The presidency has all but confirmed sacking 35 aides of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, affirming that it was engaged in shedding exercise to save taxpayers money.
In the first official statement issued since the news of the sacking broke days ago, Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, however, said on Friday that there was no rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President contrary to media reports.
He confirmed that there was an ongoing overhaul of the presidency which led to the non-renewal of certain political appointments.
It said the office of the Vice President had also been shed of such appointees.
The statement read: “The Presidency wishes to confirm that there is, on-going, an unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which, a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the Second Term.
“The exercise, which has been ordered by the President, is to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of administration.
“It is also an appropriate response to the general perception that the Presidency has an oversized and bloated workforce which acts as a drag on efficiency.
“As may have been noticed by discerning members of the public, a number of political appointees among the few that served in the office of the President were not returned for the Second Term.
“The office of the Vice President, His Excellency Yemi Osinbajo has, in compliance with the directive of the President, equally been shed of a number of such appointees.
“In carrying out these exercises, the overriding objective is to save taxpayer money and deliver needed service to the public. As far as the President is concerned, there is no scope for an excuse for administration after getting a huge mandate to run the country for four more years.
“In the light of this, the Presidency wishes to strongly deny rumours of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting. Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation.
“The media reports of a soured relationship are originating from the minds and mouths of mischief-makers, who are desperate for entertaining stories from the Aso Rock Villa with which to titillate the public. This ulterior motive is the basis of the wrong interpretation given to the recent exercise in the Presidency.
“There has been a streamlining of staff going on for a while. The President has always had fewer staff than the Vice President, and there were always plans to reduce the number of staff at the Villa.
The streamlining was not personal or targeted to undermine the Vice President’s office, as the so-called insider sources quoted by the media appear to make it seem.
“The President is in absolute control of his government. The media should stop attributing non-existent powers to some people. There cannot be anyone too powerful for President Buhari to control.”
Names of the 35 aides emerged in the presidency on Thursday.
Jibola Ajayi- SA, Legal
Lanre Osinbona- SSA, ICT
Imeh Okon- SSA, Infrastructure
Jide Awolowo- SA, Oil and Gas
Lilian Idiaghe- SA, Research, Legal and Compliance
Arukino Umukoro- SA, Niger Delta, Bala Liman Mohammed SSA Economy.
Edobor Iyamu SSA, Niger Delta
Dolapo Bright SSA, Agro-Allied Value Chain
Toyosi Onaolapo SA, Community engagement
Gambo Manzo SA, Political
Bisi Ogungbemi SA, Political Matters
Edirin Akemu SSA, Industry, Trade & Investment
Akin Soetan STA, Economic matters
Aondaver Kuttuh Technical Assistant, Rule of Law
Ife Adebayo SA, Innovation
Yussuf Ali SA, Power regulations
Tola Asekun SSA, National boundary commission
Morakinyo Beckley SA, Off-grid power
Yosola Akinbi SSA, NEC
Tochi Nwachukwu SA, Power Privatisation
Bode Gbore SSA, Political
Abdulrahman Baffa Yola SA, Political
Kolade Sofola SA, Infrastructure
Ebi Awosika STA, Community Engagement
Muyiwa Abiodun SSA, Power
Forri Samson Banu SA, Entrepreneurship
Bege Bala SA, BPE
Feyishayo Aina SA, Community engagement
Halima Bawa SA, Community Engagement
Nkechi Chukwueke SA, Community engagement
Ilsa Essien SA, Media
But in a tweet on Thursday evening, the spokesman of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, has dismissed the list, saying that it was not genuine and should be ignored.
“Also, a list circulating in the media on the so-called sacked presidential aides is not genuine and ought to be ignored,” he said in his personal handle @akandeoj.
Recall that the president began the implementation of the sack of some aides on Wednesday.
It was learnt that even when Osinbajo was hoping that the sacked aides would be reversed by the president, some of the affected persons on Wednesday had their presidential villa access tags retrieved from them as they reported for work.
Some them who reported for work were said to have been approached at the gate by security personnel who seized their tags upon confirming that their names were contained in the list of sacked aides apparently provided for them.
Some of the aides were said to have left their offices by themselves on Wednesday and returned home to avoid being embarrassed.
A source close to the vice president’s office had confided in the TribuneOnline that some of the aides who came to work of Wednesday left on their own accord to stave off any incident with security personnel.
Many of the Osinbajo’s aides had earlier been sent out from the villa and accommodated in various ministries and parastatals, which reduced their access to the villa.
Akande had also earlier failed to confirm or deny the development when asked for his reaction at that time.
He had told the TribuneOnline that he was just emerging from Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and had read the reports just like others.
“I read it just like others. I will like to find out what is happening,” he said.
Reports have been rife that since their re-election, Osinbajo has fallen out of favour with some elements close to President Buhari who are undermining his authority, a situation which has been blamed for the dissolution and replacement of the Economic Management Team hitherto headed by the vice president.Read Full Story