By Victoria Ayuwei
Attention has been focused on President Muhammadu Buhari’s health in recent times with some questioning his fitness to rule, but meanwhile the president is on quite a roll.
Buhari has been receiving visitors lately in London, ministers, governors from both political divide, and party leaders.
He seemed to smile throughout the meetings, and why not? He is not dead as rumoured by some folks and politicians.
He is full of vitality and not on life support.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured Nigerians that the current recession they are facing would end before the end of the year, even as it blamed overdependence on importation for the problem.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said “In January 2017, inflation was 18.8 per cent, it is now down to 16.24 per cent. Last quarter, which was fourth quarter of 2016 growth, was negative 1.72 per cent. First quarter of 2017 growth had improved to negative 1.52 per cent.
“What that means is that we have an improvement in growth by about 1.2 per cent. If we see another 1.2 per cent growth in the second quarter we are out of recession.”
One by one as the leaders took turn to inform the president of recent developments in their respective states and ministries, Buhari, gives the impression of having rediscovered the joy of being president. Maybe he really needed the long vacation. Or maybe he is beginning to see some of his long-term policies finally bearing fruit — and his legacy being cemented.
Amidst all the talk of Buhari’s absence, not to be overlooked is the performance of Prof Yemi Osinbajo as arguably Nigeria’s most active visible vice president ever. Buhari is happy as the acting president from the very start has been front-and-center in the Buhari administration, appearing at the president’s side on a broad array of both substantive and ceremonial occasions, including Executive Order-signings and spearheading economy re-bounce and a peaceful, united Nigeria.
Osinbajo has transformed the infamously trivial office of Vice Presidency into a political powerhouse.
The absolute key component to Osinbajo’s overarching influence in the Villa is his relationship with Buhari. Historically speaking, the President-VP partnership deteriorates over the four or eight years in office. This has not been the case for Osinbajo and Buhari. Their affiliation has only grown stronger as each year has passed giving the president more room to concentrate on his health.
All is not sweetness and light, of course. Boko Haram fighters are still launching attacks and killing Nigerians in the North.
According to Buhari last year, Boko Haram, as an ‘organized fighting force’, could no longer carry out ‘articulated conventional attacks on centers of communication and populations’.
With the sect’s renewed and lingering threat all hope of an imminent end to the insurgency has been erased.
But he has good reason to smile, at least for Life.