A source in the Presidential Villa has confided in our source that members of the cabal in the Presidency were bitter about the roles played by the Vice-President, when he stood in for Buhari, when the latter went on medical leave.
The President did not forward Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for consideration despite public outcry.
But Osinbajo had during a conference of the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, claimed Buhari was not aware of Oongohen’s trial until Saturday, January 12.
But the President did not wait for Onnoghen’s trial at the CCT to be concluded before suspending him on January 25.
The source, who confided in one of our correspondents, attributed Osinbajo’s travails to the roles he played in Onnoghen’s issue and Daura’s removal.
But a top member of the All Progressives Congress, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the situation as “sad” and “beyond mere words.”
“Whatever is happening cannot be hidden for too long. Without doubt certain individuals within and outside the villa are taking advantage of the situation.”
In response to a question on the replacement of the Osibajo-led Economic Management Team with the Prof Doyin Salami-led Economic Advisory Council, he said, “There is a new energy to refocus government to revamp the economy.
“If the President is saying this (economic) route that we’ve taken in the last four years has not yielded the desired results, let us go another route is there anything wrong with that?
In place of the EMT, Buhari named an Economic Advisory Council with Prof Doyin Salami as the chairman.
“The Economic Advisory Council will advise the President on economic policy matters, including fiscal analysis, economic growth and a range of internal and global economic issues working with the relevant cabinet members and heads of monetary and fiscal agencies.
But, his office told our source on Wednesday that the business of governance would continue, in spite of the dissolution of the EMT.
Aside from the scrapped EMT, Osinbajo oversees some agencies: the National Emergency Management Agency; the National Boundary Commission; and the Border Communities Development Agency.
The VP chairs the boards of NEMA and the Niger Delta Power Holding Company.
“This is obviously misleading and aims only to plant seeds of discord in the Presidency, while attempting to create unnecessary national hysteria”, it stated.
“However, other activities, or procurements, with value exceeding a certain threshold, require board approval. These may get to the agency board chaired by the Vice-President. In a few cases where Presidential approval is required, the Director-General must seek such approval from the President, through the Vice-President.
When asked if the dissolution of Osinbajo’s economic team signalled friction between the President and his deputy, Addesina said, “Nothing out of the ordinary is going on. Governance continues and the Presidency remains one. And this Presidency just wants to do what’s best for Nigeria.
The President’s spokesman said he was not aware of alleged plans by the Presidency to remove the Social Investment Programme from Osinbajo’s control.
“It is just some Nigerians who want to drive a wedge between the President and the Vice-President that read meaning to everything. They insinuate about everything. It is still one Presidency and decisions taken are best for the country.”
When contacted for his reaction, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, debunked insinuations of a crack in the presidency.
The Spokesman for Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday.
“They may have had a justifiable reason to do so. But we are taking note of every development and at the appropriate time, we will make our position known. But clearly, what has happened is that the VP’s office has been rendered impotent, useless and irrelevant.
The Economic Management Team led by Osinbajo was suddenly dissolved on Monday and replaced with an advisory council that would report directly to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Presidency, it was reported, was planning stripping the Vice-President of his brainchild known as the Social Investment Programme which comprises the Trader Moni initiative, N-Power, school feeding programme and others.