Buhari: His health and the markets

The strange statements coming from the villa and Mr. President’s absence at key meetings this month have increased suspicion that all is not well with Baba’s health.

Of course, this is not a new story.

However, unlike the period when he was in London for treatment and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo took the reigns, there is no clear leadership being shown currently .

All this will make investors nervous.

In a country like Nigeria where all policy and Government action is tied up with those in power and their cronies, it is difficult for investors to make decisions when there is a potential regime change.

In other countries, the civil services and administration ensure continuity and the electorates do not tolerate sudden changes of direction.

Not so in Nigeria.

Before most national elections, investors halt activity and even extract capital to protect themselves during a regime change.

This is to make sure they are not caught out by sudden policy changes.

Perhaps more astutely, it ensure that they are not too badly damaged when their patrons fall out of favor and are collateral damage in a change of government cronies.

This period of uncertainty over the Presidents health will mean things slow down.

Whilst it is conceivable that there could be a smooth transition to Osinbajo (and he is seen as a superior leader amongst investors anyway), there is the risk of turmoil and elections again.

All investors are aware of the “zoning” of the Presidency and issues of national harmony that can arise when the perceived sharing of the role is not fulfilled.

So, the goings on at Aso Rock are significant at the minute.

The green shoots of recovery will not truly appear until Mr President shows sustained strength and vitality or more terrible news is announced.

Certainly economic diversification and related significant and serious foreign investment will be on hold for a while.

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