Osinbajo Faces Tough Times In Aso Rock
Indications have emerged that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is facing pressure with loaded activities resulting from the continued absence of President Muhammadu Buhari. President Buhari left Nigeria over a month ago for the United Kingdom (UK) where he is currently receiving medical attention. Buhari had in separate letters to the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives, transmitted power to Osinbajo to perform the duties of the President in acting capacity until he returns. The President on February 6, dispatched another letter expressing his desire to extend the vacation in order to undergo a series of medical tests as recommended by London doctors. Saturday Telegraph gathered that since President Buhari’s departure, the traffic of activities in Aso Rock has shifted to the Vice- President’s office wing with a series of events and meetings engaging the acting President attention. Osinbajo, who heads the President’s Economic Management Team (EMT), also presides over the National Economic Council (NEC). This comprises the governors of the 36 states of the federation, governor of the Central Bank if Nigeria (CBN) and other top government officials. With the absence of President Buhari, the acting President has also been presiding over the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC). Investigations of his weekly schedule show that the Acting President holds about 15 meetings ranging from security, economic to political issues. A senior aide to the Acting President, who spoke to our correspondent yesterday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to do so, confirmed that the absence of President Buhari was telling on Osinbajo. “It’s really tough for the acting President. Everyone with a problem, from the ministers, the state governors, the leadership of the National Assembly, the diplomatic community, security agencies and many others, want his attention. “He has to attend to these officials and other consultations from the private sector as well as other organised sectors. You can understand the pressure this is exerting on the acting President unlike when both leaders were around,” the source noted. Our correspondent also gathered that following the official transfer of power to the Vice President, the atmosphere in Aso Rock is not tense as compared to the crisis created during the days of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. “Every government official including the President’s men are loyal to the Acting President who is performing all functions of the President. “You can see that both the Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu who are the three closest aides to Buhari here have been coming to work. It’s one presidency,” another aide to the Acting President noted yesterday. This week, Osinbajo met with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the Presidential Task Force on Wheat and Rice Production and the management of South African Telecommunication firm, MTN. Osinbajo was also in Lagos on Thursday where he flagged off the GreenBond as well as inspect facilities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. He also visited The Gambia. The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Acting President, Mr. Laolu Akande, who confirmed that work load for his principal had increased, however, said he was equal to the task. Akande in an interview with our correspondent said “The Acting President is doing very well. Even before the transmission of power to him through the letter to the National Assembly, he had been hardworking. “Let me tell you that the acting President became a law teacher at 23, a Professor at 33. Not many people become professors so quick, that’s a sign of hard work. “He coordinated a lot of work as Commissioner of Justice in Lagos State and did that job with all seriousness and a great sense of commitment. “He has always been hardworking. Hard work for him is an important value and that is why he works round the clock. In fact, the Acting President has told me that Mr. President inspires him a great deal,” Akande noted.
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