The Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended gives the Vice President and Deputy Governors limited powers and functions. That’s a given. But since the commencement of the All Progressive Congress (APC) led government in 2015, it has been a jolly relationship between the President and his Vice. One, a former dictator and converted democrat while the other, Professor of Law from the University of Lagos. The marriage was beyond people’s imagination. It was an amalgam of two distinct worlds attempting to salvage the country from the claws of underperformance exaggerated by People Democratic Party (PDP) government led by Goodluck Jonathan.

Rather than throw the country into another crises of leadership vacuum which was experienced during the ill health of former President Umaru Musa Yardua, President Buhari delegated power to the Vice in the course of his recurrent medical treatment of an undisclosed illness in far away London a while back. The cabal in the presidency never hid their disaffection about this gesture and Osibanjo didn’t make their chilavry difficult.

There has been no love lost between the cabal and Prof Yemi Osibanjo but the professor who in recent times have been derisively dubbed VP Academics didn’t seem to be aware or unruffled. He carried on with a straight face and some of his actions during this delegation of power could be fingered as gaining him the ultimate wrath of the cabal. While he presided in the absence of his boss, there was a siege on the Legislative arm of the Government by the Department of State Security (DSS) which earned the former DSS boss Alhaji Lawal Daura, a summary dismissal from office. Lawal Daura’s closeness to Buhari is an open secret and many are of the opinion his job would have been secure irregardless of his gaffe if the President had been on seat. Also, while presiding in the absence of his boss, the Vice President okayed the appointment of Honourable Justice Walter Onoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Buhari had hitherto foot dragged on this appointment. Onoghen was later eased out of the system due to some corruption allegations

On September, 16, 2019, President Buhari dissolved the National Economic Council hitherto headed by his Vice and replaced it with Economic Advisory Council that will be reporting directly to him. This followed a suspected directive that all agencies and ministerial departments under Prof Yemi Osibanjo’s watch be redirected to report directly to Mr President.

Two days later, an ad hoc committee report of the House of Representatives was released. It indicted the Vice President of illegally approving funds for National Emergency Relief operations. Unsurprisingly, his media aides have rushed to absolve him of any wrong doings. It has been a busy week at the Vice President’s office.

Suddenly the once upon a time Starboy of the Buhari led administration seems to be greeted with heat from all cylinders. Who wants the Vice President out or reduced to a lame duck with no real political strength?

There seems to be a clandestine attempt to ease out the Vice President out of the Presidency to give way to another Northern Presidency in 2023. The suspected attack on the Vice President looks more like a remote strategy at 2023 election than mere punishment for stepping on Cabal’s toes pre 2019 elections. This is probable as Osinbanjo occupies the highest political office from the zone expected to produce the next President if the unwritten zoning formula is not jettisoned.

A recent tweet by El Rufai the Governor of Kaduna state and one of the prominent Northerners unashamedly looking to take over from Buhari, read, “The moment the masquerade begins to think he is God, the masquerade will be unmasked and reduced to be a laughing stock that is lower than a human being”. As much as one do not know the intent of this suspicious tweet from an important person as El Rufai, all the signs are there for a discerning mind if the present ordeal of the Vice President is to be taken into account.

The same Mallam Nasir El Rufai in a foreword he wrote to a book titled “Power of Possibilities and Politics of Change in Nigeria”– written by the Director-General of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman and published just last month August, wrote that, ” Even with our success in the 2015 elections, there is room for improvement. Barriers to political equality, such as our seemingly entrenched though informal rule for zoning candidacies according to regions of origin, need to be de-emphasised and ultimately abandoned in favour of an emphasis on qualification, competence and character”.

It is difficult not to empathise with the Vice President given the important roles he has played in making the present administration look human to the people. The government battled with the Niger Delta Avenger, a new militant group in the Niger Delta struggle, with their  constant bombing of pipelines and kidnapping of foreign oil workers. Knowing they needed to do something before things gets out of hand and affect the oil outputs, Osibanjo was the perfect sailor to drive the peace ship. He met all the Niger Delta Governors, some select Traditional rulers and even dialogued with some of the Militants. The end result can be felt with the income Nigeria has been generating from oil. In the South East, a place President Buhari only visited during electioneering period, the Vice President was welcomed. Prof Osibanjo has been able to bridge the gap between the Federal Government and Igbo people who are still not happy and felt marginalized in the sharing of the national cake.

These are just few to mention from the roles that earned the Vice President the moniker Starboy. The Presidency has denied ostracizing him but daily policies emanating from the seat of power keep suggesting otherwise. Is Osibanjo another victim of Fulani hegemony?