Nairametrics| As at January 2017, Nigeria seemed to be sinking deeper into economic crisis. It appeared that the exchange rate was going to hit N1000/$1 in a matter of months and the recession would go on for longer than expected and no solution seemed forthcoming.
However, a month later, and the optimism that never dared rear its head, has started to flow again. Nigerians now can afford to dream of better times. That euphoria is connected to the temporary takeover of presidential duties by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The dynamism and proactive stance that the country has long missed during the past 18 months has started to yield results and even foreign media seem to have noticed. In two brutally honest articles, both Reuters and The Economist laid bare the differences between the 2 leaders and accept that a little more rest may be necessary for the 74-year old if Nigeria is to make progress.
For its part, Reuters showed how Osinbajo’s hands on approach has been felt in different quarters of the economy. From the longer work hours, heavier workload, improved calm in the restive Niger-Delta region, following his visits, to the unceremonious sack of several directors of the civil aviation authority, Osinbajo’s proactive approach was hailed as responsible for putt purpose into an administration that often looked clueless as to how to handle the problems besieging the country.
“This man is a workaholic,” one presidency insider said. “I wonder whether he rests at all because he even shifts some of the meetings to his official residence.” Reuters reported one diplomat as saying.
The Economist took a slightly different approach, highlighting how woefully the administration had performed during the about 2 years since its inauguration, laying the majority of the fault on Buhari’s feet. According to them, with no consideration for current realities refused to allow the Naira to float, repeating his antics of the ’80s that led to the acute scarcity of dollars and the rapid flight of investors from the country.
“The country is almost uninvestable,” says one. Importers that can’t get hold of dollars have been crippled. “To take a bad situation and make it worse clearly takes a bit of trying,” the article quotes Manji Cheto, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence as saying.
According to the article, the technocratic experience of Osinbajo is already paving way for positive changes as steps are under way to improve the country’s rankings in the Ease of Doing Business scale as well as lay the groundwork for a ‘proper devaluation’ of the Naira.
Despite the nuances, both articles agree that Osinbajo’s one month in charge, is resulting in more being done as the two leaders could not be any more different in their approach to matters. What they also agree on is that Osinbajo needs to be given more time in charge if the country is to have any hope of curling the bend to recovery.
Some of the Acting President’s achievement so far;
- Negotiations with Niger Delta Community
- Signing of 7 new bills into law, while refusing to accent to 4 others
- Fast tracking improvements in Nigeria’s ease of business ranking
- Change in forex policy after National Economic Council Meeting
- Meeting with US Army and other foreign diplomats
- Ratcheting up Buhari’s Social Investment Programs
- Series of meetings held with various stakeholders across the country
Professor Osinbajo on his own part has been cautious and circumspect about his performance thus far, making sure to attribute his actions to the directives laid by his boss, President Buhari.
After listening to different groups in Rivers State, I am now in Imo with the message of President Buhari to oil-producing communities here
— Prof Yemi Osinbajo (@ProfOsinbajo) February 14, 2017
Before President @MBuhari went on vacation, he mandated me to embark on visits to oil-producing communities.
— Prof Yemi Osinbajo (@ProfOsinbajo) February 27, 2017
The very first law of the popular book, 48 laws of power, says “Never Outshine the master”.