People & Money

Osinbajo’s Threat to Continue Buhari’s Great Work (1)

After months of speculation, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, declared his intention to run for the presidency in 2023.  His candidacy faces one major hurdle and that’s the outgoing administration he has served as Number 2. In his declaration speech, the VP said that he was running for the highest office in the land to continue the great work the incumbent, President Muhammad Buhari has been doing. To many Nigerians, that sounds like a threat. It is like telling prisoners near the end of their term that their incarceration would soon begin afresh.

The Vice President said in his speech, “if by the grace of God and the will of the people, I am given the opportunity, then I believe that first, we must complete what we have started.”  But what exactly have they started that the VP wants to complete? The VP answers with a list of projects and programmes which includes the reform of “our educational system for relevance to the challenges of this century”. What reform? The primary and secondary schools, which are controlled by local government and state governments, have not received any significant federal government attention in the last eight years. In 2018, the National Economic Council headed by the Vice President encouraged state governors to declare an emergency on education their states. But nothing ever came out of this.

The Unity Schools that are run by the federal government are neglected and barely better than state public schools. Some 10.5 million children are said to be out of school, the highest number in the world. This is a frightening reality that has barely received any government attention. Finally, federal higher institutions are continually bedeviled by poor funding, unworkable governance structures, and persistent strikes while the incumbent government has focused on creating more higher institutions.

Also Read: Vice President Osinbajo Says Nigeria to Bid Farewell to Western Banks

The VP also wants to “radically transform our security and intelligence architecture”, but the government he co-runs has watched as Nigeria is plunged into an extreme state of insecurity. While the administration inherited armed conflict in the Northeast and communal violence in Northcentral, the country is now marred with violence in all the six regions of the country.

The death toll from Northwest and Northcentral now rivals that produced by Boko Haram at the height of the insurgency. While the Northeast has seen improvement, the threat of the insurgents hasn’t gone away and millions of our people remain internally displaced in the region as armed groups continue to stage attacks. It is impossible to get through a newspaper, any newspaper, on a given day without running into a story of carnage, of mindless killing. Our roads are unsafe, so is our railway. Kidnapping is now a national sport.

Equally on the VP’s list is “ensuring justice for all and the observance of rule of law.” For an administration that routinely disobeys court orders and violently cracks down on dissent and protests, this promise makes little sense. The problems facing our judiciary are as immense today as they were in 2015. Our courts are overwhelmed with cases, our prisons are overflowing with detainees who are awaiting trials.

The police and law enforcement agencies remain a law unto themselves, trampling on the rights of Nigerians. This administration supervised the killing of hundreds of Shiites in Kaduna and Abuja over the last seven years and the killing of EndSARS protesters in Lekki and other places in Lagos, and many other states. Prof Osinbajo should explain why this incumbent administration has failed to make any dent in Nigeria’s administration of justice before asking for Nigerians to retain and promote him.

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