NIGERIAN POLITICIANS AND THEIR SECOND TERM AGENDA

Nigerian politicians are very ingenious. They are very clever people. When they will be seeking for something, they will pretend as if they are good, very innocent, gentle. They will behave as if they will not even hurt a fly.

But as soon as they get what they are looking for, as soon as they get elected for second term, they will bare their fangs and come out in their true colour, in their true identity. They will not want anybody to stand on their way, else they will deal ruthlessly with any such a person and bulldoze him out of their way.

Those in the executive arm of government, whose tenure is limited to only two terms, are the most guilty. It will be the more you see, the less you understand. Since they will no longer need our votes, they will do whatever they like. They will try to maximize every available chance, every opportunity, including shoving out of their way those who had helped them in the past, but who have now become “irrelevant”.

In 2003, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in spite of the general belief that he would play a Mandela game, that is, serve only one tenure and give way, decided to go for a second term. But his deputy, Atiku Abubakar, was equally interested in the same Presidency. It was even rumoured that as many as twenty PDP governors were behind Atiku Abubakar, and were urging him to take up the gauntlet and challenge his principal.

Obasanjo was worried. He was afraid. He was jittery. He would not want to square up with Atiku Abubakar, to come face to face with him because he feared that the man could floor him. What to do? He decided to run to Atiku Abubakar, to plead with him to step down his ambition, promising that he would back his (Atiku’s) candidature when he might have completed his second tenure. It was claimed that Obasanjo actually knelt down before Atiku Abubakar. That is to show how desperate he was.

Taking Obasanjo by his words, taking him to be genuine, truthful and honest, Atiku agreed to temporarily shelve his Presidential ambition and stepped down for Obasanjo. In the PDP primaries for the selection of the party’s flag bearer for the Presidential election, the combination of Obasanjo-Atiku ticket easily defeated Alex Ekwueme who equally was gunning for the same position. The duo went ahead to win the main Presidential election.

But as soon as Obasanjo got elected and was sworn in for second term as President, he turned full circle against Atiku Abubakar. He accused the man of dipping his hands into the vaults of the Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PDTF). In blackmailing Atiku Abubakar, Obasanjo went further to strip the man off most of his functions as Vice President, all in a bid to stop Atiku from succeeding him. He succeeded in doing that.

Now, President Muhammadu Buhari has started the same game with his deputy, Yemi Osibanjo. During Buhari’s first tenure, Osibanjo was taken as “a very dependable and loyal deputy”, and the President virtually left many aspects of governance in his hands.

To show the level of confidence the President had for his deputy, he handed over the only component of his administration that caters for the welfare of Nigerians, the Social Investment Programme (SIP), to Osibanjo to run they way he liked. On many occasions when the President went on medical vacations overseas, he equally handed over the running of the administration to the Vice President.

Now, the second tenure. Osibanjo is no longer needed. He has become irrelevant. He is now a liability. He must be discarded, rendered impotent and incapacitated.

The Economic Management Team (EMT) which the Vice President normally chaired, has been disbanded and another team made up of economic experts outside his purview, has been constituted. The team will now report directly to the President.

The Vice President has also been stripped off all approving powers of all agencies constitutionally under his supervision. He must seek the President’s approval for every of his proposal. Worse still, Osibanjo’s aides are now to operate outside the Villa, the country’s seat of power.

We will not be surprised if very soon, they ask the Vice President to relocate and start operating from outside the Villa, while the anti graft agencies are deployed to start scrutinizing his activities.

There is nothing the Vice President or any of his supporters or sympathizers can do in all these. Even if they decide to start impeachment procedures and get him impeached, after they might have convicted him of some impeachable offences, nothing is going to happen. The much they could do will be to start making some noises, and there it ends. The President will still be in office. They have helped him to win his second tenure and they cannot reverse the hands of the clock.

Those who advocate only one tenure, particularly for those in the executive arm of government, know what they are saying. They know that a lot of things, a lot of impunity always happen, due or because of second tenure. Beginning from the “do or die” electioneering campaigns, to the election itself proper, to the post election governance, etc., a lot of people do a lot of crazy and terrible things. It is generally believed that it is during the second tenure that some private pockets are lined or stuffed with government funds through some inflated and phoney contract awards.

Some people believe that the current travails of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, has a lot to do with 2023.

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