Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been acting president for about three weeks as President Muhammadu Buhari continues on another extended leave in London for a mystery illness, yesterday took the “acting” part of his job a bit too far with a visit to Garki Market in Abuja.
His spokesman chose to describe this act of folly on Twitter this way:
As May 29 Democracy Day approaches, Ag. President Osinbajo in surprise stop @Garki market, Abuja to feel the pulse of Nigerians. Engagement
— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) May 26, 2017
It’s quite curious that Osinbajo only seems to want to “feel the pulse of Nigerians” with this type of photo-op whenever Buhari is out of circulation through incapacity. In February as Buhari was holed up again in London, Osinbajo paid a surprise visit to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, which included toilet inspecting duties.
The desperate need to be seen and photographed to be doing something is always a sign of the absence of genuine solutions to the country’s problems. It is ironic that Osinbajo, whose fans liked to portray as a technocratic, capable and safe pair of hands, is now playing to the gallery to enhance his “man of the people” credentials.
This is straight out of the Ayo Fayose playbook. The Ekiti State governor from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been slammed regularly by supporters of Osinbajo’s All Progressives Congress (APC) for doing exactly what the vice president did yesterday and his spokesman, Lere Olayinka, didn’t hesitate to take to Twitter to remind Nigerians of who has the patent on the market photo-op.
— Lere Olayinka – Aresa 1 (@OlayinkaLere) May 26, 2017
One Nigerian on the Nairaland forum aptly summed up how bad governance is in the country with: “walking through a market is now an achievement? The bar is so low these days.” Fayose seemed to have lowered the bar with those publicity stunts and rather than raise the bar with competent policy making that would genuinely make a difference to the lives of long-suffering Nigerians, Osinbajo has chosen to stoop to the Ekiti State governor’s level.
If Osinbajo could actually “feel the pulse of Nigerians”, he should be able to tell that they are tired of the gimmickery and the fakery. He and his government should stop acting and start delivering the genuine change they promised or be punished at the polls in 2019.