By Ifeanyi Izeze
Just when you are tempted to think this administration still has a modicum of integrity left, they by themselves will just turn everything around to tell Nigerians that there is indeed nothing to do to salvage the crass incompetence and failure of the this Administration.
If the avowal by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo was true that his boss President Mohammadu Buhari was not aware of the plans by the Executive arm to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria in a court, then it goes to confirm the assertion that Buhari has outsourced the responsibilities of his office to unelected geriatrics and their boys due to his obvious handicap or rather incapacitation.
How come that the Presidency does not even think through before making public pronouncements? To listen to the Vice President who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria publicly say that his boss was unaware of the arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the head of the Judiciary and one of the co-equal arm of the government, until four days later was not only shocking but an outright violation of the allegiance he owes to this country.
Speaking on Wednesday 16 January 2019 at the Annual New Media Conference of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria in Abuja, Osinbajo claimed that President Buhari didn’t know of any matter regarding financial misdemeanour involving the CJN until four days later.
His words: “It is highly regrettable that the CJN has to go through this process but Buhari had issued specific instructions that anti-graft institutions be allowed to do their job without any interference. He did not even know that there was going to be any kind of trial until Saturday evening.
“He has said categorically that there shouldn’t be interference with whatever the institutions are doing. Sometimes, it has consequences such as we have today, such that people say how can such an important person be subjected to trial without the Federal Government, but I can tell you without any equivocation that he was not aware.
“I must tell you in clear terms that for President Muhammadu Buhari, his whole approach is that institutions should just do their work. I can tell you for a fact that he did not even know about this until Saturday evening.”
In the first instance, how does Osinbajo know what Buhari is aware of and what he is not aware of? Why did he not let the President speak for himself? The Vice President should know better that “you don’t want to interfere doesn’t mean you are unaware”. They are two different things.
Does it occur to the Vice President that Nigerians know that there was no way such high level decision would be taken without the ‘awareness’, input and clearance of the President (real or dummy)?
This is the kind of fable told in the rested NTA programme, ‘Tales By Moonlight’. If Buhari says he does not interfere in institutions doing their work, how can he explain what happened in the spat between the Executive Secretary of NHIS and the Minister of Health? This secretary was accused of humongous corruption and was suspended by the minister. Buhari reversed that suspension, thus making the minister look like an idiot before his subordinate. And yet here is Osinbajo saying his boss does not interfere in institutions doing their work!
How can the Presidency not be aware of the dragging of the CJN to the Code of Conduct Tribunal when ‘The Code of Conduct Bureau’, the investigative arm of Code Conduct Tribunal is in the office of the Secretary to the Federal government?
So if the news of his impending arraignment had leaked on Friday and a section of the country had gone up in flames and riots broken out, the President would have been ‘unaware, abi? So what is the function of his daily security briefs?
Osinbajo’s assertion, was it not a glaring confirmation of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari’s claims that a cabal has taken over the control of the Presidency, for which she called on Nigerian men and even women to take back their country?
As said in a comment by a concerned Nigerian, most of us “subscribe to the view that micro-managing is bad for a President but outsourcing responsibility is far worse. Is this not the egregious charge against President Buhari, even by his wife?”
Not surprising though, after all, the President has never been aware of anything that is going on around him in his supposed government. Tell me one day when Buhari has been in charge or rather aware of a single thing. Is this not how this country has been ran since 2015? A President who does not know that the Chief Judge of his country was arraigned does he deserves to be in office?
Why can’t Buhari for once take responsibility for whatever goes wrong in his administration? Claiming not to be aware is a timid excuse. He is the head of the administration and whatever goes wrong under him is his fault. If they would have succeeded in removing Onnoghen through the backdoor, will he also have claimed ignorance of what took place? Haba, Mai gaskiya!
If Buhari and his APC had any respect for the laws of Nigeria this smear campaign against the CJN would not have occurred. The very act of attempting to arraign the CJN in a dock like a common criminal exposes the deliberate attempt by the Presidency to intimidate and at worst ruin the image of the judiciary.
As a matter of fact, the Federal Government not even by the back door but entering through a window has achieved what it set out to do. Onnoghen the Chief Justice has been made irrelevant by this attempted arraignment. He cannot in clear conscience participate in any post-election Supreme Court decision against the Federal Government or APC. And this may be part of what all these scam set out to achieve: if we cannot replace him outrightly, let’s make him lose credibility and integrity to render him useless in the scheme of things. God pass all of una!