The Presidency yesterday confirmed the sack of aides of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, explaining that the decision was part of an on-going and unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President On Media and Publicity, said in a statement that the ongoing streamlining of staff had led to a situation whereby a number of political appointments had either been revoked or not renewed in the second term.
Shehu, who said President Muhammadu Buhari had always had fewer staff than the vice president, added that there were always plans to reduce the number of staff at the Villa.
He said the streamlining was not personal or targeted to undermine the vice president’s office, as the so-called insider sources quoted by the media appeared to make it seem.
The media aide, who said the president is in absolute control of his government, stated that the media should stop attributing non-existent powers to some people as there cannot be anyone too powerful for President Buhari to control.
The statement said the exercise which was ordered by the president, is to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of administration.
“It is also an appropriate response to the general perception that the Presidency has an oversized and bloated workforce which acts as a drag on efficiency.
“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.
“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 services 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 wishes to strongly deny rumours of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting. Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation.
“The media reports of a soured relationship are originating from the minds and mouths of mischief makers, who are desperate for entertaining stories from the Aso Rock Villa with which to titillate the public. This ulterior motive is the basis of the wrong interpretation given to the recent exercise in the Presidency.”
Daily Trust had earlier released the names of some of the 35 aides of Vice President Osinbajo, who were sacked by President Buhari.
Prominent on the list of the affected aides is Ajibola Ajayi, the daughter of former governor of Oyo State, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi.
Also on the list are; the grandson of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Babaji Awolowo, SA, Oil & Gas; Lanre Osinbona, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on ICT; Imeh Okon, SSA on Infrastructure; Gambo Manzo, SA Political and Edobor Iyamu, SSA, Niger Delta.
The list, as released by a reliable source in the Villa, also includes Jibola Ajayi, SA, Legal; Lilian Idiaghe, SA, Research, Legal and Compliance; Arukino Umukoro, SA, Niger Delta; Bala Liman Mohammed, SSA, Economy; Dolapo Bright, SSA, Agro Allied Value Chain; Toyosi Onaolapo SA, Community engagement; Bisi Ogungbemi SA, Political Matters; Edirin Akemu, SSA, Industry,Trade & Investment; Akin Soetan, STA, Economic matters; Aondaver Kuttuh, Technical Assistant, Rule of Law; Ife Adebayo SA, Innovation; Yussuf Ali, SA, Power regulations; Tola Asekun, SSA, National Boundary Commission; and Morakinyo Beckley, SA, Off grid power; Yosola Akinbi, SSA, NEC.
Others are; Tochi Nwachukwu, SA, Power Privatisation; Bode Gbore, SSA, Political; Abdulrahman Baffa Yola, SA, Political; Kolade Sofola, SA, Infrastructure; Ebi Awosika, STA, Community Engagement; Muyiwa Abiodun, SSA, Power; Forri Samson Banu, SA, Entrepreneurship; Bege Bala, SA, BPE, Feyishayo Aina, SA, Community engagement; Halima Bawa, SA, Community Engagement; Nkechi Chukwueke SA, Community engagement; and Ilsa Essien, SA, Media.