By Danlami Nmodu
Twenty four hours after reports emerged about the sack of some aides to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo,SAN, the Presidency has remained silent on the matter. No official statement confirming or denying the story has been forthcoming.
Despite that names of some of those sacked have emerged as gleaned from a list published by TheBridgenews,an online newspaper(Click to view list)
Unofficial sources earlier told Newsdiaryonline that some of the vice President’s aides had been served with their sack letters as at Wednesday morning. It was also learnt that tags which usually grant access to the Villa have been withdrawn from some of those affected. However the Presidency remained silent on the matter.
The report of the sack of Osinbajo’s aides was broken by DailyNigerian an online newspaper, and set the stage for several frenetic follow-ups by many other platforms. Several newspapers led with the story Thursday.
One of the most insightful reports Thursday was that of Daily Trust, which reported that Vice President Osinbajo has retrieved the sack letters from his affected aides pending the return of President Muhammadu Buhari. However, there are unconfirmed reports that the VP’s attempt to retrieve the letters may have failed.
Perception of growing unease
There has been a perception of growing unease in the relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo.
The latest unconfirmed report of the sack of Osinbajo’s aides has further fueled the perception of unease in the relationship between the President and the vice president.
Two days ago, President Buhari signed the amended Production Sharing Contract in London fueling speculation as brilliantly captured by Daily Trust that Buhari has left Osinbajo “floating”. This was quickly followed by the DailyNigerian exclusive on the alleged sack of Osinbajo’s aides.
Hitherto, several agencies under the office of the Vice president were removed from him and placed under the President’s control. The Economic Management Team (EMT) led by Osinbajo was disbanded and a new Economic Advisory Council under the direct control of the President was constituted recently.
All these moves gave vent to speculations of unease and a cold war. But there is no confirmation of any open rift.
Despite perception of rift, Osinbajo still presides over FEC Meetings in Buhari’s Absence
One clear fact is that the Vice President has been carrying out official functions apparently unhindered despite the perception of unease or rift between the top guns. He has presided over Federal Executive Council meetings since President Buhari, for instance, travelled to recently to Saudi Arabia and later moved to London on a private visit (and, as well, working visit, as it is now public knowledge with the signing of the amended PSC bill into an Act). Despite the perception, the machinery of government is functioning. Or so it seems.
Perceived Buhari – Osinbajo “rift” re-echoes Obasanjo – Atiku years
The perceived rift between President Buhari and VP Osinbajo has brought back memories of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s rift with Vice President Atiku Abubakar. In the heat of the crisis, Obasanjo sacked some aides of Atiku. Mallam Garba Shehu, the present Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity was a victim of Obasanjo’s power play. Shehu was then one of the aides of Atiku.
The presidency however said through an aide that Buhari has not undermined Osinbajo, neither has he been relegated.