By Felix Onuah
ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Monday he had the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for “practically everything”, after taking the reins as acting president during Buhari’s absence for medical treatment in Britain.
During the almost two-month absence, acting president Osinbajo drove policy changes, concluding an economic reform plan required for a World bank loan. The central bank devalued the naira for retail customers after a state body chaired by him called for an urgent review.
Top political posts in Nigeria are traditionally shared out to reflect the country’s geographic and religious divisions. Buhari is a northern Muslim, while Osinbajo is a pastor from the mainly Christian south.
Buhari, who returned to Nigeria on Friday, has written to parliament notifying lawmakers that he has resumed his presidential duties, his spokesman said on Monday.
“We just had a very long meeting … basically trying to bring the president up to speed as to some of the things we have done while he was away,” Osinbajo told reporters later in the day.
“By and large, practically everything I discuss fully with him and have his endorsement before we are able to go on and do anything at all.”
Buhari did not address the media after the meeting in his office. The president said on Friday he was feeling “much better” but wanted to rest over the weekend.
“His readiness for work is not in doubt at all,” Osinbajo said. “He is very well.”
During Buhari’s absence the acting president traveled several times to the commercial capital Lagos and the Niger Delta oil hub in an effort to calm tensions with militants attacking oil facilities. Buhari had been accused of neglecting the two regions.
Buhari, who first led the country from 1983 to 1985 aftertaking power in a military coup, was elected to power two years ago. Since then he has traveled to Britain several times to consult doctors. His illness has not been disclosed.
(Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche)