How the political economy of agriculture holds Africa back

By FREDRICK GOLOOBA-MUTEBI

Earlier last week, I attended perhaps the largest gathering of people who work on and think about agriculture in Africa.

Organised by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) in collaboration with several partners, the meeting was in Rwanda’s clean and secure capital, Kigali. As one would expect at this sort of gathering, a wide range of topics was discussed. It sometimes wasn’t easy to decide which sessions to attend and which ones to miss.

A highlight of the event was the launch of the 2018 Africa Agriculture Status Report.

The report makes for interesting reading. It shows the progress, albeit limited, that the continent is making, thanks in part to major continental initiatives such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and other ambitious plans by the African Union and numerous development partners providing much-needed financial and technical assistance.

However, some of the chapters do not make for happy reading. They raise some very uncomfortable questions for the people in charge, the political leaders especially.

A whopping 65pc

It is over half a century since Africans started running their own affairs. Some may argue that this claim is mainly theoretical, but at least all African countries are independent.

A whopping 65 per cent of Africans, of whom the majority are poor, still depend on agriculture as their main, if not sole source of livelihood. In every country, agriculture is the backbone of the economy, a fact that politicians cite in almost every speech they make on economic matters.

Even then, agriculture in Africa is backward. The backwardness explains why the continent has been a net food importer since the 1980s.

While most of Asia transformed its agriculture long ago into an engine of economic growth, in Africa only a few countries have taken or begun to take coherent and consistent action towards achieving that goal. And now think of this: All this sloth and stagnation is despite Africa’s possession of abundant natural endowments.

Africa has more than half of the global total of uncultivated arable land. Its tropical and sub-tropical climates permit long and multiple farming seasons. Its labour force is mostly young and energetic, with large numbers unemployed or underemployed.

The backwardness of agriculture in Africa is visible in such indicators as productivity of both land and labour. Both remain low in comparison with other parts of the world. Yields are rising, but not quickly enough. In many countries, value-addition is more the stuff of politicians’ speechifying making than reality.

Perhaps most sobering is the fact that the value of agricultural imports into Africa is higher than that of exports from it. What can explain all this? Many factors. History and politics are arguably most significant.

To understand the role of these two factors, one ought first of all to agree that the entire development or social transformation endeavour is patently political.

Leaders who seek deliberately to transform their countries are invariably driven by political imperatives.

A hungry majority is an angry majority

By way of a simple illustrative example, in countries that are led by minority groups whose ability to hold on to power depends on securing acceptance by potentially hostile majorities, governments tend to focus on the imperative of pursuing prosperity, not least because the wealthier and more contented their potential adversaries are, the less they will be minded to rise up against the status quo.

Where agriculture is the source of livelihood for most people, there is no better way to ensure peace and stability in the long run than to ensure that it prospers. There are various examples of this.

In Africa, however, leaders have often sought to take shortcuts to maintaining stability, via bribery of potential opponents, or simple repression.

Elsewhere, existential threats to sitting governments have not been potentially hostile ethnic majorities, but rival political groups fronting ideologies that contain the promise of prosperity for the hungry and angry poor.

There are examples in East Asia where investment in smallholder agriculture became a priority for governments that were facing the threat of overthrow by communist movements for which poor peasants were a potentially large pool from which to recruit insurgents.

It thus became imperative to tackle poverty. Agricultural development provided the quickest route to putting money on a more or less permanent basis in the pockets of the hungry and angry masses. And as peasants became more prosperous, their prosperity provided the grounds for a systematic pursuit of industrialisation in order to supply them with the industrial goods that, thanks to rising incomes, they could now afford.

In Africa, governments have for the most part been lucky to rule over quiescent peasants who make no demands because they are usually contented with the little they have, and have political and social elites that are easy to buy off, manipulate, or intimidate into silence.

This is not to argue that agriculture in Africa will not develop until conditions similar to those that have underlain agricultural transformation elsewhere emerge. Rather, the argument here is that African leaders who do not face political imperatives forcing them to pay close attention to agriculture cannot simply be talked or financed into it by experts or donors.

Frederick Golooba-Mutebi is a Kampala- and Kigali-based researcher and writer on politics and public affairs. E-mail: fgmutebi@yahoo.com

Original Post – The East Africa

Kofi Annan gets military burial

Daniel Mumbere with Shaban Alfa

The former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Atta Annan has been laid to rest today (September 13) in his native Ghana, after a state funeral that will be attended by people from all walks of life including leaders from all over the world.

Annan, a Ghanaian national and Noble peace prize laureate, died in a Swiss hospital last month at the age of 80. He was surrounded in his last days by his second wife Nane and children Ama, Kojo and Nina.

The family of Kofi Annan have shared emotional and powerful tributes, describing him as a ‘special father’ and an ‘extraordinary human being’.

Opera singer Barbara Hendricks, a UN refugee council goodwill ambassador who sang at Annan’s Nobel ceremony, performed the civil rights anthem “Oh, Freedom” at the funeral of Christian prayers and song.

Among the global leaders who arrived in the Ghana capital, Accra, for the memorial ceremony and subsequent burial at a military cemetery were:

  • Ethiopian president Mulatu Teshome
  • Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara
  • Liberian president George Manneh Weah
  • Namibian president Hage Geingob
  • Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa
  • Angolan vice-president
  • Nigerien Prime Minister
  • Ex-presidents of Germany and Mauritius
  • The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
  • African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat
  • Royalty included Princess Beatrix, the former queen of the Netherlands, and her daughter-in-law Princess Mabel, who were close friends.
  • Highlights of the burial which took place at a military cemetery located in Burma Camp had a religious part of it that included a series of prayers from the clergy.

    After his casket was lowered into the ground, his wife and president of Ghana cast the first pieces of earth. A full military firing of gunshots followed after which a wreath laying ceremony followed.

    • President Akufo-Addo on behalf of the Government of Ghana
    • Antonio Guterres on behalf of the United Nations
    • Ambassador Kobina Annan on behalf of the family
    • Nane Annan, the widow
    • Children Ama, Kojo and Nina.

Three days of national mourning

The remains of Kofi Annan were received by the Ghanaian government led by president Nana Akufo-Addo on Monday, and a three-day national mourning started on Tuesday.

The casket of Ghana’s illustrious son, who served as the United Nations top diplomat for a decade, was laid in state at the Accra International Conference Center (AICC), for two days, where members of the public and dignitaries paid their last respects.

Wednesday’s session was dominated by customary rites for Annan, a dignitary of Ashanti lineage who was granted a royal title by the Ashanti king in 2002. The elders said the rites were necessary to clear the path for a peaceful “travel” for their royal.

“Custom demands that we see him off with the necessary clothing and water for his journey to the other world,” one of the chiefs from the Akwamu traditional area told Reuters.

Mugabe reconciles with the man who ousted him after Mnangagwa sends private jet to pick up Grace

Robert Mugabe has forgiven Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man who threw him out of power last year, and says that the new president is the right man to rule Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe, 94, on Thursday said: “There was an election. Zanu-PF was represented by Emmerson Mnangagwa and [Nelson] Chamisa represented MDC-Alliance and results came out saying the person who won was Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“We have accepted the result and we hope that we will continue respecting the will of the people. The gun does not and should not lead politics.”

He added that he was grateful Mr Mnangagwa, 75, had hired a luxury aircraft to take his wife Grace from Singapore to Harare for the funeral of her mother, Idah Marufu, who died last week.

His remarks were markedly different to those he made just six weeks ago, on the eve of the first election since he was ousted, when Mr Mugabe said he would vote for the opposition candidate and that he had not trusted Mr Mnangagwa since they began their political relationship more then 50 years ago.

He also previously complained that he was short of money since the soft coup d’etat last November put him and his family under house arrest within their vast estate in Harare’s northern suburbs.

Mr Mugabe claimed he lacked funds to repair the roof of his Chinese-style mansion and needed to move house.

Mrs Mugabe, who lead the campaign within Zanu-PF against Mr Mnangagwa to prevent him from becoming her husband’s successor, this week gushed: “He [Mnangagwa] loves us. He knows we we love him too. We pray for him because it’s God’s will that he is president. We pray that he be given the wisdom to lead the country.”

Mr Mnangagwa fled to Mozambique after he was sacked as vice president last October following months of humiliations when he was criticised at rallies by Mrs Mugabe, often when he was sitting in the front row.

Grace Mugabe | A life in controversies

Grace Mugabe married Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in 1996, after working as his secretary. She quickly rose through the ranks of the ruling Zanu-PF party, becoming head of the Women’s League and a member of its 49-person Politburo.

Arguably the biggest scandal during her political career was her spending. Acquiring the nickname “Gucci Grace”, Mrs Mugabe became legendary for international shopping trips including to London’s Harrods, and reportedly once spent £40,000 in an afternoon in the city.

Mrs Mugabe shrugged off accusations of extravagance, saying that she went to the luxury shop to buy almonds in a bid to eat healthily.

Her overseeing of two lavish palaces being built in Zimbabwe, where 76 per cent of rural households live on less than $1.25 per day, was also derided.

Eyebrows were again raised in 2014 when Mrs Mugabe was awarded doctoral degree in sociology only two months after enrolling.

Allegations of violence have also dogged Mrs Mugabe, with The Times in 2009 reporting that she beat up a photographer with the assistance of her bodyguards when in Hong Kong.

In 2017, a young woman alleged that Mrs Mugabe beat her with an electric cable in a hotel room in Johannesburg. Mrs Mugabe denied the attack.

Months earlier the armed forces airlifted him to hospital in South Africa because he said he was poisoned at a rally he attended with the Mugabes.

In June this year, a grenade exploded at a rally addressed by Mr Mnangagwa, killing two security aides and injuring Kembo Mohadi Kembo, vice president, and Oppah Muchinguru-Kashiri, a cabinet minister.

Many of Mr Mugabe’s supporters encouraged voters to support the opposition MDC Alliance and Mr Chamisa at elections on July 30. The elections went off peacefully but the army opened fire at an anti-Mnangagwa demonstration the next day and killed six people.

Now Mr Mugabe, who was in power for 38 years, says that Mr Mnangagwa won the elections and the results were confirmed by the constitutional court two weeks ago.

Mr Mnangagwa appointed his cabinet Friday and included Olympic star, Kirsty Coventry, a white swimmer, as his sports minister, while ignoring most of those previously favoured by Mr Mugabe.

First Published by The Telegraph

South Africa hosts The International Association of Prosecutors’

South Africa hosts The International Association of Prosecutors’ Conference, 9-14 September 2018

Senior prosecutors, Heads of Prosecuting agencies and Ministers of Justice from around the world will exchange experiences on prosecutorial independence

PRETORIA, South Africa, September 7, 2018/APO Group/ — South Africa will from 9 – 14 September 2018 host the annual International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg under the theme: “Prosecutorial Independence – the Cornerstone of Justice to Society”.

Senior prosecutors, Heads of Prosecuting agencies and Ministers of Justice from around the world will exchange experiences on prosecutorial independence, including new developments, legal challenges and solutions.

The IAP assists prosecutors across the world in the fight against crime, upholding human rights and the rule of law.

Media are invited as follows:

Day One: Opening Address

Date: Monday, 10 September 2018

Time: 09h00 – 10h00

The IAP assists prosecutors across the world in the fight against crime, upholding human rights and the rule of law

Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg – Plenary Hall

Day Two: Closing Address

Date: Thursday, 13 September 2018

Time: 15h15  – 15h45

Venue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg – Plenary Hall

RSVP and Enquiries:

Luvuyo Mfaku (NPA Spokesperson)

082 378 6199

lmfaku@npa.gov.za

Close to 90 elephants slaughtered near Africa wildlife sanctuary, group says

Close to 90 elephants have been found dead near a wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, according to conservationists, as the gentle giants are increasingly being threatened by poachers.

Non-profit group Elephants Without Borders, which is conducting a national elephant census, has found the “fresh and recent” carcasses of 87 poached elephants near the Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, director Mike Chase told the BBC. He said he was “shocked” at the findings in Botswana, which has long been viewed as a refuge for elephants.

“I’m shocked, I’m completely astounded,” Chase said. “The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read anywhere in Africa to date.”

Chase added that, compared to his 2015 census, “we are recording double the number of fresh poached elephants than anywhere else in Africa.”

The government of Botswana, home to an estimated 130,000 elephants, told The Associated Press that the non-profit’s information was inaccurate, and that some of the elephant carcasses found “were not poached but rather died from natural causes and retaliatory killings as a result of human and wildlife conflicts.”

The country, with a population of more than 2 million, suffers from some human-wildlife conflict but has more space than many other countries for animals to roam. Kenya, for example, has a population 25 times larger and is almost as big as Botswana in geographical size.

Security in Botswana has often been known to quickly open fire on poaching suspects, including Namibians and Zimbabweans who were killed after illegally crossing the border.

Chase told the news station that the group was warning “of an impending problem and we thought we were prepared for it.”

After poachers wiped out large numbers of elephants in neighboring Zambia and Angola, they’re “now turning their guns to Botswana,” Chase said. “We have the world’s largest elephant population and it’s open season for poachers,” he told The AP, adding that poachers have targeted old bull elephants that presumably have the heaviest tusks.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who took office in April, has reportedly taken steps to reduce the use of military weapons against poachers, which some conservationists speculate could be emboldening ivory traffickers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mganangwa Secret Plan to Offer Chamisa Govt Perks

A top government official has revealed President Emmerson Mnangagwa had, up his sleeve, a pending constitutional amendment that could see opposition leader Nelson Chamisa offered government perks as leader of the country’s biggest opposition in a replica of the British system.

The plan, according to the official, was aimed at pacifying a powerful opponent who feels cheated by the outcome of the just ended poll and keeps threatening to throw spanners in the wake of Mnangagwa’s hopes of enjoying his rule and to remedy a devastating economic crisis.

The envisaged arrangement is modelled along the British system which creates the office of the opposition leader.

Under the plan, the opposition leader and his chief whip are pampered with government perks, aides and other mouth-watering privileges.

The arrangement, according to the official, was also enough to throw the opposition camp into further disarray as the offer could be extended to MDC Alliance co-principal Tendai Biti, who is arguably the most senior coalition leader in the just elected parliament.

Through his unsuccessful bid to land the country’s presidency, Chamisa surrendered a ticket to be elected MP while his deputy Elias Mudzuri was elected Senator.

This according to the official, leaves Biti as defacto leader of the opposition.

The plan, it is further said, was still being kept under wraps in order to allow Chamisa time to pacify his restive constituency.

But the source is clear Chamisa will not refuse the offer.

“What has he ever refused? Remember he is not a rate payer,” he quips, while claiming Chamisa did not have any title deeds in his name and would not refuse a government mansion offered to him for free.

Asked if the plan has been broached to his principal, Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda repeatedly evaded the question but admitted his boss was keen on negotiations which he said will never be open to the public.

“The president as the winner of the last election has been authorised by the national executive to engage all stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s political processes to ensure that the outcome of the election is given effect and also to ensure that the country can move forward and strengthen its democratic practices and also to make sure that we cannot continue in a culture of disputed elections,” he said.

“He is going to do it judiciously, carefully, diplomatically and openly but what he is not going to do is to engage in public negotiation to the extent that that goes above and beyond the requirements of reporting back to the national executive as an when that becomes due.

“At that stage, the national executive then decides what has to be given to the media but certainly the president was given parameters and he will negotiate within the parameters.”

Mnangagwa, often described as a master strategist by MDC top official Eddie Cross, has been short on talk but stronger on action.

The veteran politician is credited for presiding over a coup that deposed former President Robert Mugabe with little or no blood spilled.

Mugabe has turned around and endorsed his recent poll victory.

Before that, Mnangagwa made a surprise visit to the now late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai where he offered him permanent rights to the Highlands government mansion, his benefits as the country former Prime Minister as well as taking care of his medical bills.

Prior to his death February this year, Tsvangirai was reportedly bankrupt and was burdened with a giant hospital bill.

Before he mended his differences with his former allies, Tsvangirai was often the subject of repeated ridicule by an MDC breakaway group which accused him of living at the benevolence of the enemy through continued occupation of a government home.

His critics insisted this diminished his resolve to demand accountability from government as opposition chief for as long as he remained ensconced in a house that was offered by the state.

If the government plan sees the light of day, Chamisa is highly likely to walk into the trap.

Mnangagwa is keen on seeing less turbulence to his rule and has often said he was ready to steer the country away from a destructive political inclination towards an economic one.

Chamisa’s continued grumbling over what he insists were rigged elections threatens that ambition.

More Children Die in Africa From After Effects War Than From War Itself

Paul D. Shinkman

Childhood deaths in Africa outnumber conflict deaths by 3-to-1, according to newly compiled data.

Three times more children died in Africa from 1995 to 2015 as a result of conflicts than the number killed in conflicts themselves, according to a new study that documents the far-reaching effects of armed clashes on the continent.

The study, published in The Lancet on Aug. 30, highlights the lasting and widespread effects of conflict on children, even those who were not directly present for it. As many as 5 million children and 3 million infants died in Africa during that 20-year period from the lasting and sometimes indirect effects of war, including preventable diseases like dysentery and measles, disruption of basic services like water, sanitation and health care, as well as hunger and malnutrition.

“The effects of armed conflict extend beyond the deaths of combatants and physical devastation: armed conflict substantially increases the risk of death of young children, for a long period of time,” writes study author Eran Bendavid, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University and a member of its Center for Health Policy. “It might not be surprising that young children are vulnerable to nearby armed conflicts, but we show that this burden is substantially higher than previously indicated.”

The largest prevalence of deaths for children younger than 5 years old were in Nigeria, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia, Libya, Egypt and West Africa near Sierra Leone, according to the study.

Infants born within 30 miles of conflict zones had almost an 8 percent risk of dying within the first year of their life compared to those who were born farther away. In conflicts where more than 1,000 people are killed, the risk to infants rises by as much as 27 percent. For conflicts that last for more than five years, infant mortality rose almost four times compared to conflicts that were less than a year long.

The effect of conflict zones on children persisted for those born within 60 miles of one, and as long as eight years after it subsides.

The analysis of child deaths, compiled through population estimates and established data about the prevalence of conflicts, is 10 times higher than the 2015 Global Burden of Disease estimates, the study states.

“These deaths rival other significant causes of death in Africa, including malnutrition,” Bendavid said in an accompanying statement. “Our findings also indicate that the true burden of conflict on health in Africa, and probably elsewhere, is largely unknown, and the figures don’t capture the wider impact, such as effects on other vulnerable populations including young women, non-fatal disease and injury, and long-term disability and trauma.”

Researchers associated with the study caution that the data, while troubling, is skewed by lack of access to conflict zones, mass migrations caused by conflicts and accuracy of estimates.

Three quarters of non-state conflicts around the world since 1989 took place in Africa, according to a release accompanying the study.

The study documented more than 15,000 conflict events that caused almost a million conflict deaths within 35 of the 54 countries on the continent.

Original Post – US News

Congo war crimes suspect Ntaganda ‘drugged child soldiers’

By AFP

he Hague

Congolese ex-warlord Bosco Ntaganda plied child soldiers in his rebel army with drugs and alcohol before sending them to murder his enemies, the International Criminal Court heard on Wednesday.

A lawyer representing 283 victims in the case said Ntaganda, now aged about 44, was “directly involved in the recruitment of thousands of children” in his forces, which conducted a reign of terror in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003.

Afterwards Ntaganda “used them (child soldiers) to participate, under the spell of alcohol and drugs… to kill, rape and pillage the enemy”, said the lawyer, Sarah Pellet.

Judges at the Hague-based ICC are listening to a second day of closing statements in the case against the man nicknamed “The Terminator”.

Prosecutors say Ntaganda’s army ravaged the mineral-rich Ituri region more than 15 years ago.

Ntaganda faces 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity for his role in the conflict.

The alleged crimes include murder, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting children under the age of 15 to serve in his Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC).

Pellet said Wednesday the victims “were expecting justice” even after 15 years.

“It is time for the victims to put the past behind them and move forward and built their future. This will be by way of a guilty verdict,” she said.

On Tuesday, prosecutors said Ntaganda was central to planning operations for the Union of Congolese Patriots and its military wing, the FPLC.

Known as a charismatic commander with a penchant for cowboy hats and fine dining, prosecutors said Ntaganda used child soldiers younger than 15 years, coerced women soldiers into sexual slavery and attacked civilians on ethnic grounds.

Prosecutors, who showed shocking images of the disembowelled bodies of victims, who also had their throats slit, also asked for a guilty verdict.

At least 800 people were killed by the FPLC as it battled rival militias for control of the volatile area, prosecutors said.

But during his trial the soft-spoken Ntaganda during balked at the “Terminator” nickname and told judges he was a “soldier, not a criminal”.

The first-ever suspect to voluntarily surrender to the ICC, Ntaganda walked into the US embassy in Kigali in 2013 and asked to be sent to the court.

More than 60,000 people have been killed since violence erupted in Ituri in 1999, according to rights groups.

This week’s hearings will run until Thursday with Ntaganda expected to make a statement towards the end of the hearing.

First Published by NMG

Zambia cracks down on online pornography

from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – ZAMBIA has threatened to jail girls and women circulating their naked pictures in social media for purposes of sex work.

They are liable to prison sentences of five years.

Godfridah Sumaili, the National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister, expressed concern at the prevalence of pictures of naked females.

“This is immoral,” the minister said.

“This is a criminal offence that is likely to corrupt morals of people and erode the fibre of the nation,” Sumaili said.

She warned those airing pictures of the naked girls and women would be charged under the Penal Code.

The trend is believed to be the handiwork of sex workers and their agents, who are making the most of the advent of social media and are desperate to lure clients.

In Zambia, prostitution is legal and common but related activities such as soliciting and procuring are prohibited.

Prostitution is blamed on unemployment and other economic challenges.

The warning comes as the Southern African country cracks down on abuse of social media.
– CAJ News

Why Nigeria’s favourite leader won’t become president – yet

Yemi Osinbajo is basking in the love of many Nigerians at the moment – not a common experience for politicians in this country where they are generally held in low esteem.

The vice-president has been praised for the decisive – and dramatic – actions he has taken while standing in for Muhammadu Buhari during the president’s recent 10-day holiday.

The dynamism of the sprightly 61-year-old have been contrasted to the ponderous nature of Mr Buhari, 75, who has been nicknamed “Baba-Go-Slow”.

However, as a southerner he is unlikely to be able to stand in next year’s presidential elections, due to the country’s tradition of alternating power between the mainly Muslim north and largely Christian south.

‘Police torture and killings’

Mr Osinbajo’s most recent intervention was to order the overhaul of the police’s notorious anti-robbery squad, known as Sars, and ask the country’s Human Rights Commission to investigate the numerous allegations of abuses committed by the unit.

For more than a year President Buhari has been under pressure to take action against Sars, as stories were shared on social media about extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and extortion allegedly committed by its officers.

An #EndSars campaign was launched amid calls for the squad to be disbanded.

Mr Osinbajo said he was moved to act because of the “persistent complaints and reports on the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) that border on allegations of human rights violation”.

He did not disband the unit but said it would get a new commissioner, be intelligence-driven and its mandate restricted to combating armed robbery and kidnappings.

Members of the squad would also have to wear proper identification while on duty.

Nigerians on Twitter celebrated – and many just seemed relieved to have an efficient politician getting things done.

The previous week, he took the huge step of sacking the controversial head of Nigeria’s spy agency after a siege of parliament by men in masks, who turned out to be operatives from the Nigerian equivalent of the FBI.

It was a mysterious affair – and the reasons for the Department of State Security’s (DSS) invasion of parliament are still murky, though it is thought to be linked to political machinations ahead of elections next year.

Nonetheless DSS boss Lawal Musa Daura has long been seen as one of the officials denting the government’s reputation because of the agency’s alleged excesses.

Critics have long wondered why President Buhari, who appointed him, has failed to take action against Mr Daura.

By contrast Mr Osinbajo did not delay. He took the figurative bull by the horns, calling Mr Daura’s actions “unacceptable” and “a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all accepted notions of law and order”.

Pulse of public opinion

A former law professor, the vice-president comes across as quiet, unassuming and hardworking.

But he is an eloquent and jovial person, who is usually seen with a smile on his face.

He was the state commissioner of justice in Lagos between 1999 and 2007, where he passed several reforms including a body tasked with protecting citizen’s rights.

He was also the pastor in charge of the city’s Redeemed Christian Church of God.

He has been vice-president since 2015, when Mr Buhari overcame the odds to defeat the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.

Last year when Mr Buhari went on medical leave, his deputy took some far-reaching economic measures to prop up the country’s currency, the naira.

There was a scarcity of US dollars at the time, which is needed by importers.

So he asked the Central Bank to inject millions of dollars into the market to help stabilise the naira on the foreign-exchange market.

Reviving the economy was one of Mr Buhari’s main campaign pledges but he has failed to pass many of the reforms which economists say are needed.

Mr Osinbajo never tries to hog the limelight – and maintains that he does not take any decision without first consulting his boss and getting his approval.

Nevertheless his leadership style is winning him fans as he seems to feel the pulse of public opinion.

Selfish aides

Some suggest one reason for this dexterity is that with fewer powerful aides, he can act independently.

On the other hand, President Buhari, finds it very difficult to punish his erring government officials or make rapid institutional reforms.

Some observers say it is unfair to compare the two – stepping in for a few weeks or even months is just not the same as running a country full time.

Nigeria, Africa’s most-populous nation, is a complex place and balancing competing political, ethnic, religious and regional interests in a federal state can be difficult.

While many Nigerians do not doubt Mr Buhari’s integrity and ambition to solve the country’s myriad problems, they say he is surrounded by selfish aides who do not put the interest of the country first.

The health problems he experienced last year are also believed to have hampered his agility and general performance, although he seems much improved recently.

Despite the criticism of the pace of his decision-making, Mr Buhari has been praised for his dogged fight against corruption, tackling the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency and his attempts to diversify the economy.

Nigeria is only months away from elections – and it has left some wondering what it would be like to have Mr Osinbajo permanently in the top job.

But there is no immediate prospect of this happening – and Mr Osinbajo has never spoken of having presidential ambitions.

Mr Buhari has already indicated his ambition to seek re-election in February – with his loyal deputy once more his running mate and unlikely to challenge him.

There is also Nigeria’s informal policy of rotating the presidency – after two terms – between the mainly Muslim north and the largely Christian south to consider.

Mr Buhari, a northerner, is just completing his first term. Mr Osinbajo, a southerner who was born in the mega city of Lagos, would therefore be an unlikely presidential choice for the governing All Progressive Congress (APC) party.

And there is of course, the possibility of an opposition victory which would further remove him from the corridors of power.

While it is unlikely that Mr Osinbajo will be Nigeria’s full-time leader any time soon, he is young enough to bide his time until the next poll in 2023, when it might be the turn of a southerner to lead the country.