Poor Osinbajo! Joins list of big boys who lost their polling units

 

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has suffered what can be called a home defeat in Saturday’s election as his party, the All Progressives Congress, lost at the polling unit where he voted in Ajah, Lagos.

At the polling unit-code 33, unit 2, Victoria Garden City (VGC), the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, got 425 votes while the APC’s Muhammadu Buhari had 229.

The opposition party further won the senatorial and House of Representatives polls. While it had 414 votes in the first, it  (PDP) got 268 in the latter, with the APC having 261 and 190 votes there respectively.

As ‘TheCable’ also recalls in a story, it was in the same unit that the Alliance for New Nigeria’s presidential candidate, Fela Durotoye, also cast his ballot.

Interestingly, Osinbajo’s boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, not only had a good outing at his polling unit in Daura, Katsina State, but he also asserted a Yoruba proverb that says ‘Aileja ni ita baba mi ko debi’, meaning it is only a lazy man that claims he cannot fight on a foreign soil.  This he did by beating Atiku at his polling unit. Well, Buhari too has had a  bit of home defeat in the poll, as Atiku defeated him in the Aso Villa unit and in some other parts of Abuja, the seat of government which, ordinarily, should be the first kingdom of any incumbent President.

For Osinbajo, more importantly, the VGS result may call for some sober reflection. This may  have to wait till the election fever has healed. Indeed, party men may never want anyone to see the development as an issue. Their argument could be that what is crucial is the larger picture – the ultimate result that will hand over the key of the Aso Rock to the pair (president and his vice), who will (continue to) occupy it in the next four years.

Yes, they are right, but not because we are wrong. There is the need to ponder why an enlightened or elite electorate in a place like the almighty VGC would not  give Osinbajo, the Buhari’s government’s poster boy, the largest chunk of their votes. As some commentators noted when social media catalyst and a friend (if not member) of the APC, Ayo Ojeniyi, raised the issue on Facebook earlier today, it may be because the elite are so corrupt that they would not want to vote for a government that is fighting corruption. Yet, some are of the opinion that it may be because the voters in question do not believe in his boss or the capacity of the entirety of the Buhari government.

In the Facebook post, Ojeniyi lightly suggested that Osinbajo should transfer his voting apparatus – that is not his exact language – to his Ikenne, Ogun State, home, far away from the seemingly unappreciative Lagos elite. Simple and straightforward! But, while waiting for a more conducive time to take a more critical look at the issue, one can give some of the ‘rebellious’ VGC voters the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps they may not ‘hate’ Osinbajo as a person, nor even hate his boss in any crude manner. While not giving him the winning votes may be a case of transferred aggression – aggression against the government or APC either at the national or state level, or both – there may be the need to dissect his role in the Buhari administration. Is he a man capable of doing much but who has not really been given the opportunity?

Some people believe that what can still be regarded as the VP’s best came when he was the attorney general and commissioner for justice in the Bola Tinubu government in Lagos. Then, like a Tunde Fowler synonymous with tax revolution, he was given a definite role to play and he achieved a lot in the fundamental restructuring and development of the judiciary. The state is still benefiting from his legacy in this wise. Now, the questions can be asked, that in spite of all his potential, commitment, energy and loyalty, what has been Osinbajo’s achievements in the Buhari government? Has he been in charge of any major unit of governance, say the economy, as Atiku and Okonjo Iweala were in the Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan governments respectively? And if you don’t put him in charge of such, why not bring some three or more major ministries under him with the mandate that he should, working with the ministers in charge, liberate such within about three years?

This could be agriculture, solid minerals and whatever. It could be health, housing and any other that can be combined with them. It could be education, arts and any other segment of governance. Whatever other formula might be used, what is important is using an Osinbajo in an active and restructured government that is not scared of its own shadow, and that does not see the market-to-market distribution of raw loan (Tradermoni) as the best assignment a vice president of his calibre should undertake.  In other words, although any sane person should applaud the Buhari government for empowering the masses, the style it is adopting with the Trademoni intervention, as headlined by Osinbajo, could have had a diminishing effect on the VP’s personality and rating. It could put off anyone who believes in a well structured and elevated way of doing things.

Phenomenal.com.ng thus believes that the Buhari/Osinbajo government has a lesson to learn from the argument sparked by the poll result, especially in terms of the need to refocus, rebuild and re brand governance if and when it comes back.