“The Buhari/Osinbajo presidency is a perfect definition of toxic leadership; toxic leadership is the type that leaves a place worse than it met it. Yes, things were bad when Buhari and Osinbajo took over in 2015 but they have made it worse, thus qualifying ultimately as toxic leaders…”

It is no longer news that Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has declared to run for the office of the president. By declaring, he ended months of hide and seek and speculations that he would go for the top position in the country. Douglas MacArthur once noted that “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” That is where the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency has steeped Nigeria, a prostate nation.

Going by the 1999 Constitution(as amended, the man is eminently qualified – a Professor of Law, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a senior pastor of the Redeemed Church of God, and more. But as the vice president of a government that has been adjudged, nationally and internationally, as a disaster, his declaration is both insensitive and an affront. An incumbent should run to become president on the strength of the achievements of the government he so diligently served as a vice. So, what achievements does Osinbajo hope to ride on and flaunt before Nigerians to make them, as patriots and citizens, rally for him?

As a matter of fact, in a sane clime, the Buhari/Osinbajo government ought to have since resigned or been impeached by the appropriate organs of government. Now, the vice president wants to take over and what is more, he has promised to complete what the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency has started. So, the question is: what exactly has President Buhari started that Osinbajo wants to finish or bring to a logical conclusion?

Though he didn’t tell us what he and his boss started that he plans to complete, we are all living witnesses (thousands have actually died in the last 7 years) as victims of the most clueless and callous government in the nation’s history. Their monumental failures are in every sphere and the nation itself is fast becoming a failed state with all the vital signs in full display.

Professor Osinbajo needs not be reminded that the beautiful manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC), contained 222 promises, among them restructuring Nigeria, state police, reductions in exchange rate and pump price of PMS , among others. In short, the APC came into office in 2015, essentially to deal with insecurity, corruption, fix the economy and unemployment.

Can Professor Osinbajo point to one aspect of these great promises that has been fulfilled by the government he serves as vice president? What everyone can see is that insecurity has grown terribly worse and the dangerousness of the situation has engulfed the whole nation, including Abuja the seat of power.

As at 2015 when APC took over the reins of power, the nation confronted only Boko Haram terrorism, which had been confined to Sambisa forest, from where they made incursions. The killer herdsmen only engaged in hit and run. But today, they confidently and defiantly occupy communities they have sacked unchallenged.

Today too, bandits who Honourable Bugaje told the nation were brought into Nigeria to ensure that APC took over power in 2015, have grown in tens of thousands and have also gained the status and stature of a terrorist organisation (as pronounced by Nigerian courts). Meanwhile, Boko Haram terrorism, which the President said had been technically defeated, has been waxing stronger and bigger. ISIS (ISWAP) as well as Al Qaeda from the Maghreb have all converged on the Lake Chad basin to swell the Boko Haram ranks and its capacity to cause more deaths and destructions.

Bandits have grown also in temerity and only days ago bombed an Abuja-Kaduna train, after attacking Kaduna International airport. Then they occupied Abuja-Kaduna road for days while holding over 160 Nigerians hostage up till this moment. In the last couple of months, the bandit terrorists have attacked over 10 military fortresses in Kaduna and in the North East generally, killing over 700 soldiers and unknown number of Nigerians. Governor El Rufai has threatened to import more mercenaries to help his government in dealing with insecurity in Kaduna state.

In the face of these clear and present dangers and national emergencies, the vice president who the governor of his party thus indicted wants to be president and will likely stay in office for 8 years. Is Yemi Osinbajo really aware that Nigerians are praying fervently for the expiration of the government he serves as vice president? Does he know that Nigerians now fear that the nation may not even survive another one year under the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency?

The two reasons a government is formed and allowed by citizens who surrender their freedom and rights are for security of life and property, and for welfare of citizens. Can the man of God – Yemi Osinbajo – honestly say that the government he serves as vice president has discharged these primary responsibilities of government?

Yemi Osinbajo has been responsible for the government welfare package called TraderMoni but hands the money out to select few only during elections for obvious reasons. Let us leave out the nepotistic appointments he has attracted as vice president for another day. The reason most of such appointments went to Redeem pastors will be taken up in another piece.

Corruption has grown wings under the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidency too. There is no doubt there was corruption when the APC took over power in 2015. But according to Transparency International and cursory observations, corruption has grown much worse. Unemployment has tripled and the economy is collapsing.

In 2015, the prices of basic food items were at least 4 times lower than what they cost today. Rice sold for N8, 000. Today, rice is about N40, 000; a mudu of garri was N100 but today, it is approaching N500; a basket of tomato was N2, 500 and today N16, 000 (we hear that a basket of tomato now goes for over N30, 000 in the South-East), to mention a few.

Here is a Buhari/Osinbajo presidency that met Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa but mismanaged it into a double recession and rebased and debased the country to poverty capital of the world (this is also official). The highest number of poor people are today in Nigeria while the youth unemployment rate is now 55% and over 30% galloping inflation now prevails, which was only 9% in 2015. The Buhari/Osinbajo presidency met $1 at about N190; today, it is about N595/$1. This government met fuel at N87 and today, it is selling from N165 to N250 and likely to go higher.

Professor Osinbajo should spare us any sermons. We hear he couldn’t do much as a vice president due to constitutional constraints. This is not true. There is one thing Osinbajo could have done and today, Nigerians will be looking for him as their ultimate leader: resign. By failing to resign and for not speaking up when the country was being run aground, he became an accomplice and betrayed the masses who hoped in him.

Atiku Abubakar (vice president as he then was) stood up to Olusegun Obasanjo as President when it became necessary. Even one ordinary minister Dora Akunyili spoke up when vice president Goodluck Jonathan was denied the constitutional right of succeeding the incapacitated President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. But as Nigeria faces existential threats flowing from bad government policies and actions, Osinbajo chose to stay put and now says he wants to finish what the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency couldn’t finish. May the question be posed again: what does Osinbajo want to complete when he becomes president? A bitterly divided country, or ‘Land for RUGA or your life’ policy? Or, to watch security and disunity faultlines escalate as he is doing today?

Yemi Osinbajo is a professor and therefore an educationist. Yet, he is vice president in country, which is now rated as having highest in out of school children in the world with over 300 of these students still in the bush with terrorists who kidnapped them from various schools, including Leah Sharibu who, we are told, has delivered two babies in terrorists’ captivity, to say nothing about ASUU ongoing indefinite strike. He is also a senior advocate of Nigeria and therefore should be a legal activist. Yet, the government he serves as vice is sitting on EndSARS Lekki Tollgate massacre report.

Beyond any doubt, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is coming to complete the strangulation of Nigerians and the nation state. He is part of a presidency which inherited almost zero debts but today, Nigeria is borrowing even from the devil to service debts. Like some of us warned when Buhari was elected in 2015, Yemi Osinbajo is clearly a bad omen. He couldn’t stand up for dying Nigerians and the collapsing economy as vice president.

Like George Orwell noted, the people that elect corrupt politicians are not victims but accomplices. For a fact: the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency is a perfect definition of toxic leadership; a toxic leadership is the type that leaves a place worse than it met it. Yes, things were bad when Buhari and Osinbajo took over in 2015 but they have made it worse, thus qualifying ultimately as toxic leaders. Elect such a character at your peril,  a pastor who will destroy South Nigeria solidarity and usurp the chance of the South-East instead of standing on social justice and righteousness which is the footstool of God he claims to be His shepherd.

The future of 210 million Nigerians and the most populous black nation on earth cannot be entrusted into the hands of a man of God who sees evil perpetrated in the land and cowers or takes advantage of it. The risk is just too high.

• Dr. Law Mefor is in Abuja


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