Breaking news out of Nigeria indicates that Nigeria’s Acting President a Law Professor has fired the head of Nigeria’s secret police in the most major government shakeup of this administration in 3 years.
The move followed the besiegement this morning of the parliament by masked secret police in the third week running of attempts to topple the senate.
VP Osinbajo took over as Acting President when President Buhari left for London on vacation. However some analysts saw it as a set up to distance the president from the “coup” against the Senate President.
From online videos we heard senators calling out the VP during the siege and a courageous female MP daring the secret police to shoot.
Acting President Osinbajo’s swift and decisive action will stabilize the polity and halt the rapid slide into anarchy.
Last month in a radio interview in Washington, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Ogebe JSC had this to say, “what makes me so disturbed as a lawyer and a judge is that the government has no respect for the rule of law. They do what ever they like. A court will make an order against them but they will not obey and that is not what we voted for. We want to have democracy similar to what is happening here. We want people to have liberty and freedom of speech just as it is in America, but that is not what is happening. We have dictatorship there.”
It is not certain if Prof Osinbajo’s dismissal of Lawal Daura the President Buhari’s powerful nephew will stand. Daura has been retired from the secret police for incompetence but was made the head when his uncle Buhari came to power.
Daura is part of the President’s shadow cabinet and is in fact believed to be a key member of the cabal that runs the presidency and the president himself to the exclusion of VP Osinbajo and sometimes even Buhari.
Analysts see this as an epochal move by the VP who has been criticized for standing by in the face of executive lawlessness to be on the right side of history. Inaction on his part could have brooked impeachment or total breakdown of law and order.
It is doubtful if Prof Osinbajo did this without consulting the president but regardless as a law professor he knows full well that as acting President he is able to do this.
Ironically Prof Osinbajo has been the redeeming grace for this woeful failure of an administration. Last year he ruled a few times while Gen Buhari was abroad on sick leave but his popularity stemming from his urbane and humane disposition caused Buhari’s hawks to circumscribe him.
It is dire times in Nigeria right now and people are calling for prayers for Osinbajo whom they see as facing his Esther moment - “if I perish, I perish!”
It should be noted that Prof Osinbajo avoided a constitutional crisis last year when he appointed a Chief Justice for Nigeria while he was acting President. President Buhari had delayed the appointment of the first southern Christian Chief Justice in 30 years.
Similarly, Prof Osinbajo had also indicted and recommended the removal of Buhari’s longest-serving cabinet member for theft of funds meant for victims of terrorism. While President had defended the Secretary to the Government despite a senate report that indicted him, Prof Osinbajo did not exculpate him.
Although the president reluctantly fired the secretary to the government, he has still not been prosecuted and remains a high profile poster boy for this administration’s selective justice.
Whatever the case, these are sensitive times for Prof Osinbajo. The fate of Nigeria seems to be in the hands of this humble, brilliant and God-fearing man at least for another week.