Buhari Leaves Deputy Looking Weak Amid Nigeria Succession Talk

President chose not to hand power to deputy while abroad

Attention turning to succession politics before 2023 election

While Buhari, 76, transferred power to Osinbajo, 62, during his first term when he traveled abroad for medical reasons, it’s the second time he’s opted not to since being re-elected in February. His chief-of-staff, Abba Kyari, this week had to fly to London so that Buhari could sign long-awaited oil legislation approved by parliament.

Speculation that Buhari is marginalizing Osinbajo was partly fueled by the president’s decision last month to appoint a new economic advisory council that reports directly to him, replacing a committee headed by the vice president. Nigerian newspapers reported that Buhari, who is on a 15-day private visit to the U.K., this week approved the dismissal of dozens of Osinbajo’s aides.

The treatment of Osinbajo since the election “has sent a strong signal to the ruling party and national power brokers that Buhari has no plans to anoint, or go out of his way to position, his VP as his preferred successor,” said Matthew Page, an associate fellow at London-based Chatham House. “It also sends a signal that Buhari prefers to maintain tight control over government decision-making.”

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