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Nigeria’s increasingly vibrant twitter community was last weekend enlivened by questions as to the whereabouts of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The question as to the whereabouts of the vice-president arose from his seeming quietness in the face of the greatest threat to the lives of the citizenry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As one of the naysayers, Reno Omokiri interjected last Saturday, “Where are General @MBuhari and Pastor @ProfOsinbajo?,” “The more you look for them, the less you see of them.” “It is as if Nigeria has a government in absentia. Leaders should be more visible in a crisis. In our own case, our leaders are the crisis we face!”
As the barrage continued all through last weekend, the vice-president’s equally ingenious social media allies responded with a sort of aplomb.
The Osinbajo camp bombarded twitter with pictures and stories of some activities recently carried out by the vice-president. They even went to the extent of creating a twitter hashtag, #OsinbajoIsActive, to demonstrate the effervescence of the vice-president.
But no one was really deceived. Not even by his spokesman, Laolu Akande who in a statement on Sunday said: “If you have come around wild speculations about VP’s wellness & whereabout in the Social Media, IGNORE the fake news. It’s very easy to follow him on social media as we report his daily activities including meetings with Mr. President, ministers & many others. #OsinbajoIsActive”
The question as to the whereabouts of the vice-president was understandable, given how he has been diminished following the second term inauguration.
The question was especially striking given comparisons in other lands and within Nigeria in the relationship between some governors and their deputies.
The question about Osinbajo’s whereabouts can indeed be contextualized within the love-hate and suspicious relationship between presidents and their vice presidents on one side and governors and their deputies on the other side.