDP Will Not Win Any Seat In Lagos Council Polls– Tinubu
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu on Wednesday said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not record any victory in the forthcoming council polls in Lagos State.

Tinubu, who regretted the loss of some national and state legislative seats to the PDP in the 2015 general elections, said the election was a great battle.

The former governor of Lagos State made this declaration while addressing party members at the Lagos State APC Stakeholders’ meeting, held at the party secretariat at Acme Road, Ikeja.

“2015 election was the greatest battle of our time,” Mr. Tinubu said. In the last election, we lost more than three LGAs to our opponents, which is very unusual. We have asked our leaders in those local councils to examine what went wrong and work together to chart a new course to ensure the APC wins it back. PDP cannot have any share in these council elections,” Tinubu said.

Not many will accept or like to hear Tinubu’s assertion, but the Lagos political gadfly has spoken and so shall it be with the elections. After all, PDP is crisis-ridden and that has always been its problem in Lagos. Since 1999, Tinubu has proved to be a great political tactician, both in Lagos and the country. He knows when to retreat and when to surrender. Several plots to defeat him politically in his stronghold of Lagos over the years always proved abortive.

It may not be wrong to describe Tinubu as the last man standing, being the godfather of all the godfathers. Ahead of Lagos council polls slated for July 22, despite that Tinubu is not running for any elective position in the government and party, he still calls the shots.

How will PDP win any seat when the state electoral commission is in the pocket of the APC-led government in the state? So, total victory for APC in the poll will not be a surprise to anybody, having known that council polls in the country is job for the boys. It is all about selection of party loyalists and not free and fair election. This is not peculiar to Lagos. It has been the practice across the country since the return of democracy in 1999.

That is why there has been a persistent call for the reformation and autonomy of the council areas in Nigeria. Until that is done, local council administration and elections in the country will remain state governments’ means of settling political supporters and cronies at the expense of the people.

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