Has Acting President Osinbajo Really Outperformed President Buhari? Let's Check Our Statistics


For the past 5 weeks, the biggest country in Africa has no president. Yes, we have a Vice President in the acting capacity. That’s all we have, an acting president. Since January 19, 2017, the president has traveled out of the country on medical grounds. He has every right to do that, he’s human too. At his age and position, he surely deserves the best medical attention he can get from any part of the world. Our dear president is housed in London, attending to his health. He passed the reins of leadership to his vice before departing the shores of Nigeria.


There are two schools of thoughts about the implication of his absence on the citizens of the country. A school of thought believes the president should cut short his medical leave to assume his responsibilities. According to this school of thought, he was elected to govern the country from Aso Rock, the official home of Nigerian president. The other school of thought believes the acting president has proved to be competent enough to drive the country forward in the absence of his boss. This argument is based on the perceived achievements of the acting president within the short period of time in office. Each of these schools has some valid points to back up their arguments. However, what do statistics show? Let’s compare the achievements of both the president and the acting president while they are in power, starting with the president.

buhari loves igbo

The battle for supremacy between the loyalists of the president and the acting president is on the increase. This is usually based on the achievements of both the president and his vice in the acting capacity.
Before embarking on that sick leave, Buhari was in power for 20 months. During this period, Nigerians witnessed a lot of changes as promised by the president during his election campaigns. The changes came but not what Nigerians expected. Some of the changes that Nigerians termed “negative changes” are:

Increase in exchange rate

Before the assumption of office of the president, the exchange rate was $1USD to N200 Naira. This did not go down well with the citizens and they felt the local currency would fare better under a competent leader. During his manifestos, President Buhari allegedly promised Nigerians that the exchange rate will be reduced to $1USD to N1 Naira. Nigerians welcomed that idea. However, that remained a pipe dream. Before his departure to London on medical grounds, the exchange rate was nothing to write home about. The exchange rate eventually went as high as $1USD to N525 Naira, a 150% increase in the exchange rate compared to when he became president.

Inflation

The economy of a country is driven by the strength of her currency. The astronomical rise in the exchange rate has a corresponding impact on the economy. Prices of commodities started climbing and they gradually went through the roof. The price of a 50kg bag of rice used to be N7,000 Naira but now, it has risen to N25,000 Naira per 50kg bag. The same can be said of other commodities. Without a palliative measure in place, people are faced with economic hardship. There was no corresponding increase in income and wages. With over 200% increase in the prices of most commodities, economic hardship became inevitable. In the local parlance, people call it a recession. It is a nightmare for Nigerians. People could no longer meet their basic needs easily and the few who could do so under undue financial pressure.

Terrorism on the rise

Before his ascension into power, terrorism was one of the challenges of the former government, especially in the northern part of the country. The dreaded Boko Haram sect inflicted pain on people, destroying properties, maiming and killing humans as though they were mosquitoes. People were living in constant fear of the unknown as stories of utter destruction flew around. Then came the ex-soldier turned politician, President Buhari. He promised to use his military experience as a civil war veteran and former military Head of State as a potent weapon to fight terrorism to a standstill. Has he delivered? No. Over 250 female students allegedly kidnapped by the sect are yet to regain freedom. There are claims that some of them have been released. Yes, a paltry number of the kidnapped girls were released. Those who were without a child upon release were at different stages of pregnancy. Their freedom was negotiated after a year in office, long enough for the sect to continue their humiliation of those innocent young students.

Flawed fight against corruption

One of the main points of his election manifestos was the promise to fight corruption among the elites who have milked the country dry. He took gallant steps to keep this promise. However, whatever success he achieved is blighted by the increasing hardship in the country. For almost two years, he couldn’t point to any tangible achievement, always using the corruption of past leaders as an excuse. Nigerians feel he should do better than giving excuses for his “inactivity.”
The situation was so helpless before he went for medical treatment and gave the baton of ruler-ship to his vice to act in his capacity during his absence. This seem to be the turning point in the history of the country’s economy.



Osinbajo reacts

During the active days of the president, his vice was a silent voice in power. Nothing much could be attributed to him. He was hardly heard from or seen. His contributions were insignificant if any. Most Nigerians considered him a puppet, the tool of some political godfathers.
This negative opinion about the vice president changed when he took over the mantle of leadership after the departure of the president. Maintaining low profile as usual, the citizens of the country are now seeing him in a new light. He is no longer considered a puppet in power but a quiet genius who is totally in control of everything. Within a space of six weeks, the acting president may be credited with these achievements:

Naira appreciates against Dollar

For the first time in this current administration, the exchange rate tilted in favor of other currencies to the relief of most Nigerians. This gain came about 5 weeks into the tenure of the acting president. From over N500 Naira to $1USD, the Naira has gradually appreciated that it now sells for a little over N400/$1 as of the time of writing this article. The government under him promises more appreciation of the currency to ease the economic hardship on the citizens. This is a welcome relief for the people as they hope and pray that the appreciation should continue.
This came a day after he ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to strengthen the economy. The bank obeyed promptly and pumped $500Million into the economy to save it from further damage. That decision was as a result of the outcome of a meeting between the CBN and the National Economic Council. The objective of the meeting was to encourage the CBN to review its foreign exchange policy. That was a nice move by the acting president and applauded by both party members and oppositions alike.

Improved road construction

Some of the achievements of the acting president include improving infrastructure in some parts of the country. For instance, the Federal Executive Council approved the release of N21Billion for the construction of the first section of the Ilorin-Omu Aran-Kabba road, a road network linking Kwara State to Kogi State.
His meeting with the Federal Executive Council yielded a positive result as the FEC approved the release of N126 billion for road construction across many states including Kano, Kwara, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Adamawa, and Enugu states. The road construction project is laudable considering the state of our roads in the country. Many lives have been lost to auto crashes, most of them attributed to the deplorable state of our roads. Nigerians believe that this is just the beginning as they expect more from him.
In addition to these, he got the approval of the FEC on February 22 for the release of N32 Billion for resuscitating and completing the 50km Kaduna highway. The sum of $39.9m was also approved for constructing the border link bridge between Cameroon and Nigeria at Ikot Efiem to ease movement between these neighboring countries.
 

Signing of bills

On February 17, the acting president signed 7 bills into law to improve for effective running of the country. The seven laws are Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (Establishment) Act 2017; Oaths (Amendment) Act 2017; Defense Space Administration Act 2017; and Mortgage Institutions (Amendment) Act 2016.
Others are Pension Rights of Judges (Amendment) Act 2017; Veterinary Surgeons (Amendment) Act 2017; and National Film and Video Censors Board (Amendment) Act 2017.
The speed at which these laudable achievements were made is a surprise to everyone considering the negative impression that people have about the acting president.
The achievements of the acting president are a welcome relief for the people. The appreciation of the Naira against the dollar is expected to lead to an equal drop in the prices of commodities that are very high now. Without much fanfare, the acting president has proved to millions of the citizens that he is a silent achiever.
The impressive achievements of the acting president within such short time have proved to be a divisive factor among Nigerians.

Who should rule the country?

This is a question on the lips of most Nigerians. This question arises because of the seeming differences in the policies of the acting president and his boss. Some believe the policies of the president are not rewarding as they do more damage to the economy than expected. All the promises of the president are not achieved, leading to a gradual loss of confidence in him On the other hand, the acting president has performed beyond expectation for the country. His economic policies that have resulted in a stronger currency, road construction projects, and the expected reduction in the prices of commodities have won people over to the acting president.
Those in the camp of the president have always been quick to point out that the acting president is acting on the orders of his boss. They believe that the acting can’t do anything without the consent of the president. That is the reason they are clamoring for the return of the president to take back the mantle of ruler-ship of the country. Other people whose confidence lies in the acting are quick to counter with the “achievements” of the acting in the absence of his boss. However, it is safe to admit that the acting president should be given free rein to rule the country.

Why should the acting president be allowed to rule the country?
While we await  Buhari's return from his indefinite leave, without a doubt, it is advisable that the acting president is allowed to continue ruling the country. Before condemning my assertion, read my argument, our comment box is open for yours.


The constitution allows it

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria makes provision for the acting president to take over the mantle of leadership under certain conditions. One of the conditions is contained in Chapter VI, Section 144 of the 1999 constitution. Shedding light on the next line of action if a president is sick, the constitution states: “Where the medical panel certifies in the report that in its opinion the President or Vice-President is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Government of the Federation.
The emphasis is on the highlighted words. In this case, the president may be relieved of his position if he suffers from either physical or mental infirmity which can prevent him from discharging his functions as a president. The president initially took 10 days off to attend to his health. That was some 40 days ago as of the time of writing. Several applications for leave extension of the president have been received by the Senate, lending credence to the fact that all may not be well with the president. Does it signify that the president lacks the physical fitness to rule the country? That’s the assumption of the people, considering the age of the president.

To reduce his stress

The Office of the President can be strenuous considering a number of responsibilities on the shoulders of the president. For a young and healthy president, it may be challenging but with the physical and mental stamina to withstand the pressure. In the case of the president, he lacks both the stamina and the age to run the office successfully. At least, that’s what the stats show.
Considering his official age, President Buhari is 74 years old. According to the national constitution, the official retirement age for a public office holder is 65 years or 35 years of service. That’s for a reason. Some factors such as the health and stamina of such office holders are considered before pegging the age at 65. It is assumed that someone above the age limit will be ineffective in discharging his or her duties.

Going by this, the reason for the prolonged sickness of the president is pretty obvious. At 74, he is not physically strong to run the office. The pressure of governing over 180 million people is taking its toll on the president’s health. A younger VP can do better. In line with that, it is advisable that the president allows his VP to take over while he attends to his health. The president will do better with a good rest, devoid of shouldering the national burden.

Most Nigerians have lost confidence in him

It is true that President Buhari has his loyalists who are canvassing for his continual stay in power. The reality is that they are in the minority. Most Nigerians are in support of a change of power from the president to his vice.
The social media is awash with individuals and groups campaigning against the presidency of Buhari. Recently, a massive anti-Buhari protest was held to show the displeasure of Nigerians to the policies of the Buhari-led administration. A group that prides itself for the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria responded to a claim that President Buhari intends to extend his government by going for a second term thus: “Just days ago, Nigeria recorded 18.3% Inflation and 2.4% drop in GDP for the Q3. The economy is in total ruin, and this warrants us to ask, what business Buhari has with 2019 when the first mandate given to him has been marred with incompetence and bad governance?”
Responding to the continued stay of the president outside the country, a person who begged for anonymity said during an interview: “Let Buhari be the president of Nigerians in diaspora while Osinbajo rules Nigerians at home.” That’s the extent of the loss of confidence in the president.

He is also considered as insensitive by a cross-section of the people. His slow response to attacks on innocent people by the Fulani herdsmen, some notorious gun-wielding nomadic cattle rearers, has drawn the ire of many Nigerians. They see that as a sign of his weakness and lack of the necessary qualities to rule the country. Hence, most Nigerians wish the president shouldn’t bother with the presidency again.

Considering all these facts, mounting pressure on the president to come back home should be discouraged. The aged president should be allowed to have a deserved rest. He needs to prioritize, and his health definitely is of higher priority than the needs of over 180 million Nigerians.
Instead of that, the vice-president should be encouraged to build on his achievements so far to ensure continuity of national development. However, the vice president needs to up his ante in some areas. The areas of national development that needs serious and urgent attention of the president are:

Power

This is by far the most challenging problem facing Nigerians. The epileptic power supply in the country is not conducive to business as most entrepreneurs have gone bankrupt due to the huge amount of money spent on generating electricity. Some companies that would have contributed to the economy have relocated to neighboring countries where a stable power supply is guaranteed. The acting president should focus on restoring power to the country.

Increased fight against terrorism

People are less impressed about the government’s achievement in the area of fight against terrorism. Although there have been some achievements, the citizens need the government to increase the fight to eliminate terrorism from the land.

Create employment opportunities

The unemployment rate in the country is one of the highest in the world. Many graduates are roaming the streets looking for jobs. Those in the private sector do not have the full support of the government to become more productive and have the power to employ more. The urgent attention of the acting president is needed to reverse the trend. Graduates should be employed and private investors should have an environment that is conducive for operations.

These are some areas that the acting president should focus on. If he can do this, the country will be on her way to greatness "again". Nigerians will never forget this administration if it can restore their hope in a better Nigeria.


The Need To Pursue The Nigerian Dream: One Nigeria

The founding fathers of Nigeria had a dream: one Nigeria. It was their dream that the Nigeria country will be made up of people from a variety of races, coexisting peacefully and working together for the development of the country.sad to say, that dream is gradually becoming a mirage.
Most people from the eastern part of the country are advocating secession. They want to break free from the country and be free of the numerous challenges facing the country. The Boko Haram in the north is working tirelessly to achieve their genocidal objective. The Nigeria fabric is being torn to shreds. It is imperative that we all work together to support this government in order to achieve the Nigeria dream. This is a collective responsibility that everybody should put his or her hands on deck to achieve.

The advanced countries we run to were developed by their citizens, not angels. We can’t run away from our problems, we need to solve them. That responsibility is a collective one that you and I must give our full support to. It is only then that we will get the Nigeria of our dream, a country we can boast of. That is the only chance we have of having a country that will have a good future for the generations yet unborn. We must lay the foundation for such a great country today.
In a nutshell, the country should give free reins to the more qualified person to rule. While it cannot be argued that President Buhari was elected into office, his state of health makes him incompetent to discharge his duties effectively. The acting president has been impressive so far, he should be allowed to build on his achievements and move the country forward.

God bless the Federal Republic Of Nigeria.
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