President Muhammadu Buhari has been on leave since January 23 having written the Senate to transmit power to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President initially for a 10-day leave which has now been extended indefinitely.
This begs many questions prominent among which are:
1. Will He Be Able to Resume His Duties as President?
The President has been away for over a month and there is very little indication on if or when he will resume his duties. This creates uncertainty that is bad for the country for as long as it persists. This is without prejudice to constitutional provisions on this matter.
2. How will Acting President Osinbanjo Fare?
[/b]Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will remain Acting President until President Buhari ends his leave. Within the period he has been at helm of affairs, he has focused on managing the economy and reforms to improve governance as a whole. These form a key element of the Buhari administration’s plan to make Nigeria a productive and less-corrupt country. Moving away from political considerations has helped the Acting President so far. How long will he be able to manage this?
[b]3. Will President Buhari Contest 2019 Presidential Election?
We have people like Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal thinking the President will spend 8 years in office thereby implying a second term. His health status now calls this to question.
4. How will the APC Cope if President Buhari is no longer able to continue as Commander-in-Chief?
The All Progressives Congress (APC) might have won some gubernatorial elections in the last 21 months but the ruling party is fraught with internal wrangling that could be exacerbated if President Buhari has to resign or declines a bid for a second term.
5. How will APC Leaders with Presidential Ambitions React?
Some major players in the APC including Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu all seam to have different objectives moving towards the future. If President Buhari will not run in 2019, these three leaders and others will be looking to emerge as the APC’s Presidential Candidate and by extension President of Nigeria in 2019. How they manage their ambitions and egos in such a contest remains to be seen.
6. What will be the reaction of the PDP and other opposition parties be?
The PDP is effectively having the equivalent of a civil war currently within its ranks. However, if President Buhari cannot run for reelection in 2019, it might become expedient for the Sheriff and Makarfi factions of the party to close ranks and try to wrestle power at the centre from APC. Any losers from the power play in the APC might seek succour with some old friends in the PDP.
7. What happens to the war on corruption?
President Buhari’s major objective is to reduce the pervasive and mind-boggling corruption that is ruining Nigeria. In a country where there are still very powerful corrupt people who would love to keep their loot without having to worry about being charged for corruption, his exit may set us back several years in the anti-corruption fight.
8. What Role will President Buhari seek to play if he has to leave office or relinquish a bid for a second term?
So, let us imagine that the President does not run for reelection in 2019, what will be his next objective? Being able to select his successor? How will the other power brokers in the APC react if they are not the ‘anointed’ successor?
9. What effect will all of this politicking have on Nigeria’s economy and its people?
Nigeria’s economy is still in recession even as there is some indication we are on the path to exiting from it later this year. If this current uncertain political situation persists, there is a possibility the economy could take another major hit.
10. How will Nigerians react?
Ultimately, President Buhari is Nigeria’s leader, his continued inability to run the country’s affairs will have to be addressed if it persists. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
In closing, I would like to wish President Muhammadu Buhari a quick recovery and look forward to his return to run the affairs of Nigeria which he has been legitimately elected to do.