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Sectors, issues that suffered during Buhari’s 104-day medical vacation—BH Research

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BACKGROUND:

President Muhammadu Buhari jetted out of the country on Sunday, May 7, 2017 for medical reasons and ceremoniously returned on Saturday, August 19, 2017, making a total of 104 days out of office.

However, in compliance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), he officially transmitted presidential powers to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who upon the admittance of the transmission letter by the Senate, assumed the status of the Acting President, thus resting the office of the Vice President.

Constitutionally, the Vice President of Nigeria is the second-in-command to the President of Nigeria in the Government of Nigeria. Officially styled Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Vice President is elected alongside the President in national elections. The office is currently held by Yemi Osinbajo.

AB-initio, by virtue of his office paraphernalia, the executive functions of the Nigerian vice president includes participation in all cabinet meetings and, by statute, membership in the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, and the Chairman of National Economic Council. Although the vice president may take an active role in establishing policy in the Executive Branch by serving on such committees and councils, the relative power of the Nigerian vice president’s office depends upon the duties delegated by the president.

Osinbajo buhari
President Buhari conferring with Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo

SUFFERED SECTORS/ISSUES

Findings by Business Hilights Economic Research Team (BHERT), the business intelligence unit of this publication showed that certain systems, businesses, sectors and issues had some bruises and technical hiccups due to the ephemeral rest of the Office of the Vice President, and/or combination of both the Office of the Vice President and Office of the President within the period under review.

Identified matters in no particular order, include but not limited to the cases of submitting the Vice President’s Report on the activities of the suspended Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG), Mr. David Lawal; Delay and infighting in the naming of new owners of oil blocks; Lingered delay and controversies that trailed the assenting of the 2017 national budget; Ongoing delay in the presidential assent to the passed Petroleum Industry governance Bill (PIGB); Ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike; Suspension of certain high-powered international diplomacy by way of foreign visits; Sudden drop in the number of visits by high-end international investors who usually discuss at presidential level; Non-regularity in holding National Economic Council (NEC) meetings within the period; and most disturbing, sudden surge in business and national peace threatening hate speeches.

To us at Business Hilights, the controversial infighting at Aso Rock Presidential Villa, bordering on Jackals, Hyenas, Lion Prince, Lion King and weaker animals is not significant even though it may matter after all.

 

ANALYSIS:

On the SFG, it would be recalled that before the vacation, the Office of the Vice president was mandated to investigate and report on the weighty allegations against the troubled David Lawal on issues bordering on his companies’ involvements in contract infractions at the IDP in the North East. This followed his suspension from the office, thus creating an official vacuum which the Acting President had to contain with within the period. Otherwise, for the entire 104 days and up till, the country has no substantive SFG.

Investigations on the matter showed that even though the report prepared by Osinbajo’s Committee might have been ready, he as acting president cannot submit same to himself after preparing it or act on it, thus an issue.

Yes the 2017 national budget was finally assented by acting president; it was not without some levels of controversy as at a point, there were rumours that President Buhari from London directed him to sign.

It was not; however, clear if because there had not been another presidential order from London, before now that caused the delay in assenting to the celebrated PIGB.

Looking at the ongoing ASUU strike that began recently, opinion poll showed that if President Buhari had been around, there may have been at least one or two moves from his office that would have sealed the chances of the strike.

Though the President of Ghana came within the period, analysts argued that some other world leaders would have visited or Nigerian President going somewhere for diplomatic concerns within the period.

However, among the most disturbing issue can be said to be the sudden rise in hate speeches which the acting President described recently as terrorism. Observers are upbeat that if the President had been around, the disturbing dimensions already presented by the geography of hate speeches including ‘quit notices and counter-quit notices’ by youth groups on regional basis would not have gotten out of hands.

However, there are indications that the highly awaited Presidential Address today (Monday, August 21, 2017), by returned President Muhammadu Buhari may present some levels of solutions to these issues of urgent national importance.

 

List of Vice Presidents

NameHead of State/PresidentInauguratedLeft OfficePolitical PartyNotes
Babafemi OgundipeJTU Aguiyi-Ironsi16 January 196629 July 1966MilitaryDeposed in a Coup
Joseph Edet Akinwale WeyYakubu Gowon29 July 196629 July 1975MilitaryDeposed in a Coup
Olusegun ObasanjoMurtala Muhammed29 July 197513 February 1976MilitaryBecame Head of State after the assassination of Murtala
Shehu Musa Yar’AduaOlusegun Obasanjo13 February 197630 September 1979MilitaryHanded over to Civilian Government
Alex Ifeanyichukwu EkwuemeShehu Shagari1 October 197931 December 1983National Party of NigeriaDeposed in a Coup
Tunde IdiagbonMuhammadu Buhari31 December 198327 August 1985MilitaryDeposed in a Coup
Ebitu UkiweIbrahim Babangida27 August 1985October 1986MilitaryResigned
Augustus AikhomuIbrahim BabangidaOctober 198627 August 1993MilitaryHanded over to interim Government
Oladipo DiyaSani Abacha17 November 199321 December 1997MilitaryDeposed and arrested for attempted Coup
Michael AkhigbeAbdulsalami Abubakar9 June 199829 May 1999MilitaryHanded over to Civilian Government
Atiku AbubakarOlusegun Obasanjo29 May 199929 May 2007Peoples Democratic PartyStepped down after expiration of term
Goodluck Ebele JonathanUmaru Musa Yaradua29 May 20075 May 2010Peoples Democratic PartyBecame President after the death of Yaradua
Namadi SamboGoodluck Ebele Jonathan19 May 201029 May 2015Peoples Democratic PartyStepped down after expiration of term
Yemi OsinbajoMuhammadu Buhari29 May 2015All Progressives CongressIncumbent

*Chief of Staff, Supreme HQ; Chief of General Staff, Deputy Military Head of State, and de facto Vice President