Would Osinbajo be “next in line” if he does these three things?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has been told that he does not have the automatic right of succession to the seat of the President, should his principal Buhari be declared incapable.

Prof Osinbajo is in his second stint (in 2017 alone) in the role of Acting President, with the indefinite absence of President Buhari for medical treatment in London. In the 171 days of the year so far, Yemi Osinbajo has occupied this role for at least 90 days in total.

Despite that, and the obvious procedure of succession as stated in the Nigeria Constitution, Pastor Tunde Bakare has made the statement that the Vice President would not necessarily have an “automatic” ascension to become “king”. Perhaps Osinbajo has not been Presidential enough to merit it then, what are the other things he would now need to do to fully assume the right to promotion?

Hold a Presidential Media Chat

The nation is in need of a chat with the President at this time. The New Year message on January 1 and Easter messages in April (delivered through special assistants) are the only pleasantries that have taken place this year between President Buhari and the Nigerian people. Granted it is called a “Presidential” chat for the reason that it should be hosted by the President, the unavailability of the President at this time should not stop the people from having a chat with the President. It may represent a break with precedent, but an official Media Chat with the Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo from the Villa could be a welcome disruption to a state facing unwanted disturbances.

The Acting President has been a uniting figure amidst the tantrums that have been thrown from North to South between the Arewa and IPOB groups. A media chat televised and carried by radio stations nationwide would be a perfect way to begin the second half of the year.

Cabinet Shuffle

After nearly two years in office, it should be about the proper time to evaluate the performances of the cabinet members of the Buhari administration. While the likes of Prof Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, and Okey Enelamah, the Minister of Trade and Investment, have performed commendably in their portfolios, question marks have hovered around the purpose and directions of the heads of the Ministries of Finance, Solid Minerals, and Sports. Minister of Information and APC stalwart Lai Mohammed has his fans, but his judgment and propensity to misinform have not been to the ultimate advantage of the Government. And given the flawed anti-corruption fight so far, should the Acting President also consider removing the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami?

Accelerate Implementation of the 2017 Budget

Before any talk of passing and signing the 2018 Budget by December of this year, the Executive would first do well to ensure maximum implementation of the budget it only just signed. Timely release of allocated funds and transparent tracking of the expenditure should be accelerated to cover up for the deficits in capital and overhead investments in the economy. Just as he met some civil servants to explain his Executive Orders in May, the Acting President should ramp up the pressure on heads of MDAs to avoid delays in moving forward the revival of the economy, all within the ambits of due-process.

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