President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sack of 35 aides to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, an online report says. The veepee, prior to this action, had 80 aides.
According a report by Daily Nigerian, President Buhari gave the approval a day after signing the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Amendment Bill into law in London.
The news platform reports that the affected aides, who were issued appointment letters in August, 2019 included some Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, Personal Assistants and Technical Assistants.
Citing anonymous sources within the presidency, the medium said the aides may be formally issued their sack letters today, Wednesday, November 6, 2019.
“Preparatory to their eventual dismissal,” the report said, “the aides were posted out to some line ministries relevant to their designation last month.
“The move was allegedly to deny them access to the Villa and reduce the influence of the vice president.”
Citing a source familiar with the development, the report continues:
“Although more than half of the aides are under the payroll of donor agencies, the cabal eased them out in order to whittle down the influence of the vice president.
“None of them were queried or interdicted for any wrongdoing. It is not about cutting cost, because no aide was sacked in the president’s office nor office of the First Lady, where six more aides were appointed less than one month ago.
“They were just sacked to reduce the VP’s influence,” the source said.
Recently, there are reports of frosty relationship between the president and his deputy since the beginning of their second term in office.
It started with the president transferring some agencies under the Osinbajo’s control to either his office or some ministries.
The president had taken away the Special Intervention Programmes [SIPs] from the vice president’s office to the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
SIPs include TraderMoni, Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power, among others.
Also, on September 16, Buhari replaced Osinbajo-led Economic Management Team with Economic Advisory Council that will directly report to him.
Insiders said the president’s powerful handlers, otherwise known as cabal, were unhappy with some critical decisions taken by the vice president in the president’s absence.
Feelers believe that top among Mr Osinbajo’s “crimes” was the sack of Lawal Daura, erstwhile director-general of the Department of Security Service [DSS] when Mr Osinbajo was acting president in August last year.
Another decision that drew the ire of the cabal was transmitting a letter to the Senate in February 2017, seeking confirmation of then acting Chief Justice of Nigeria [CJN], Walter Samuel Onnoghen.