Yemi Osinbajo: This silence is deafening

[FILE] Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo speaks during the Nigeria/Ecowas Trade and Investment for Development forum in Abuja, Nigeria. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde


The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria did not specifically ascribe a clear cut decision making role to the office of the vice president, so I will not wrap this piece around his office as Nigeria’s vice president. An office that has been described in some quarters as ‘spare tire’, “senior personal assistant to the president with fat salary’’, the description is endless. As such I will not be addressing you much as VP in this piece due to your almost none existing role in the constitution, I will be talking to you as Yemi Osinbajo, a human being who has blood flowing through his veins and one that should have the moral justification and conscience to speak directly to President Buhari and express his displeasure at the killings in the country where it is increasingly difficult for people to travel from one town to the other.

Yemi Osinbajo had continually defended some inglorious policies of the Federal Government giving excuses for them. At a recent outing to the launch of a book to commemorate the 80th birthday of Olusegun Osoba, Osinbajo told the world that it is wrong for people to insinuate that the president is protecting herdsmen and Boko Haram groups. So, if the president is not protecting them, then the question will be ‘what is he doing about the situation’? Osinbajo however advised at the launch that government and citizens alike should form alliances across faith and ethnicities in order to destroy what he called the evil in the country but what Osinbajo failed to tell those who would form the alliances was how to go about the process. Different religions and ethnic groups have been living together peacefully in Nigeria before now, so what has changed?

The president himself said the fact that the Inspector General of Police had lost weight was an indication that he was working on the security situation of Nigeria. His words: “You know, I have just seen the IG, I think he is losing weight; so, I think he is working very hard.” One would be tempted to ask if Nigeria is a joke. Every now and then, the statistics of those who met their untimely death on the highway in the hands of herdsmen, or bandits or whatever individual chose to call them depending on which side of the divide such an individual is increasing, yet Nigeria leadership seemed helpless. Poor people can’t afford to own herds of cow, who are their owners? There has been claims that those killing and kidnapping on the highways are not Fulani herdsmen, agreed.

So who are they? Some said they are from Chad and all sort, but if we agree that those infiltrating Nigeria are foreigners, then who are their enablers? I am not sure if any Nigerian can go to Chad, set up camps inside bushes around that country and continue to rape, maim and kill its citizens. As a human being who has blood flowing through his veins, Nigerians expected Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to have made a statement or at least tell the president of his displeasure at the rate innocent Nigerians are being killed needlessly across the country or be ready to resign from that position. No part of Nigeria is currently immune against attacks on the highways where people are kidnapped, raped and killed almost on a daily basis.

Osinbajo is a technocrat and that was why a lot of Nigerians were excited when he became the number two citizen of the nation. People then heaved a sign of relieve that at least for a change we have a VP who will not be a stooge and would be a departure from what the country used to have in persons of VPs but the silence of Osinbajo on the current mayhem in the country is deafening. The country has never had it this bad in terms of safety and security. I stand to be corrected. Nigeria is fighting a gorilla war, if it were civil war, we know that troop A will face B, but in a situation where one doesn’t even know the enemy, what is the way forward?

Need I remind Osinbajo the story of Easter in the Bible; she fasted, prayed and moved. She spoke out. If she had fasted and prayed and remained in her chamber, the Jews would have been extinct today. Shall we talk of the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, (God bless her soul)? She broke the hush hush in the villa and told the whole world that late Musa Yar’Adua was sick, what a woman! What an Amazon! She is no more but her name has been engraved in gold in the annals of Nigeria’s history. I don’t even want to go into the history of women who led wars even in Nigeria. What is Osinbajo afraid of? Who is he afraid of? If you ceased to be the VP of Nigeria today, I am 100% sure you can’t go hungry for the rest of your life. I saw you prayed at Pa. Reuben Fasoranti’s residence, really? The Bible says prayer without work is dead on arrival. It is no longer news that whenever someone with a ‘Surname’ is killed in Nigeria, politicians will begin to say it is one death too many, what is the meaning of that? That was what Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and others like him said. This statement that has now become a cliché in Nigeria is irritating, none of our citizens deserve to die needlessly.

Those in diaspora are afraid of going to Nigeria. I have seen people cancelled their flight reservations here in the United States due to the development in Nigeria. Who has tied the hands of the army and other security operatives? Silence they say means consent, our people say it is when you are not worthy of a title that you will say you cannot control the people. Whatever Yemi Osinbajo says about the situation in Nigeria now will be recorded for him and it will become a reference tomorrow just as Dora Akunyili’s words is being referred to now. You cannot afford to be in a decorated office while you keep mum to the unacceptable killings in Nigeria.

Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t in a position of political authority when he rose against the oppression of the blacks in America and spoke to the power that be. He was murdered, yes, but today all Americans irrespective of colour celebrate his birthday and commemorate his death. His birthday January 15 is a national holiday in America. If he wasn’t assassinated on April 4, 1968, I doubt if the man would still be alive today. We would all die one day, it is a necessary end. Am I wishing Osinbajo dead? Not by any means, no one can kill you before your time, speak out, let Nigerians hear your voice and let the cloud of witnesses in heaven bear you witness, your silence is too deafening.
•Ajayi wrote from Maryland, USA.

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Yemi Osinbajo
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