Recently, there has been several reports from different quarters rating Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s performance so far with that of his boss President Muhammadu Buhari who is currently on medical vacation in the UK.
An international media – Reuters has joined in assessing Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s performance so far in Buhari’s absence by insinuating that Nigeria’s economy is “back on track” since Osinbajo took over the reins of power.
Questions were raised by the media house on President Muhammadu Buhari’s capacity to govern Africa’s largest economy, as his absence has left diplomats and business leaders saying the presidency has acted with an energy rarely seen in the two years since 74-year-old was elected. They wrote;
“When protesters marched on Nigeria’s presidential villa earlier this month to complain about a biting recession, they were not repelled by baton-wielding policemen, the usual fate for anyone arriving uninvited at the gate of the country’s power center.
“Instead, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is standing in for the country’s sick leader, sent a vehicle to ferry the protest leaders to his office, where they complained about widespread corruption.
“In a frank admission, Osinbajo acknowledged the government had failed to make as much progress fighting graft as it had hoped. “We hear you loud and clear,” he told the protesters.
“Civil servants say they are handling heftier workloads, while investors are praising a new, long-needed foreign exchange policy.”
While diplomats say Osinbajo’s inner circle is gaining influence inside the presidency, Osinbajo has clarified that his loyalty lies with Buhari, a retired general who has struggled to define a clear strategy to deal with Nigeria’s slide into recession and stands accused by opponents of inaction, according to the report.
Reuters reports that 59-year-old Osinbajo is getting work done by;
- Relaxing visa rules to lure foreign investors — a plan drawn up by Buhari but which like others got stuck in his chief of staff’s office, according to diplomats.
- Making officials in the Aso Rock presidential complex work hours extended to 7 p.m when Osinbajo leaves, or later. Buhari and his aides typically close shop at 4 p.m., according to officials.
- Local residents saying militant attacks on pipelines in the Delta have fallen since Osinbajo promised to drag the region out of poverty in a flurry of speeches. Moreover, Osinbajo has shown himself to be swift to act.
- On one of his trips to Lagos’ international airport, he challenged officials on why the air conditioning and a luggage carousel were not working, and even inspected the toilets. The next day he fired the bosses of Nigeria’s civil aviation.
“Nigeria tumbled into a full-year recession in 2016 for the first time in a quarter of a century as a slump in crude oil revenues hammered the OPEC member’s public finances.
“The Treasury has faced an acute shortage of hard currency that has piled pressure on the Naira, which still trades at a more than 30 percent premium on the black market even after policymakers effectively devalued the currency for private individuals last Monday.
“After stiff resistance from Buhari for a full devaluation throughout last year. With the president absent, last week’s move was seen as testing the waters for a broader weakening.
“The central bank’s move came after the National Economic Council, an advisory body headed by the vice president, called for an urgent review.
“We believe the reform agenda is back on track,” said Bismarck Rewane, CEO of Lagos consultancy Financial Derivatives. ‘The reform agenda has always been there but is more visible now with the vice president,’ he said.
“The president’s office has posted pictures on social media of Buhari recuperating to allay rumors his health was worse than publicly acknowledged, though none have been published for more than a week.
“Osinbajo’s leadership appears to have been accepted in the north, which under an informal deal with the Christian south should have its turn at the helm of power.
“And he has won praise from southerners who felt neglected by Buhari, visiting both the commercial capital, Lagos, and the oil-producing Niger Delta on several occasions. Buhari has visited neither as president.”