By Reno Omokri
I am loving the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo right now and for good reasons too. In the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari, Pastor Osinbajo-led the Executive Council of the Federation’s meeting and ministers were forced to deliberate for seven hours!
It is the longest meeting ever under this administration and my reaction to it was WOW! This is my kind of man!
I have previously said that Nigeria actually attains more progress when President Muhammadu Buhari travels out of the country and Vice President Osinbajo has again vindicated my judgment.
Only on Monday the 13th of February, 2017, while in Rivers State, Vice President Osinbajo declared that the federal government would work with illegal refineries and help convert them to modular refineries.
Such forward thinking! Professor Osinbajo represents the Progressives in the name, All Progressives Congress. I applaud and celebrate him today.
His approach to the Niger Delta challenge is an approach of intelligence and diplomacy and will achieve far more than President Buhari’s shock and awe approach!
The man approached the region with compassion and understanding, not with threats and bluster as his boss did when he had the chance. He physically visited and toured the region whereas his principal made promises to visit but chickened out when the time came to implement his promises.
Professor Osinbajo spoke kindly and respectfully to the governors of the region and praised them for their efforts, even giving one of them the pet name, ‘Mr. Projects’.
Is it any surprise then that oil production has continued to rise and militancy has waned in the period that Vice President Osinbajo has been acting?
The man speaks to Nigerians as a leader should. He does not talk at us like the President. He talks to us.
I may have issues with what he said to the protesting labour leaders but I am still impressed that he met them, listened to them and was courteous to them.
And look at his Kennedyesque response to the #IStandWithNigeria protesters: ‘To those who are protesting, WE HEAR YOU loud and clear.’ He sounded like JFK in Berlin on June 26, 1963 saying to the oppressed people of that iron-curtain enclave, “Ich bin ein Berliner”!
You see, he is a remarkably poised Acting President! Even if you do not like him, you must respect Vice President Osinbajo.
President Buhari can stay back in London or any foreign city that catches his fancy, all he wants – waiting for tests and taking phone calls. With Osinbajo acting for him, Nigerians do not miss him!
In fact, he can turn his vacation into a sabbatical if he so pleases. We have tasted civility and are in no hurry to return to the barbarity meted out to the Shiites, IPOB protesters, Rann Internally Displaced Persons and sundry other protesters in the recent past.
From his actions since President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to London this January, there is no doubt in my mind that Vice President Osinbajo knows the whereabouts of all his academic certificates!
Even when President Muhammadu Buhari returns, I would advise him to make Vice President Osinbajo the face of his government in just the way that the late Major General (rtd) Tunde Idiagbon was the face of his first incarnation.
Recall that Nigerians so loved Idiagbon and that it was when Idiagbon travelled that that regime collapsed, proving the point that he was the legs that held up that table!
With Vice President Osinbajo, President Buhari does not need his disastrous and fallacious minister of information who has caused credibility issues for his government.
Lai Mohammed acts as if his job description is to make enemies for this administration rather than to attract friends for the government in which he serves.
The same Lai Mohammed, who once claimed that thousands of jobs could be created by masquerade dressing, was only able to generate a paltry ₦620,000 from the culture and tourism arm of his ministry in 2016! Obviously, Lai Mohammed did not find enough Masquerades to dress!
This brings me to the issue of the Trump/Buhari call. Immediately that call was announced, I knew it was genuine and I said so on my social media profiles. I was the first person other than the President’s aides to do that.
I did not bargain for the intense vitriol that was thrown at me by the President’s haters who had weaved all manner of conspiracy theories and felt that their web of conjecture had been punctured by my validation of the call.
Thankfully, a day after I publicly affirmed that the call was genuine, White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, confirmed the Donald Trump/Muhammadu Buhari call.
Will all those who insulted and denigrated me over my assertions that the call was genuine now be honourable enough to apologise to me? I hope this will put an end to all the conspiracy theories.
I DO NOT believe in the Buhari administration for even one minute. In my opinion, former President Goodluck Jonathan is a much better leader than Buhari BY FAR. However, I will never lie against or support those who lie against Buhari for political purposes.
Do not allow your hatred for President Muhammadu Buhari affect your love for Nigeria. The Donald Trump/Buhari call indeed took place and is good for Nigeria! Give the man his due. When opposition becomes hatred or leads to a death wish, it stops being Godly and starts being satanic. I am an opponent not a hater!
And talking about haters, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, was on television this week and called the President’s critics ‘haters’. Apparently, he has not got the memo. The President’s greatest hater is within.
Nobody can hate President Muhammadu Buhari more than his Secretary to the Government of the Federation because if the SGF really loved his boss, he would have seen how much of a liability he has become to the President’s famed integrity and resigned.
As long as Babachir Lawal sits on that exalted chair, nobody in his right mind will believe in the anti-corruption war anymore even if they once foolishly believed in it before. Not Nigerians, not the international community and not even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission itself!
Babachir Lawal is an unabashed, brazen and in-your-face proof that what we have is an anti-opposition war not an anti-corruption war!
On Valentine’s Day, we read the comments of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as he spoke to an obviously sponsored motley crowd of pro-Buhari protesters.
The SGF said, ‘When President Buhari finishes ruling, Nigeria will never return to the Jonathan era.’ Babachir Lawal should know that Jonathan’s era is gone. But we beg him to please ask his boss to return our economy to how he met it. At this stage we are not even asking for improvements!
The Jonathan administration left $2.07 billion in the Excess Crude Account when it handed over to the Buhari administration on May 29, 2015 as well as foreign reserves of $29. 6 billion. Slightly over $5 billion was left for the Buhari administration by way of dividend payments from the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company.
At the time of the handover, Nigeria’s GDP growth rate was 6.1% (for the last full year before the handover), inflation rate was in the single digits and stood at 9.5%, the Naira to Dollar exchange rate stood at $1 to NGN199 and on the parallel market, it was $1 to NGN216.
The price of premium motor Spirit (also known as petrol) stood at NGN87, the price of a 25kg bag of rice (a staple food in Nigeria) was N8,000. We were also generating 4000 MWs of electricity at the handover (still not enough) and were projected by CNN Money as the world’s third-fastest growing economy even as we were very comfortably the largest economy in Africa.
Also the International Food Policy Research Institute had listed Nigeria under President Jonathan as one of only a handful of nations to have reduced hunger levels (Nigeria’s hunger index dropped from 16.3 in 2005 to 15 in 2013).
Every economic indicator I have just cited above can be verified by a simple Google search and I urge my readers to perform one and not take my word for it.
If the Buhari administration can return Nigeria to the economy we had on May 29, 2015, we will all be pleased and start celebrating. But alas, the SGF is saying that those good old days will never return. Maybe for him and his family!
On that same Valentine’s Day, the papers had the ‘achievement’ that the Buhari administration has ₦5 trillion in the Treasury Single Account. If that is true, then why do we still have to borrow?
The next day’s headline had the presidency saying that the economy is recovering ‘fast’. If that is true why is the Naira’s value dropping fast? Or is a failing currency the new economic indicator of an improving economy? These are all efforts by loyalists of the President to divert our attention from pressing national issues.
On the February 12th, 2017, I tweeted as follows:Over the next few days, there’ll be desperate attempts to divert attention of Nigerians by announcing both real and imagined recovered Loot!
The very next morning an administration surrogate on Channels Television falsely accused Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of returning $35 million to the Federal Government!
This is a lie. I have spoken to Pastor Ayo and he neither received nor refunded $35 million to anyone but most especially the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government or any of its agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission or the Central Bank of Nigeria. He has also not been questioned by anybody or agency of this administration. Beware of more of such distractions in the coming days!
‘They nurse disputes amongst citizens, so that citizens, distracted by differences, should not unite against them’ – Machiavelli The Prince, Chapter 20. Does this sound familiar?
This is exactly what is happening in Nigeria today. When Nigerians start asking relevant questions about where we are as a nation today, they start regaling the nation with sensation from yesterday.
It is like this: Nigerians ask why the economy is collapsing and they respond by saying, ‘hey look, see $9.7 million loot!’ That distracts the public and gets them fighting each other while they prepare the next distraction for when the people’s suffering slaps them back to reality.
If you have not read Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, do yourself a favour and read it. It will help you understand the new and improved Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari!
And on the Andrew Yakubu loot. Do not be deceived. This is the truth of the matter which you can again verify via a cursory Google search.
Andrew Yakubu was found wanting and then President Goodluck Jonathan fired him while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigated him. The Grass cutter, Babachir Lawal awarded a contract to himself and allegedly received kickbacks from the company and the APC controlled Senate published proof of this, yet President Muhammadu Buhari did not fire Mr. Lawal and instead wrote so long a letter to defend him! And you are here, a brainwashed APC loyalist, celebrating?
Do you know who criticised then President Goodluck Jonathan for firing Andrew Yakubu in 2014? It was the APC. It is because they believe you are mentally lazy that is why they expect you to blame Goodluck Jonathan today for the Andrew Yakubu they fought for and defended when he sacked him.