By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah, Abuja
The senior special assistant to the acting president on Legal Matters, Dr Bilkisu Saidu has dismissed recent comments credited to a faceless Social Media contributor using the name Ismaila Farouk from Zamfara State about appointments made by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, into some Federal agencies and the ones done in the office of the Vice President.
Dr Saidu, regarded as one of the foremost aides to the Acting President, spoke on “Shirin Safe’’, an interview programme on BBC Hausa Radio on Sunday. She was a law teacher from the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University Sokoto before she was named an SSA in the Office of the Vice President last year.
In a statement from the spokesman of the Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, she described the nepotism charges as simply laughable, untrue, unfair and should not be taken seriously.
According to her, contrary to Mr Farouk’s conclusions, most senior positions on the Vice President’s office are held by Muslims including by individuals who are from the north.
“If you are talking about religion, the most senior official or position in the Office of the Vice President apart from the Vice President himself, is the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President and the name of the person occupying that office is Abdulrahman Ipaye and he is a Muslim.’
“The positions following the Chief of Staff’s in the order of hierarchy are the Special Advisers in the office of the Vice President. Here there are three Special Advisers and two out of the three Special Advisers are Muslims, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Barrister Mariam Uwais from Kano State,’’ she added.
Dr Saidu said that a cursory look at the other senior positions in the Vice President’s office indicate that religious consideration was never a factor in the appointment of the officers, noting that “If you look at the remaining senior positions in that office, most of them are in the hands of Muslims from the north.’’
She said: “For instance the person in charge of Protocol (i.e. the Director of Protocol) is Ambassador Abdullahi Gwary from Yobe State; those in charge of welfare and health in the office of the Vice President are mostly Muslims and from the north.
“Worthy of note are the stewards, those who serve the Vice President’s meals, they are mostly Muslims, so what do the critics mean when they talk about religion.’’
Dr Saidu concluded that when non-progressive minded people fail to win public support on their personal agenda they often resort to the use of religion given its sensitivity among Nigerians.
According to her, “when people lack what to use or have exhausted all avenues to speak evil against perceived opponents or ridicule the good works that they are doing, they resort to use of religion or other means possible to damage the image and reputation of that opponent.’’
The faceless Ismaila Farouk from Zamfara State recently criticized Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s recent outings and appointments made in his office describing them as sectional and not in the interest of the North.