For the Presidency, Calabar getaway is a welcome distraction from the 2017 budget

by Alex Onukwue

On Wednesday evening major online news platforms reported that the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo would sign the 2017 budget on Thursday morning, with Senate President Bukola Saraki expected to join in the ceremony.

Later that day, Osinbajo’s media aide, Laolu Akande, said, in a tweet, that “consultations” were still on-going on the budget, hence, it could not be signed before the one-day trip to Cross River. Prof. Osinbajo had been scheduled to embark on the visit to the troubled state on a mission to see ‘the galaxy of achievements’ in the state, according to Ben Ayade, the state Governor.

While the purpose of the visit can be about anything, from finding out for himself firsthand what the “covfefe” is with the Navy and Police, to telling the Governor to behave himself and restore the Cross River old citizens knew, it will also come as a relief, albeit a brief one, for the Acting President to be once again out of the heat of the Aso Villa pressure cooker.

After his return from the G7 summit, he would have noticed that the mass of Nigerians may not have been as dazzled by his performance before world leaders as they are expectant of immediate actions on issues that strike at the economy. The Democracy Day speech on Monday, May 29, which was an appraisal of the Buhari administration’s achievements after two years in office was received with mixed feelings, with a good number wondering “what achievements?”. Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council Meeting was probably the only reason the President still spent Tuesday in the villa.

Going by the current wave of discontent in Cross River, Calabar is arguably not what it used to be as the plum holiday getaway within the country. That said, the Acting President and the Presidency will hope to use this extra day off to their full advantage. More consultations, more thoughts will go into more Executive Orders, and, like he did at the visit to the Garki market in Abuja, another opportunity to think nicely of Mr President, for today and the future.

It is arguable that the Governor of the state even needs this visit more, to restore positive vibes to the state. With the Acting President walking by his side, he will expect the people to share the goodwill they have for the Visitor to spill over to him. And, politically, you never know; with two professors musing, will one suddenly feel the need for more protection and so consider another platform beyond his umbrella’s reach?

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