Media reports suggesting that President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked 35 aides attached to the Office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo may be incorrect.
Reports by various online media (ALEDEH not inclusive) suggested that President Buhari had approved “the sack of at least 35 out of over 80 aides” in the Office of the Vice President.
However, the purported list of the “sacked” aides consists of aides that have not been reappointed by the president since his re-election for a second term in office.
Since May 29, Buhari has approved appointment and reappointment of his aides and that of the vice president. Checks by ALEDEH revealed that only ten aides were appointed for the vice president since the new administration was inaugurated.
In a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice President), Laolu Akande, on August 21, 2019, he said the president had re-appointed Ade Ipaye as Deputy Chief of Staff to the President and himself (Akande) as Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President.
According to Akande, others reappointed were Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, as the Special Adviser to President on Economic Matters, Mrs Maryam Uwais as the Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment Programme, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu as the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, as the Special Adviser to the President on Ease Of Doing Business.
Buhari also appointed Ahmadi Zakari as Special Adviser on Infrastructure and Obafela Bank-Olemoh, as Senior Special Assistant on Education Interventions, Louis Odion as Senior Technical Assistant on Print Media, and Ajuri Ngelale, as Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs in the Presidency. Akande said all the appointees would serve in the Office of the Vice President.
Except for Zakari, Bank-Olemoh, Odion and Ngelale, all the other appointments were effective May 29 (because they were reappointed).
There were protests from some quarters at the start of the president’s second term in office when he was yet to reappoint his aides. For instance, the Coalition of the United Political Parties (CUPP), on July 4, 2019, said it had commenced legal action over the continued stay in office of some aides of the president who had not been reappointed by him, while their offices had lapsed with the end of his first term.
CUPP’s national spokesperson, Imo Ugochinyere, in a statement said the coalition wanted the court to declare the offices vacant, their “occupants as illegal and impostors and a desecration of the sanctity of constitutional governance.”
The coalition cited Section 151 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which provides that: “Any appointment made pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be at the pleasure of the President and shall cease when the President cease to hold office.”
Subsequently, on July 5, 2019, Buhari reappointed Boss Mustapha as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff (CUPP had mentioned both as part of the “impostors”).
But in the case of the reported “35 aides”, there’s nothing to indicate that they had been reappointed by the president. If anything, their continued stay in office beyond the first term of the president was illegal.
The reports fuelled rumours that there’s a frosty relationship between the president and his deputy since the beginning of their second term in office, amid insinuations that a cabal loyal to the president was gradually cutting the vice president to size and undermining his powers.
The rumours deepened last Monday after Buhari signed the Deep Offshore bill into law from his vacation place in London, with some suggesting that Osinbajo could well have signed the bill back home if all was well between the duo.
The Presidency has insisted that there is no rift between Buhari and Osinbajo.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, on Wednesday, told journalists that there was no rift between both parties.
Omoworare said the alleged misunderstanding between the Office of the President and that of the Vice President was untrue.
He also noted that Buhari didn’t intend to undermine the Office of the Vice President when he signed the document in London.
“President Buhari has no reason to do so. I don’t think there is any way or manner that the office of the vice president has been relegated.
“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can work from anywhere in the world,” Omoworare said.