Yesterday, the office of the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari (Bubu), announced that he will be going on a five-day vacation, and as such the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, will take his place for the duration of his vacation. While it may not be unconstitutional for the president to take a vacation, here a few reasons why ‘Bubu’ should not be on vacation at this time.
Economic downturn/fall of the Naira
Buhari admitted, yesterday, that the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced during Ibrahim Babangida’s regime from 1986 to 1988 is responsible for what the Nigerian Naira is currently going through. The SAP, at the time, was a loan provided by the World Bank for economically unstable countries. He stated he was waiting on the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to provide him with reasons to kill the Naira. Following this, a vacation at this time could be misunderstood as nonchalance on the part of the president in economic matters as the CBN governor may decide to follow suit and relax until his boss gets back. Not to undermine the power of the VP, but he can only make decisions based on the approval of his boss, who will be on vacation.
NLC, TUC to protest electricity tariffs
On Monday, February 8, while President Buhari is on vacation, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) will go on a nationwide protest to contest the 45 percent increase in electricity tariffs imposed on Nigerians. Vanguard Nigeria reports that civil society groups have said, during the protest, all offices of the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) Generation Companies (GENCOs) nationwide and the office of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) would be picketed.
Yet to deliver on campaign promises
President Buhari’s administration is yet to start implementing most of the promises made during his presidential campaign. Several Nigerians are beginning to lose faith in the president, to the point that the popular mantra ‘sai Buhari, sai Change’ has become ‘chai Buhari’.
Since becoming president, Buhari has only succeeded in instituting an anti-corruption process to recover stolen funds from government officials during the past administration. While this is laudable, the promises, which will directly improve the quality of life of the average Nigerian, are yet to be actualised. Although the office of the president has said as soon as the 2016 budget is implemented, the president will begin implementing campaign promises.
Implementation of economic diversification
A few days ago, the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce called on the president to hasten the strategy of his administration on the diversification of the economy, so the country can stop depending on oil once and for all. Although the country has a minster of mineral resources, the best plan is only as good when all the parties involved are present and active. With the president going on vacation for the next five days, it stops the implementation. Former first lady of the United States of America, Nancy Reagan, once said, ‘Presidents don’t get vacations, they just get a change of scenery’, however, it is doubtful if the president is likely to receive briefs and discuss agenda during his vacation as he has handed over to VP Osinbajo, who cannot take decisions of this magnitude without the express approval of his boss, the president, or can he?
Too soon for a vacation?
It has been eight months since President Buhari assumed his current position of authority and he is going on vacation even as many of his campaign promises are yet to be fulfilled, is this what Nigerians should expect from him? A sitting president does not go on vacation after 8 months in office or does he? Nigerian policy commentator, Bennett Morka believes Buhari is entitled to a vacation even after 8 months due to the fact that from the time of the presidential campaign till present, he has not taken a break. According to him, leading a country like Nigeria is not an easy job and the president does not have to wait for a full year before he goes on vacation. “VP Osinbajo has the full powers of the president and can steer the country right should anything occur while Buhari is on vacation,” he said.