Calling him “Acting President” was very heavy on the lips of many people around in the early weeks of his acting career. The usual appellation freely called was “Vice President”. But as the weeks rolled by, Nigerians got used to his new portfolio. This was only made possible by extended the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and the flurry of activities he has been engaged in on behalf of the president. But is Acting President Yemi Osinbajo the man of the moment?
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
president muhammadu Buhari Possesses A plethora of spiritual gifts. Amongst the lots are gifts of wisdom and prophecy. But the 74 year old man who is currently holidaying in London, United Kingdom, where he is also consulting his medics over an undisclosed ailment, appears to be oblivious of these blessings.
History repeating itself
Once upon a time, there was a military coup in Nigeria and amongsts the Generals at the time, the lot fell on the then young and boisterous Buhari to lead the pathway. Later, he chose the late Babatunde Idiagbon as his second-in-command.
Recall that Buhari gave unfettered authority and powers to Idiagbon which made him to take very radical, unsung decisions.
At the end, what the duo accomplished cannot be forgotten so easily by anyone.
Buhari’s anti-corruption resonated and still resonates with the defunct War Against Indiscipline, WAI on mind.
Yet almost 32 years after, history is repeating itself, in more positive ways.
For over 30 days now, Buhari has been away in London and his Deputy, Osinbajo has been steering the ship of governance in the country and in some lofty estimation, his performance is good and satisfactory to the man who chose him.
Osinbajo’s sixth week in Acting Presidency
Since President Buhari left the shores of the country, keen followers and observers of activities at the presidential Villa, Abuja, would not bat an eyelid to say that Osinbajo has not had rest. It’s been six weeks and the Acting President has been up and doing, not slowing down even a bit.
Monday, February 27, began with the Acting President doing majorly office work. But the day didn’t end without some stir of controversy from the Presidential Adviser on Politcal Matters, Senator Femi Ojudu. Towards nightfall, Ojudu called State House Correspondents and later in a interview pleaded with Nigerians not to set the President and the Acting President on a war path by preferring the latter’s performance within the period of his acting career to that of his boss.
To him, both are one and there shouldn’t be any basis for comparison as Osinbajo is merely executing Buhari’s policies and ideals for the good of the country.
He said: “I think it is thoughtless. I also see it as a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary division. It is a joint ticket. The president and the vice president were elected based on the manifesto of the party and since they were sworn-in, they have been committed to implementing that manifesto.
“The same people who said we never had economic team, no policy, nothing are the ones saying this. It is now the policies we are implementing are maturing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person.
“I will give you an example, there is nothing that has been done since the vice president started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. A good example is the Niger Delta initiative. The President called the Vice President and said I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta, meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefits of Nigerians.
“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day. All the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the President has said unless and until we resolve this problem, we will not get out of recession. The VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta. It is the initiative of Mr. President not that of Vice President.
“He is in charge but like I said earlier on, this is a joint ticket, the president of Nigeria remains the president of Nigeria. He is acting because it is one and the same. He is more experienced, he has been in the game longer than the vice president and if there are major issues that he needs to take decision on, he could call on him and say Sir, what do you think about this we are about to take decision on it. Do you have opinion? That does not mean he is not in charge.”
Tuesday, February 28-A hectic day no like no other
Osinbajo’s Tuesday was heavily crowded. Activities were many and ubiquitous and Journalists didn’t find it funny.
The day began with the launching of Strategic Plan 2017-2019 of the Nigerian Civil Service inaugural quarterly civil service lecture series, with its theme: “Civil Service in a Change Environment: The Change is Now”, held at the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential, Villa, Abuja. Osinbajo was there.
Later, the Acting President retired to his office to meet with Abia State businessmen and industrialists under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs clinic led by the State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.
The meeting was a follow up to Osinbajo’s visit to Abia recently. At the meeting, he once again hailed the economic ingenuity and drive of the governor and also reiterated the commitment of the government to develop Aba, the commercial nerve center of the south east, saying it would do more good for Nigeria than China.
With the Abia meeting over, the Acting President got back to the conference room for another meeting. This time, he inaugurated the Private Sector Advisory Group for the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, the first ever for a United Nations member country.
One would think that the day was over for Osinbajo, but nope, there was another meeting.
At the twilight of the day, he met with Governors of Ebonyi, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States. What for? To resolve boundary disputes which had claimed many lives.
Wednesday March 1-FEC/Security Meetings
By 10 am on Wednesday, the Acting President was already at the Villa for the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, which he chaired. With the meeting over at noon, Osinbajo got into another meeting with the Service Chiefs and members of the security community. It didn’t end until about 6 pm.
Thursday March 2-National Dialogue on Corruption/Osinbajo in Akwa Ibom
Thursday was yet another hectic day for Osinbajo. By 10 am, the Acting President was already ready for the National Dialogue on Corruption, a function organised by his office in collaboration with the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC.
The function which held at the Old Banquet Hall of the Villa principally afforded stakeholders the opportunity to brainstorm on more measures to tackle corruption in the country. It attracted the presence of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Ooneghen, amongst other state functionaries.
Meanwhile, no sooner had the meeting ended than Osinbajo’s jet was ready to fly out of Abuja. Destination: Uyo, Akwa Ibom State where he continued his consultations with the Niger Delta States.
Friday March 3-The Visit of Thailand Ambassador /Osinbajo in Kaduna
As early as 9am on Friday, the Office of the Acting President was already open for the Thailand Ambassador who paid a visit to Osinbajo.
Hardly had the meeting ended when Osinbajo, again, jetted out to Kaduna to inspect the level of work at Kaduna Airport ahead of the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja this week.
He later held a town hall meeting with the State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai and the representatives of the Christain Association of Nigeria, CAN and the JNI amongst others over the Southern Kaduna Crisis. With this over, Osinbajo, it was learnt, headed for Lagos.
Saturday-Osinbajo in Ogun State
By Saturday afternoon, Osinbajo was already in Ogun State to commission the Olusegun Obasanjo library. It was not known as at the time of writing this piece whether he would return to Abuja after the event.
With the week over, Sunday Vanguard gathered that Osinbajo’s itinerary this week, from tomorrow, is also loaded and heavy. Baring any eventuality, the Acting President would be in Ilorin, Kwara State, tomorrow. Another State is also on the card for Tuesday.
In the evaluation of all these activities and their concomitant glory and impact, one wouldn’t help but recall Osinbajo’s remarks while accepting to run with President Buhari at the polls in 2015.
He said: “The task of rebuilding this nation is one to which I am fully committed. There can be no other President, leader and commander that can lead that common sense revolution Nigeria urgently needs than General Muhammadu Buhari. I will proudly serve this country with him. General Buhari’s uprightness and fierce commitment to good governance is well known.
It will be a privilege to work with him. I come to this assignment with lots of hope and a resolve to be a part of this movement to bring Nigeria back to its lost glory. With the support of all Nigerians and the help of God, we shall make Nigeria work again”.
May God help him. God bless President Buhari. God bless Nigeria.