by Alexander O. Onukuwe
It is no more a secret; the schemes to impeach the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, is becoming clearer than a doctor’s handwriting.
A botched motion on the floor of the Senate sought to take advantage of Osinbajo’s absence to make the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, a temporary President. That moment did not last so long but it has increased the alert level in the country on the instability of the Executive.
The process for the removal of a President on the basis of incapacitation, as prescribed in the Nigerian Constitution, relies on two-thirds of the Ministers on the President’s Cabinet to declare him unable to continue in his role. It goes on to the Senate from where it eventually leads to a Gazette notice.
However, this process would not technically be an “impeachment”. Questions have been raised as to why the issue of the replacement of the President has not been raised despite President Buhari’s ill-health and indefinite stay in London.
Instead, Yemi Osinbajo’s position has been the one under threat, right from the week of the 8th of May, when he, for the second time in 2017, became in charge of the Government. Osinbajo’s actions have not gone down well with everyone, obviously, even in the Presidency. While no Minister has publicly contradicted Osinbajo much, there have been some kinds of pressure to ramp up controversy from within the Presidency to unsettle the synergy between Osinbajo and other officers in Aso Rock.
Right now, the pressure appears to be turned a notch upwards. The interpretations of the Malami tape seem to be more in this direction, geared to pit the Federal Executive Council against the Acting President. Disconcerting the FEC by making it appear that the Ministers are on a different page from the Acting President would be one step in the plans of those who would want the Acting President’s authority and power questionable, hence, subsequent to possible impeachment.
Why anyone would be for this may not be exactly clear but it becomes increasingly palpable that Osinbajo’s path to becoming a substantive President if anything happens to Buhari may not be as black and white as it should be.