WHEN CONSCIENCE COLLIDES WITH POLITICS By Sunny Awhefeada

Professor Yemi Osinbajo once combined intellect with integrity. Both gave him name and fame. Beyond these, he is a preacher and professor! His reasoned eloquence gave him presence. He was the moral janitor per excellence. In spite of his diminutive frame, his credentials, moral and professional, towered like the ikenike. He cherished principles and entrenched the praxis of the law. In his dealings, be it in the classroom or in the courtroom, the law was far from being an ass! He was an embodiment of conscience. When Olusegun Obasanjo rode roughshod over Lagos State as president, he it was who used his legal wizardry to liberate the affairs of the state from his suffocating grip. It was thought that the tangle between Obasanjo and Bola Tinubu the state’s arch-politician was moored on the latter’s quest for a true federal system and Osinbajo was the legal embodiment of that quest.
 
All that was once upon a time! Osinbajo is now Nigeria’s vice president and it appears as if politics has tampered with his integrity and mangled his conscience! His name and fame remain. His sparkling intellect and eloquence abide. But what do this count for in the absence of integrity and conscience? When Osinbajo was put up as presidential running mate, many had thought that it was a good match between a hard-faced army general primed to instil discipline in a lawless citizenry and a professor of law who will tamper justice with mercy and ensure that the nation remains on track. But alas, Nigerians realised too late that all of that was a grand political swindle.
 
Once the election was won in 2015, Osinbajo got shorn of the ideals for which he was known and applauded. He embraced equivocation and the disavowal of the truth. One of his acts of moral turpitude was in his disparaging true federalism in order for him to remain in the good books of his new masters. He has never for once interrogated the many inanities of post-2015 governance in Nigeria. .His silence loudly accentuated his consent to the ills perpetuated against Nigerians since 2015. Osinbajo not only got diminished, but Nigeria also did as the hope he held for the country soon morphed into disillusionment.
 
Osinbajo confirmed his new ideological orphan status last year when he chose to assail history. He blamed history for Nigeria’s woes the same week Professor Patrice Lumumba gave a lecture in Lagos during which he valorised the history of Africa. So while history becomes Osinbajo’s scapegoat, it is a redemptive force for Lumumba.
 
Osinbajo has dug deeper in the habit of not taking responsibility for the turbulence being experienced by the ship in which he is a co-captain. The buck passing motif derives from Osinbajo’s principal, President Muhammadu Buhari who blames everything that has gone wrong since he took the oath of office three years ago on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government that preceded his. Buhari has at every opportunity blamed the corruption under the PDP administration for every problem besetting Nigeria today. Even when analysts correctly diagnose the problems as arising from his incompetence he must look in the direction of the previous administration and say “they caused it”.
 
Next to Buhari in this finger pointing is Osinbajo. His analytical mind ought to have made it possible for him to do an honest SWOT analysis of the government in which he is number two and then let his master, Buhari know the truth. But Osinbajo chose to play to the gallery again at the recent colloquium in honour of Tinubu at sixty-six. As usual he was silent on the gross incompetence of his government and railed at the massive corruption of yore. Very sadly, Osinbajo spoke as if corruption is no more in Nigeria. He pretended as if he didn’t know that the present war against corruption is a joke. Nigeria got worse in the global corruption index under Buhari/Osinbajo than it did under the last government.
 
If Osinbajo is honest enough he should commission an independent inquiry to investigate the activities of the present government beginning from the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency to the ministries, departments and agencies and make the report public. Then he will learn to focus on the task of rebuilding Nigeria and stop singing about the ills of yesterday to camouflage the failure of his crew. When Lai Mohammed released his “teaser” list of looters which contained only PDP members he merely wallowed in absurdity and Nigerians thumbed their nose at him. Majority of APC members looted more than those on the list. Can Lai Mohammed mention those who sponsored and marshalled Buhari’s electoral victory and tell us they didn’t participate in looting the nation blind?
 
Osinbajo has almost lost all that made him Osinbajo. In him is the collision between politics and conscience an encounter that privileged expediency. For now, he is ecstatic because of the aphrodisiac of power. Power has taken advantage of his conscience birthed con-science! But this will not be for too long. Someday, conscience shall resurge in truth and call Osinbajo to account for his moral insolvency
 
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