Understanding the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidency

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Most pairings in politics are meant to balance the ticket. In many cases, the two persons are like-minded, have a harmonized action plan and work in the same direction. Nonetheless, these two could also be at variance on certain issues, have conflicting views of certain phenomena and maybe sometimes disagree on things.

Nigerians are used to sit-tight leadership at all levels that see political positions as personal, abhors delegating authorities, see their deputies as rivals and a threat; a leadership that often have disdain for their second-in-command; and one that will never support their deputies in anything, let alone transfer power to them to act in their absence. Nigeria has witnessed numerous cases of leaders and their assistants turning against one another. Some have even turned out to become sworn enemies- The Obasanjo/ Atiku feud is a good example.

But President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo have re-established the ideal of one presidency and it is working well for the good of the country and democracy. Prior to the President’s absence and during his absence, the two have redefined how we view the President vis-a-vis the Vice President. They have created an atmosphere of progressive political synergy never seen in Aso Rock villa in recent times.

The relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has looked promising since the campaign days. Both have unique chemistry. Civility of the two distinguished men has kept the Buhari/Osinbajo relationship close, warm and personally friendly. President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo see each other as brothers; the President has immense respect for the vice President, while the vice president doggedly supports the president.

The Buhari/Osinbajo presidency is one. It is sheer illiteracy to think that Osinbajo as acting president takes unilateral decisions without discussion with President Buhari.

So far, so excellent is Osinbajo’s performance. He has performed according to the expectations of most Nigerians and in line with tenets of President Buhari. Acting President Osinbajo in his capacity has been a good representative of the Buhari school. He has shown that he has not been a figure-head vice president, rather an astute complementing figure to President Buhari’s drive to take Nigeria to greater heights.

A few number of politicians are not happy with the way Acting President Osinbajo is running the affairs of the nation according to President Buhari’s expectations. These politicians were those that campaigned mercilessly against Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 just for personal gains. Their expectations from the Muhammadu Buhari government have not materialized. These politicians have forgotten that the only item that kept and is keeping Buhari ‘afloat’ is the ordinary man in the street. If not of the ordinary-man’s believe in Buhari, is there a political-leader in Nigeria that can take some of the stringent decisions Buhari took and most Nigerians will still not come out of the streets.

So far, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has inaugurated five commissioners of the National Population Commission, he has constituted the Presidential Task Force on Food Security with the mandate to reduce prices of food items in the country. Osinbajo declared open, the Agenda for Consultative Forum on Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. He sent the name of Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN. The acting President has also inaugurated the National Road Safety Advisory Council which he heads. Osinbajo has presided over a meeting of the National Economic Council on February 16. The meeting, among other things, directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the foreign exchange policy- which already yielding some positive results. On February 17 the acting president signed seven bills into law. On February 20 he presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on wheat and rice and assured that the nation would attain self-sufficiency in food security. On February 21, Osinbajo presided over an expanded meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Council and unveiled a 60-day national action plan for ease of doing business. The acting president also sent the name of Mr. Adeyinka Asekun from Ogun state to the Senate for confirmation as non-career ambassador.

When one looks at the relationships between many leaders and their deputies in the past and present, it is apparent that there have never been two persons like Buhari and Osinbajo who have shown Nigerians how delegating power is used for the benefit of the nation and for the development of democracy instead for personal motives. The two have set a standard which should become a model for leaders and assistants to follow, if our democracy must continue to flourish.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980. He blogs at www.zayyaddp.blogspot.com

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