Lost My Lap­tops, But Os­in­bajo Must Hear Me!

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - CITY FILE - Abra­ham Og­bodo 08055328079 (Sms only) abra­ham.og­bodo@guardian.ng

ITwas a loaded week. Both an­gels and demons were at work. Just only a week of the re­turn of Back­lash, there was real rea­son, this time around, for an­other un­cer­e­mo­ni­ous exit. Be­fore bed­time on Mon­day – and this is usu­ally be­tween mid­night and 1.00am – I had dumped my two lap­tops (18-inch Dell win­dows and 13-inch Mac Book Pro) on the twoseater by the win­dow. I have not seen them again. While asleep, a thief forced open the win­dow, cut through the mos­quito net and left with both items.

The loss is enor­mous. I am not talk­ing of the money cost of the two com­put­ers. I am talk­ing of the real cost and only those who un­der­stand the com­pos­ite re­la­tion­ship be­tween a reporter and a com­puter can tell the real cost of los­ing a lap­top loaded with data. The brand new Mac was a gift from a friend and still blank af­ter its con­fig­u­ra­tion. The Dell has a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the his­tory of my Back­lash col­umn. That also is not too im­por­tant be­cause all of my pub­lished ar­ti­cles are backed-up in The­guardian sys­tems.

The real is­sue is this. I have ac­cepted in­vi­ta­tion to present the key­note ad­dress at the an­nual con­fer­ence of the Urhobo Progress

Union (UPU) United States chap­ter, tak­ing place in Detroit Michi­gan at the end of the month. Visa and ticket are ready. The speech to be de­liv­ered was in the works in the stolen

Dell lap­top. And so, what drove up my blood pres­sure when the re­al­ity of the loss dawned on me was not the money it would cost to re­place the two com­put­ers, but the lost speech. I will not say more than this. That I am here on this page to­day af­ter the ugly ex­pe­ri­ence could qual­ify for one of the won­ders of the modern world.

ANY­WAY, let’s go into the busi­ness of the day. In­stead of a Pres­i­dent, we now have Act­ing Pres­i­dent in the per­son of Prof. Yemi Os­in­bajo. He used to be Vice Pres­i­dent un­til some 11 days ago when the po­si­tion of the Pres­i­dent be­came va­cant fol­low­ing the ab­sence of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari who went to Lon- don on a 10-day va­ca­tion. Prof. Os­in­bajo is a very ex­pe­ri­enced Act­ing Pres­i­dent. In less than four years, he has been tested thrice in that ca­pac­ity and found to be very ef­fec­tive. In one of the pre­vi­ous tests, he acted for a quar­ter of a year and 15 days when Pres­i­dent Buhari, for rea­sons that had to do with his fail­ing health, stayed out­side the home­land for 105 days.

By all de­scrip­tions, Prof. Os­in­bajo is there­fore not a small boy in the act­ing busi­ness. But be­fore I go any fur­ther, I would like to make the clar­i­fi­ca­tion that “act­ing” in this con­text is not the same as “act­ing” in the con­text of Nol­ly­wood, which is a make-be­lieve busi­ness. I am talk­ing of real act­ing, whereby the Act­ing Pres­i­dent does real things.

Last Tues­day, Act­ing Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo did one of such real things. He sacked the Di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the De­part­ment of State Ser­vices (DSS), Mal­lam Lawal Daura for al­legedly mo­bi­liz­ing armed and masked men of the ser­vice to mount a block­ade at the Na­tional Assem­bly Com­plex, thereby pre­vent­ing leg­is­la­tors from gain­ing ac­cess to per­form their con­sti­tu­tional du­ties.

Daura was sacked just like that for an act that didn’t con­sti­tute an in­frac­tion of the law as at the time of com­mis­sion. The crime was made retroac­tive and I think with a good lawyer, Daura can earn some re­prieves. While we await that, for now, he has be­come an or­di­nary man with or­di­nary pow­ers. In ad­di­tion, Os­in­bajo was able to source a house, big and strong enough to con­tain Daura and stop him from cir­cu­lat­ing about dan­ger­ously. It is called house ar­rest in se­cu­rity lan­guage. In­ter­preted fur­ther, it means a whole Daura was ac­tu­ally ar­rested like any other of­fender by the Nige­ria Po­lice and placed in con­fine­ment.

Per­haps, things changed pretty too fast for Daura to keep pace. Us­ing his men to in­vade pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions in­clud­ing Gov­ern­ment Houses wasn’t an of­fence or even a crime be- fore Buhari left for Lon­don on Au­gust 1, 2018. In 2015, his men in­vaded the Gov­ern­ment House Uyo, and noth­ing hap­pened. The fol­low­ing year, he stepped up his pro­file as an in­vader and in­vaded the houses of serv­ing jus­tices of the Supreme and High Courts in the mid­dle of the night and noth­ing also hap­pened.

There­after, the DSS dished out sala­cious de­tails of how huge sums of money in hard cur­rency were re­cov­ered in the house of one of the raided jus­tices,

Adeniyi Ade­mola. Daura was hailed to high heav­ens as the man Nige­ria needed to win the war against cor­rup­tion. On the other side, it was a com­plete dis­ori­en­ta­tion for the Judges who were used to up­hold­ing the in­no­cence of ac­cused per­sons un­til proven guilty in a court of com­pe­tent ju­ris­dic­tion.

With Daura, the judges were de­clared guilty pend­ing when they would be able to prove their in­no­cence. Be­cause cor­rup­tion is Nige­ria’s pub­lic en­emy num­ber one, any bat­tle plan, con­ven­tional or un­con­ven­tional, clean or dirty, de­ployed to kill it has a way of en­joy­ing in­stant ac­claim. So it was with the Daura bat­tle plan against cor­rupt judges. When he called the judges thieves and raided their houses for stolen items, many Nige­ri­ans in­clud­ing Se­nior Ad­vo­cates of Nige­ria (SANS) were in the side­lines clap­ping and en­cour­ag­ing him to do more to sal­vage Nige­ria from cor­rup­tion.

Prof. Itse Sa­gay (SAN), for in­stance, clapped and also said the FBI in Amer­ica, the equiv­a­lent of Nige­ria’s DSS, would do same in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances. Even Prof. Os­in­bajo, also an SAN, be­ing Vice/act­ing Pres­i­dent, was not heard any­where con­demn­ing the raid. He gave his tac­ti­cal ap­proval. The ac­cu­sa­tions were to be tested in court be­yond the DSS razzmatazz and noth­ing stood firm. All the ac­cused jus­tices just walked away free from their trial into peace­ful re­tire­ment.

Mean­while, buoyed by his marvelous ap­proval rat­ing, noth­ing ever got too big for Daura to take on. He had even chal­lenged his chi to a fight when he blocked, not once but twice, Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion of Pres­i­dent Buhari’s nom­i­nee, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, as the sub­stan­tive chair­man of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC). That is why till date, Magu has op­er­ated in act­ing ca­pac­ity and has per­haps re­mained the long­est act­ing chair­man of any Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment agency in the his­tory of pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion in Nige­ria.

The DSS un­der Daura was also fin­gered in the re­in­state­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the fugi­tive fed­eral civil ser­vant Ab­dul- rasheed Maina, who was on the EFCC and In­ter­pol wanted list for al­legedly em­bez­zling bil­lions of pen­sioner money.

What is even more sur­pris­ing is the fact that Daura had not been queried be­fore now for any wrong­do­ing. There­fore, to sack him for work­ing his beat the way he un­der­stood it is in­jus­tice of the high­est or­der. I do not need to be a pro­fes­sor of law to un­der­stand that ba­sic fact. This is ex­actly why I am ad­vis­ing Daura to go to court to seek re­dress and I can as­sure him that Os­in­bajo be­ing a pro­fes­sor of ju­rispru­dence will obey any court or­der for his re­in­state­ment as DG, DSS. It is not ev­ery­body in Nige­ria that dis­obeys court or­ders.

Some­how, Nige­ri­ans are happy with the sack of Daura by the Act­ing Pres­i­dent and I can say that if the Act­ing Pres­i­dent re­mains con­sis­tent with his act, cit­i­zens may work hard for his prin­ci­pal to re­main in per­pet­ual va­ca­tion. Church G.OS and mosque Imams will go into prayer and fast­ing ses­sions for the med­i­cal va­ca­tion in Lon­don to con­tinue till May 29, 2019 at least.

Ei­ther by de­sign or ac­ci­dent, some of the tough fixes of this ad­min­is­tra­tion hap­pened when Os­in­bajo trans­formed from Vice to Act­ing Pres­i­dent. He, it was who stopped the merry-go-round in the ju­di­ciary and con­firmed the ap­point­ment of Jus­tice Wal­ter Onnoghen as Chief Jus­tice of Nige­ria. I hear also that he was the one who dismissed from the Fed­eral cab­i­net that fel­low who spent N250m to cut grass in some IDP camps. I re­mem­ber he told the In­ter­na­tional Oil Com­pa­nies to re­lo­cate their head­quar­ters to their ar­eas of op­er­a­tions in the Niger Delta.

Above all, Os­in­bajo en­gages to lessen ac­ri­mony in all sit­u­a­tions. And any­time he is Act­ing Pres­i­dent, there is usu­ally a lull in herds­men killings, geo-eth­nic ten­sions and the ex­ec­u­tive/leg­isla­tive face-off. The up­surge in ten­sion re­turns when he also re­turns to be­ing Vice Pres­i­dent.

To­day, Nige­ri­ans are thank­ing him for sack­ing Daura. They are also say­ing that he can do a lit­tle more be­fore he changes back to Vice Pres­i­dent. What is to­day’s date? Time is of the essence here. Pres­i­dent Buhari ought to have com­pleted his 10-day va­ca­tion and re­turned yes­ter­day. If there is ex­ten­sion as in past med­i­cal va­ca­tions, the Act­ing Pres­i­dent, be­fore he steps back, should use the ex­ten­sion win­dow to quickly fix the Po­lice and the EFCC, which have be­come tools for per­se­cu­tion of op­po­si­tion politi­cians. He can also even up with the Na­tional Assem­bly, so that the chase to liq­ui­date Saraki can end for good gov­er­nance to re­sume till 2019.

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