BY SAMUEL OSHO
The “unexpected” arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari, dubbed “Baba Go Slow” may stop Nigerians from savouring the delightful taste of minute proceeds emanating from the transitory moment of governance chaired by a “decisive” acting president.
During the medical leave of President Buhari which lasted for 51 days, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo did not only celebrate his sixtieth birthday but also assumed powers as the acting President of the nation.
He used the opportunity to revitalize the economy and reversed the downward fall of Naira in the foreign exchange market. Osinbajo’s approach yielded positive results and evinced his intellectual credentials as an extraordinary leader.
In the unavoidable absence of his boss, the excellent discharge of duties which was driven by his love for the masses made him violate one of the fundamental laws of power as written by Robert Greene: “Never outshine the master.” His distinct decisiveness and charming candour made him a recipient of praises from different corners of the country. His charismatic style of governance was adjudged by many to be superior to the geriatric manoeuvre of his militant boss. Osinbajo’s actions in the past three weeks birthed fantastic results and Nigeria’s economy managed a brief sigh of relief for the first time in the past one year. With the media singing the praises of Osinbajo, a recuperating President who is obviously in need of more rest jumped out of his sick bed and landed in Kaduna.
What did the acting President do differently? He focused on the live of the nation – the economy, and fed it with a list of nutritional supplements that initiated a recovery process. Osinbajo launched a 60-day plan for ease of doing business in Nigeria and also asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pump dollars into the foreign exchange market leading to Naira recovery. He exercised his Presidential powers in full throttle to rescue the economy from the throes of death. He had key meetings with the aggrieved Niger Delta communities especially clans that had feisty relationship with Buhari.
These decisive steps just show that despite his position as the head of the Economic Team as the Vice-president, it is assumed that he was denied the autonomy to dutifully manage the economy from his desk without consulting the President. A successful attempt to lift the economy from a state of decrepitude has removed him from the class of previous VPs who were known as figureheads.
The core message of the Buhari-led administration is summed up in three key priorities: curbing insurgency, fighting corruption and rescuing the economy.
With more than 20 months into his leadership, the country has recorded huge success stories in the struggle to overcome insurgency that almost paralyzed majority of the North-Eastern states. According to the media, the Nigerian military is on the winning side except for the ignominious act of mistakenly bombing a camp with hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). From reports, the insurgency scorecard is well below average because thousands of people affected by insurgency are rotting in IDP camps in the face of utmost neglect and inadequate resources.
Tabloids scream of moves made by anti-graft agencies to intersect and recover millions of Naira but the nation is bereft of information about the prosecution of the heinous criminals who steal public funds. The latest revelations were the hidden treasure of N49 million uncovered at Kaduna airport and the mind-blowing personal treasury of Andrew Yakubu. These arrests make headlines but are traditionally swept under the kept while they gradually slip into oblivion. Nigerians would love to see all those individuals undergoing lengthy trials in courts to be prosecuted and convicted.
On the economic front, the Buhari’s administration failed to take proactive steps in inhibiting the downslide of the economy despite coming into office in the wake of a devastating crash in oil prices in the world market. The past few months have witnessed the proliferation of debilitating policies that aggravated the economic woes of Nigerians. The economic recession is perceptible in the sudden leap in the prices of goods and the sharp decline in the value of Naira.
However, ecstatic testimonies of potential recovery of a stagnant economy crept into the market squares in the absence of Mr. President. Though, they were little changes that resulted from release of brilliant policies by the acting President, it shows the difference between someone who knows what to do and someone who merely rants. Without naming names, it is a disservice to a prodigiously blessed nation like Nigeria to wallow in mediocrity due to the glaring ineptitude of the captain who steers the ship towards an iceberg. No need for competition and a leader who is void of egocentric tendencies should be able to manage the competencies of his followers without nursing any feeling of threat to his authority. Two heads are better than one, all Nigeria needs at the moment is a united leadership in the Aso Rock that can translate to positive results in the lives of Nigerians.
The President is back but this should not in anyway disturb the upward motion of the economy out of this detestable mire. The Presidency should be open to suggestions from experts, listen to the cries of the masses and make effective steps that can assuage the pains of the masses.
Osho, a mechanical engineer, award-winning writer and public speaker, writes from Winnipeg, Canada.