Nigeria’s absent president, Muhammadu Buhari, will address the country today after returning from London on Saturday. The former general has
Nigeria’s absent president, Muhammadu Buhari, will address the country today after returning from London on Saturday. The former general has been battling an unknown medical condition for the past 12 months and has sought treatment in the UK on multiple occasions.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has taken the reigns for much of 2017—Buhari has only spent 75 days in Nigeria this year. Osinbajo has been commended for his hands-on approach to the presidency, pushing for reform of Nigeria’s woefully mismanaged ports and holding talks with troubled communities in the Niger Delta.
Indeed, Mr Osinbajo may well be setting himself up to run for the top office in 2019, although Buhari’s aides insist the president is “good enough to continue”.
The president’s extended absence sparked protests in Abuja earlier this month, an ominous sign for stability in Africa’s most populous country. Mr Buhari’s return should calm tensions in the short-term. But further absence or, worse still, an announcement that the former military leader will step down, will drive instability—a major concern for a country mired in recession and fighting insurgencies on multiple fronts.
Delve deeper: Danger in the Niger Delta