Yesterday, the 16th of September, 2019, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo presided over the weekly Economic Management Team, EMT, meeting. This was reported by his Aide, Laolu Akande.
It was a routine meeting, and it adjourned to meet next week, as usual.
About an hour later, Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Media Aide, announced the dissolution of the EMT and its replacement with the Economic Advisory Council, EAC.
The VP, who is the Chairman of the constitutionally established National Economic Council, was excluded from the EAC.
He was not informed of this decision.
By last night, credible rumours emerged that there are plans to move the Social Investment Programme under the VP and National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, also statutorily chaired by him, to the desk of the new Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya.
Prof. Salami apparently says he was consulted but only about possible appointment as an Adviser to the President. No one told him about Advisory Council or about replacing or abolishing EMT.
People who have spoken to Prof. Chukwuma Soludo say he didn’t have a clue either.
This tactic is not new.
They pulled a similar move against the National Livestock Transformation Programme, NLTP, setting up a National Food Security Advisory Council chaired by Buhari with Kebbi State Governor as Vice. Osinbajo is not on it. They asked Osinbajo to report to it.
The Council has not met since it was inaugurated.
Strategically, this makes sense.
What we are witnessing is a grand plot to castrate Osinbajo, whom all the camps (Tinubu, Kyari) must see as their most potent threat in a putative succession battle to Buhari (if Baba chooses not to go for a 3rd term bid).
They NEED to render him useless. So, everything likely to give him political capital is being taken away. NEMA and Social Investment are doing that: when you give hope to the poor, they love you. EMT gives him a technocratic calling card with cross-departmental and inter-agency clout.
The only problem, paradoxically, is Baba’s fierce loyalty. He trust Osinbajo. How Prof. stayed loyal during Baba’s health crisis has made him a trusted ally of the President.
To date, he still has Baba’s ears.
Probably the most fascinating aspect for me, as a student of politics, is the Tinubu one. That he would allegedly sacrifice his own political son for his shot at the Presidency is a pure Machiavellian maneuver.
I do not know whether to be appalled or to applaud.
As citizens, we sometimes need to look beyond the headlines our newspapers are ‘allowed’ to report.
We should all be worried that institutional structures are being weakened and undermined in the pursuit of personal ambition.
Anyway, before dem invite me for questioning, na conspiracy theory.
Written by: Ose Anenih