The Presidency on Friday confirmed viral reports that 35 aides of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had been fired by President Muhammad Buhari who is away on a ‘private visit’ to London.
WuzupNigeria reports that Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, had earlier debunked the report in a tweet via his verified Twitter handle on Thursday evening.
The Presidency has, however, confirmed the report but said it is part of an “on-going overhaul in the seat of government”
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said some appointments were revoked while the appointments of some officials that served in Buhari’s first tenure had not been renewed.
The exercise, according to Shehu, has been ordered by Buhari, “contrary to media reports claiming that the president was not in the picture”.
The statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, said:
“The exercise is meant 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, Yemi Osinbajo has, in compliance with the directive of the President, equally been shed of a number of such appointees,” the presidential aide added.
He maintained that in carrying out the exercises, the overriding objective was to save taxpayers money and deliver needed service to the public.
Shehu dismissed media reports alleging a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying that the report originated from mischief-makers.
“The relationship between the two leaders remains excellent. 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.”
He further explained that the streamlining of staff had been on for a while, adding that the President had always had fewer staff than the Vice President.
“The streamlining is not personal or targeted to undermine the Vice President’s office. 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,” the statement declared.