How VP Osinbajo runs Nigeria as Acting President

Since stepping in as President and Commander-
in-Chief in May, 2015, Muhammadu Buhari has
gone on vacation abroad three times and
consequently transfered the powers of his office
to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The last he did was on Thursday, January 19,
2017 – for a period of 10 days. Meanwhile, the
country was buffeted with rumours, wild rumours,
about the President’s health, as well as
unfounded stories about the Yar’Adua/Jonathan-
type ugly power transmission and its attendant
high-wire politics; all of which have since been
debunked by the Presidency and the Honourable
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai
Mohammed. This piece takes a globular look at
the activities of Vice President Osinbajo and his
style each time he acts on behalf of President

This would not be his first shot at discharging the
functions of the Office of the President of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is not also the
second. It is Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s third,
since May 29, 2015. He is fast learning the job
and also proving himself a dependable ally of Mr.

In Nigeria, despite the sacred dictates of the
constitution, sitting presidents are not usually
known to be generous transferers of the powers
of their office to their deputies; instead, they
choose to delegate such powers to their Chief of
Staff or a “Kitchen Cabinet” Minister.
But that has never been the case with the present

Keen observers of Nigeria’s political experiment
since the return of democracy in 1999 would
recall that the scenario hardly existed between
former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his
Vice, Atiku Abubakar.

Such was still not the case between the late
President Umaru Yar’Adua and his former deputy,
former President Goodluck Jonathan. If it ever
existed, it was between Jonathan and his vice,
Namadi Sambo.
But in the present regime, delegating the
presidential powers to a deputy has never been a
big deal for President Buhari who has always
done that.

In the course of his service to the nation in the
Fourth Republic, he has had to publicly transfer
the powers of his office to his vice.


First was in February 2016 when the President
took some five days off for a vacation abroad.
While the vocation lasted, Osinbajo held sway as
Acting President.

For the period, he oversaw the day-to-day
running of the affairs of the country.

The second time
Osinbajo was also made the
Acting President was in June, 2016 when the
President also announced a vacation to London to
attend to an ear infection.

For the 13 days Buhari was abroad Osinbajo
effectively fitted in the shoes of his boss.
Amongst the major tasks he undertook were the
meeting with governors of Niger Delta states and
the Service Chiefs on the threats of the Niger-
Delta Avengers to bomb government buildings in

It was also during that time that he inaugurated a
Task Force on Rice and Wheat production.
That was not all – the launching of Home-grown
School Feeding Programme was also done.
On a sad note, it was the lot of Osinbajo to issue
condolence messages on the demise of ex-Super
Eagles Coaches, late Stephen Keshi and Amodu

Chairing the meetings of the Federal Executive
Council, FEC, and the National Economic Council,
NEC – he is constitutionally empowered to chair
the latter – had become almost a norm by this


Yet, on January 19, 2017, another opportunity
availed itself for the Vice President to act as

Interestingly, Osinbajo was made Acting
President while he was in far away Davos,
Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, WEF,

Upon his return on Friday, January 20, the Acting
President journeyed straight to Ibadan, Oyo State,
for a function.

Coming back to Abuja, the seat of power, later
that evening, he received updates and briefings
on the situation in The Gambia where Nigerian
troops were stationed to give effect to the
transition from the recalcitrant Yahya Jammeh, to
then President-elect, Mr. Adama Barrow.
Osinbajo also took briefings from a number of
cabinet ministers.

On Monday, Jan 23, he chaired the Second
Presidential Business Forum which held at the Old
Banquet Hall, located within the precinct of Aso
Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Kicked off last September, the Forum is a
platform to engage and interact with the private
sector operators to keep them abreast of
government’s economic policies, programmes
and activities.

The Acting President, at the meeting, underscored
the need for full public/private partnership in the
salvation of the sick economy.
He said: “I am extremely pleased to welcome you
all to this second quarterly business forum. The
last one was held in Sept 2016. This is the first
this year and we will ensure it keeps running.
The main plan of our economic plan is the
sustenance of the robust private sector
partnership. Indeed, it is our strong belief that
sustenanable economic growth is only possible if
it is private sector led and a great deal of
attention has been paid as you will possibly find
in sustaining private sector leadership, especially
in the plan of economic recovery and growth plan
2017, which is to be launched next month. The
pivot of that plan is the private sector-led
recovery growth and plan. So, this Forum is an
important one for engendering the continuous
engagement that this partnership will entail.”

Tuesday, Jan 24 was yet another busy day for
He launched the Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises, MSME Clinics in Abuja.
Organised in-conjunction with the Ministry of
Industry, Trade and Investment, the programme
is designed to not only to sensitise operators of
Small Scale Enterprises, SMEs in Nigeria on the
best business strategies, but to also assist them
financially to grow their businesses.

Abia and Kwara State governors were amongst
various dignitaries in attendance as the
programme was billed to be replicated in the 36
States of the federation starting with Abia.
One take-away from that event that also held at
the Old Banquet Hall was Osinbajo’s displeasure
with the activities of most revenue generating
agencies of the federal government that delay
registration of SMEs and inadvertently, stifle the
growth of the SMEs.
Earlier that same day, he had presided over the
meeting of Presidential Enabling Business Council,
PEBEC, where a decision was taken to begin the
evaluation of various options that would eliminate
hitches in the Nigerian business climate.
On Wednesday, Jan 25, the Acting President
presided over the Federal Executive Council, FEC,
meeting in Abuja. Of course, this was not his first
time. It can only be the umpteenth time.
Curiously, Wednesday ended with a stinging
The day ended with a wicked rumour that
Nigerian Governors were pressuring on Osinbajo
to resign his office amidst the rumoured fears of
concerns for President Buhari’s health. But his
office through the Special Adviser to the President
on Political Matters, in the Vice President’s Office,
Sen. Femi Ojudu, quickly dismissed the
resignation threat in a statement.
Thursday, Jan 26, the Acting President performed
a function at the National Defence College, NDC,
Abuja, and later at noon took off to Abia State to
launch the first phase (State-wise) of the MSME.
He returned to Abuja later in the evening.
Friday, Jan 27, the Acting President was also
seen in his office. But it was unknown if he had
any functions that required media coverage. At
least, not at 5:30 pm when this piece was being
The Man, Osibajo
Apart from ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo who
was lucky to rule Nigeria as a military man and
later elected President for two terms, former
President Goodluck Jonathan who was within the
corridors of power for 16 years; served as
Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President,
Acting President and President, and President
Buhari who, like Obasanjo, ruled the country
militarily and now elected President, Osinbajo is
another lucky Nigerian.
His political profile may not be as rich as those
mentioned above but he got lucky, becoming the
Vice President of Nigeria from just nowhere –
only having served as commissioner for justice
in Lagos State between 1999 and 2007.
This is because, Buhari had run for the Number
One office in the land for three consecutive times
without luck. But Osinbajo, a Pastor of the
Redeemed Church of God, RCCG, got elected with
Buhari at his fourth shot at the presidency.
The Acting President is also a Professor of Law.
He’s adjudged to be cerebral but to many people,
Osinbajo is very carries his professorial calling
one step too many in politics (meaning there is
too much talk coming from his office)
Osinbajo is a workaholic as well as the typical
Lagosian who wouldn’t stay outside of the city for

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