A week after he stuttered at the vice-presidential debate in Abuja, as result of functioning in Lai’s lane, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo last weekend to shred whatever vestige of credibility he has left for crass political opportunism.
The otherwise cerebral professor did not have to stammer this time around as he sang the scoundrel song his two other Lagos competitors (Messrs Bola Tinubu and Raji Fashola have been miming) for the illusory 2023 presidential slot: a vote for Buhari is the surest route to Yoruba presidency in 2023.
Our elders from the depth of their wisdom said a leaf that glues with soap for long begins to foam and so it has become with Osinbajo playing cheap ethnic card to divide when the position he occupies requires unifying all sections of the country. We belong to everybody has always been a lip service for them all.
Before going into Osinbajo’s outing in Oyo, let’s fill in some gaps. The hornet’s nest was stirred by Buhari’s biographers sometime ago when he squealed that Osinbajo’s erstwhile boss, Bola Tinubu, never wanted him to be running mate to Buhari in 2015. It took Osinbajo days to come out with “somebody somewhere nominated me.”
The authentic account gathered by this column was that Tinubu, in company of Mr Bisi Akande and Mr Rauf Aregbesola, had rushed to Mr Atiku Abubakar in Lagos after Buhari emerged as APC candidate to ask him to speak with Buhari as he seemed not to be ready to honor his agreement with Tinubu to make him running mate before the primaries. Atiku was silent for a moment before asking Akande: “When you came to me to invite me into APC, I asked you if there were any prior commitments on ticket and you said none. Did you not?” Akande could not answer. Tinubu and Aregbesola looked at each other in the face.
A day before close of nomination, Buhari and Tinubu had a stormy meeting, when Buhari told him he was not going to make him running mate, the latter walked out of the meeting. He thereafter threatened to address a press conference to drop the ticket and ask Tinubu to do whatever he pleased with it.
Panic meetings started. Tinubu and his core started discussions. Tinubu inner core advised he must nominate three Christians to Buhari, as he requested, from which he can pick one. When he reluctantly agreed, he nominated Adams Oshiomhole. When he was reminded the slot was for South West, he moved on to Yemi Cardoso. It was Aregbesola who put his foot down on Yemi Osinbajo, which was said to have been resisted by Tinubu as he said that having been one of the loudest against Muslim-Muslim ticket, Osinbajo could not be the beneficiary. He reluctantly agreed when Aregbesola insisted!
Tinubu’s fear then is about to play out as Osinbajo has now seen himself as Buhari’s successor, a project which is Tinubu’s last political gambit, with Fashola also waiting in the wing.
This is the background to Osinbajo’s declaration in Oyo: “Yoruba have a crucial role to play in the 2019 elections, so ensure that APC wins. We are looking at 2023. If we don’t do well in 2019, the opportunity might evade us (He should have said “me”). We should be forward-looking and not spoil our future by allowing those who had plundered our nation to come back to government. They have been coalescing again to continue the plunder but God shall not allow them.”
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, who accompanied Osinbajo on this outing, also forgot he is a governor when he lined with Osinbajo and ended like Mr Adefuye at Yoruba Assembly meeting in Ibadan in 2015, which endorsed the evil walking over us today. “This coming 2019 elections is between Hausa and Yoruba on one hand and Hausa and Ibo on the other hand. It is only a bastard in Yorubaland that will not support APC.”
What will Mr Governor tell his children if they start using such words? How will majority of Yoruba people describe anybody who wish them to live another four years of sorrow, pains, tears and bloodshed?
This is the time to address Osinbajo, Tinubu, Fashola, (Kayode) Fayemi and their foot soldiers who have chosen January 29, 2019 as a day to invite evil on Yorubaland for another four years (God forbids). Those people cannot say they are not aware that day was chosen to relaunch the Nigerian Tribune, the paper founded by Awolowo. We will see how Awo reacts to the choice of the day his legacy is being celebrated as the very moment to relaunch evil on the people he worked to uplift all his life.
It is a time to draw the line in the sand between Yoruba patriots and scoundrels. The issue at stake today is whether anybody who loves the Yoruba people and, by extension, Nigerians across board would want them to live another four years of what is going on in our land.
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a few days ago, revealed that about 40 million Nigerians are today unemployed or under-employed, excluding those in employment that are not paid as typified by Osun State. Amnesty International just reported the killings of over 3,600 Nigerians in the herdsmen terror on farmers. Yorubaland recorded quite a number of such deaths in Yewa (Ogun State) and Oke Ogun in Oyo State and different communities in Ondo State as well as Osun and Ekiti and there was not a sympathy from the “Buhari is the road to Yoruba 2023 Presidency group”, so they could be politically correct with their masters.
When a Yoruba Lady Evangelist and co-Pastor was hacked to death for just preaching under Osinbajo presidency, he could not visit the family or make any statement. When Mr Olu Falae was kidnapped, hacked and kept in the bush for days by ruffian herdsmen, there was not a whimper from these traders in money in the name of Yoruba people. When there was a crisis in Ife and the Buhari government packed only Yoruba to Abuja, none of these people ever raised his voice.
The Yoruba people are today at the receiving end of the agony in the land like other Nigerians, as poverty has become the lot of those who don’t have access to government treasury under Buhari-Osinbajo government. That Osinbajo can find people queuing for the insulting N10,000 election bribes he is distributing in Yorbaland best explains the destruction these people have wrought on our people.
Yoruba who are not benefitting from the present rot are in the majority and they will speak with their PVCs in February. They spoke when they rejected APC in the Osun polls when the one who boasted he is richer than Osun was humiliated. When they manipulated the election into an unnecessary re-run, they shamefully announced a 400 votes lead in a state they won with over 100,000 in 2014.
The Yoruba want a restructured polity where their governments would have autonomy to run their lives and their lives would be better. They will vote for devolution of power. They will decide for state police so that their security can be under the leaders they elect.
What would be at stake for them is not the 2023 ambition of Tinubu, Fashola, Osinbajo and their hangers-on. It would be a choice about their future and how to live like human beings.
They will not want to live in a country where national conversations would be about cattle routes, gazing reserves, Miyetti Allah and other barbarities that have dominated our discourse in the last three years of palpable incompetence, clannishness, clowning and backwardness that have been our unfortunate experience. We need to move our national discourse to where civilised polities are. We need to overtake Ghana that grew its GDP by 7.3 when Nigerians could only do 1.7 under this government. Yoruba will opt for a country where human life matters, not where we are now where human blood is cheaper than pure water.
It is how to build a new country that we should be discussing and not Igbo against Yoruba or any other ethnic group that those who have been given opportunity but have nothing to offer our people want to force us into.
We shall meet them at Philipi!