A report by foreignpolicy.com has revealed that close aides of President Muhammadu Buhari are uncomfortable with the rising popularity of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
The report said the president’s aides countenance has been ‘’leaked to the press,’’but was silent on whether it was the local or international press.
If there is one ray of hope to be gleaned from the bizarre saga of Buhari’s disappearance it’s that his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has filled in admirably in his boss’s absence.
He has to launched a 60-day plan to boost the flagging economy, met with state-level officials to address the issue of skyrocketing food prices, and travelled to the restive Niger Delta region as part of ongoing negotiations aimed at stopping frustrated youths there from destroying oil installations.
Osinbajo also made a surprise visit to the country’s busiest airport in Lagos, walking through the chaotic terminal to personally inspect infrastructure — broken toilets, non-functioning escalators, faulty baggage carousels, and dusty air conditioners — and call for much-needed repairs.
Many Nigerians have been taken in by his energy and enthusiasm, which contrasts sharply with the trademark lethargy that earned Buhari the nickname “Baba Go-Slow.”(Buhari has yet to visit Lagos or the Niger Delta during his presidency.)
“Osinbajo is not a career politician, so he never even planned on being a vice president, yet he is already so much more than Buhari, who has campaigned 12 years to become the president of this country,” said Salaudeen Hashim, a political analyst and officer at the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center in Abuja.
He added: “Buhari ran in 2003, 2007, and 2011 before he finally won in 2015. And now that he is president, Nigerians are wondering what he has done at all.”
But reports that Buhari’s closest aides are uncomfortable with Osinbajo’s rising popularity have already leaked to the press.
It’s times like these that political loyalties are tested, and when working closely with Osinbajo could be seen as abandoning Buhari.
“What we have in Nigeria is personality-driven politics where one person monopolizes power and Buhari’s cabal sees Osinbajo as a threat to Buhari,” said Hashim.
“Osinbajo needs to be allowed to do the work and fix the economy, but in the context of Nigeria, we can expect that some politicians will undermine him,” he added.
The twisted saga of Nigeria’s missing president has come to symbolize a nation’s broken political system. For more than a month now, the country’s elected officials have offered contradictory explanations for their leader’s absence.
When a reporter from Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper showed up at Abuja House in London, where the president is staying, to request an audience with Buhari, security guards called the Metropolitan Police andtried to have him arrested.
“Nigeria, right now, could be compared to a snake with no head,” columnist Ndubuisi Ukah observed recently in Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper.
He added: “We are probably the only country on earth, whose number one public figure could just leave the citizens guessing and wondering.”
Meanwhile, British weekly magazine, The Economist has stated that Nigeria’s best chance of reform in the short run is for President Buhari to stay longer in London.
President Buhari has been in London since January 19. The presidency had first announced that he was there for a 10-day leave. But he has since extended the leave on medical grounds.
The Nigerian economy seems to have bounced back to reckoning after Osinbajo took over governance.