Presidency: Osinbajo is walking on tight rope


More than three months after leaving Nigeria, it remains unclear when President Muhammadu Buhari will return, despite his remarks about his desire to resume work. But even from far-away London Buhari and his aides have restrained Osinbajo.

We gathered from reliable source that the Acting President is so scared to offend President Buhari to the extent that he takes no major action without consent from him through phone.

Instances have been recorded where Osinbajo had to beat a retreat when his decisions didn’t go down well with Buhari’s Chief of Staff.

One of such was when he tried to appoint a new board for an anti-corruption commission he had to withdraw his candidates because Buhari’s aides did not like two names, an official said.

Yemi Osinbajo, who has been running Nigeria since Buhari went to Britain on May 7 has managed to calm tensions in the Niger Delta oil hub and pushed small steps such as a forex trade window to narrow the gap between the official and parallel naira exchange rates.

He also ordered an overhaul of dilapidated facilities at Lagos airport, the main entry gate into Nigeria, as part of a plan to ease doing business.

The new FX trade window has prompted some foreign investors to return, pushing Nigerian stocks to a nearly three-year-high in August.

But its inconclusive nature still holds back investors, London-based Capital Economics said. “There is a possibility that Buhari returns, sees things improving and thinks there is no need to change anything.

Further reforms are desperately needed to achieve meaningful growth,” said John Ashbourne, Africa economist at Capital Economics.

Buhari has kept a grip on power despite his medical leave, and the more business-friendly Osinbajo has been reluctant to challenge him. This has gone as far as him flying to London to get permission for personnel changes.

Osinbajo has gone out of his way to show his loyalty — as a Christian lawyer from southern commercial capital Lagos he is walking a tight rope to avoid policies that may annoy Buhari and his inner caucus.



By: Lekan S. Cardyreal
Source: Nationaldaily
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