The Presidency has accused those it described as mischief-makers of masterminding the story of a purported division between President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The presidency has also given explanation about the widely reported removal from office aides of the vice president who some people had interpreted as a sign of discord between the two leaders.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, the exercise was ordered by the president to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of governance, which is part of an ongoing, and unprecedented, overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments had either been revoked or not renewed in the second term.
The presidential aide further stated that the move was also an appropriate response to the general perception that the Presidency had a bloated workforce which acts as a drag on efficiency.
Shehu explained that, 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.
He said, “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 taxpayers’ 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 strongly denied rumours of a rift between President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, stating that the relationship between the two leaders remains excellent.
“Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation,” he said.
The presidential spokesman said media reports of a soured relationship originated from the minds and mouths of mischief makers who are desperate for entertaining stories from the Aso Villa with which to titillate the public.
According time to him, this ulterior motive is the basis for 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,” he said.
The president had during the week sacked 35 aides of the vice president leading to speculations that there was a rift in the presidency.
Reports have been rife that since their re-election, Osinbajo had 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.
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