President Muhammadu Buhari has rubbished talks that he had relegated Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to the background in the running of critical aspects of the country in recent times.
The denial came shortly after Buhari approved the sacking of 35 aides of Osinbajo.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare, on Wednesday in Abuja said that Buhari had not sidelined the VP by travelling outside the country without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly to empower Osinbajo to act as President while he was away.
Omoworare said, “He 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 he is in the world.”
On Monday, Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari, had reportedly taken a bill to him to sign in London, attracting criticisms from far and near.
As a way of countering those ‘missiles’ from enraged citizens, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday said that the President could “rule from anywhere”.
Buhari is currently away in the United Kingdom on a “private visit” – a trip observers say is for medical purpose.
A source in the Presidency, while confirming the sack of Osinbajo’s aides, said, “It is true that many of VP’s aides were given termination letters last night.
“However, I cannot confirm the exact number because it was not done in public. But you know it is political.”
Though both camps continue to deny any rift in their midst, observers maintain that a strong cabal within the Presidency was working tireless to reduce the influence of Osinbajo in the Buhari administration.
In September, Buhari took away the Special Intervention Programmes from the VP’s office and handed it to the newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
The SIPs housed the Home-grown School Feeding Programme, Government Economic Empowerment Programme, N-Power and Trader Moni with an annual budgetary vote of N500bn.