Presidency Confirms Sack Of Osinbajo’s Aides, Gives Reasons

N5.8bn Approval: Reps Insist Osinbajo Has Questions To Answer
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (file)

 

 

The Presidency has confirmed the sack of some political appointees in the office of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, gave reasons for the action in a statement on Friday.

The statement came amid reports that dozens of persons appointed in the office of the Vice President have been relieved of their duties.

The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was reported to have distributed letters to the affected aides on Wednesday.

Professor Osinbajo is said to have scores of aides deployed in strategic positions in government such as the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).

READ ALSOOverhaul Of Nigeria’s Seat Of Government Ongoing – Presidency

Barely two days after the news of the sack surfaced, Mr Shehu confirmed that there has been “a streamlining of staff” going on for a while.

The President, according to him, had always had fewer staff than the Vice President and there were always plans to reduce the number of staff at the Aso Villa.

The presidential aide said, “The Presidency wishes to confirm that there is, on-going, an unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the second term.”

Shehu explained that the exercise to relieve the appointees of their duties was in line with the directive of the President, adding that a number of political appointees among the few that served in President Muhammadu Buhari’s office were not returned for the second term.

According to him, the exercise aims to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of running the present administration.

“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 taxpayer money and deliver needed service to the public,” the presidential aide added.

He, however, denied reports of a rift between the President and the Vice President, stressing that the exercise was not targeted to undermine Professor Osinbajo’s office.

Read the full statement below:

BUHARI, OSINBAJO WILL, TOGETHER, SCRIPT A GLORIOUS FUTURE FOR NIGERIA

The Presidency wishes to confirm that there is, on-going, an unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the Second Term.

The exercise, which has been 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 taxpayer 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 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.

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.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media and Publicity)

November 8, 2019

Overhaul Of Nigeria’s Seat Of Government Ongoing – Presidency

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

 

 

Some appointments have been revoked at the Presidential Villa, the Presidency has confirmed.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement forwarded to Channels Television on Friday.

He noted that this was done in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, although he denied the reports of a rift between the President and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Shehu said, “The Presidency wishes to confirm that there is ongoing, an unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the second term.

“The Presidency wishes to strongly deny rumours of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.”

READ ALSO: Presidency Confirms Sack Of Osinbajo’s Aides, Gives Reasons

The presidential aide explained that the development was an exercise that has been ordered by the President to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities, and reduce the cost of administration.

According to him, 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,” Shehu noted.

He added, “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.”

 

An Excellent Relationship?

The President’s spokesman stressed that in carrying out the exercises, the overriding objective was to save taxpayers’ money and deliver the needed service to Nigerians.

He believes there is no scope for an excuse for the present administration after getting the mandate to run the country for another four years, as far as the President is concerned.

Contrary to reports of a rift between the first and second citizens, Shehu insisted that the relationship between the two leaders “remains excellent and trusting”.

“Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation,” he said.

The presidential aide, however, decried that reports of a soured relationship were originating from the minds and mouths of those he described as mischief-makers.

He alleged that there was an ulterior motive behind the reports, saying that was the basis of the wrong interpretation given to the recent exercise in the Presidency.

The President, according to his media aide, has always had fewer staff than the Vice President and there were always plans to reduce the number of staff at the Presidential Villa.

He stated that there has been a streamlining of staff going on for a while and the exercise was not personal.

Shehu insisted that the exercise was not targeted to undermine the Vice President’s office, as it was reported.

“The President is in absolute control of his government. There cannot be anyone too powerful for President Buhari to control,” he said.

No Misunderstanding Between Buhari And Osinbajo – Presidency

 

The Presidency has debunked reports of a misunderstanding between the Office of the President and the Vice President.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters Senator Babajide Omowurare made this clarification while briefing journalists at the National Assembly.

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs Bill Amending Deep Offshore Act

Responding to critics who have questioned President Buhari’s decision to sign the amended deep offshore Act in London, Senator Omowurare insisted that the constitution permits the President to work from anywhere.

He explains that the scenario is different from that of former President Umaru YarAdua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan where the former was at the time unable to discharge his duties because of ill health.

He was however silent on why the President did not transmit a letter to the National Assembly, handing over responsibilities to the Vice President.

States, Communities Frustrating FG Projects – Presidency

Presidency, BBOG

 

The Presidency has faulted some state governments and communities for allegedly frustrating projects of the Federal Government in the country.

In a statement on Saturday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, it warned against creating unnecessary impediments in the allocation of land or access to such lands for federal projects.

It added that the Federal Government might be forced to re-allocate the projects elsewhere from communities or states where such challenges occur.

“The idea of chasing away contractors on site or making undue demands from them by local communities or the deliberate actions of state governments to frustrate the allocation of lands for federal projects is an antithesis of the people’s welfare,” the statement quoted President Muhammadu Buhari as saying.

READ ALSO: Kogi Deputy Governor’s Impeachment, A Grave Constitutional Violation – PDP

In a recent directive, the Presidency said President Buhari asked his ministers to have the states clear all lingering land issues threatening federal projects under their supervision or have such projects moved to willing states where that becomes impossible.

He regretted that some communities in the states were frustrating the siting of federal projects in their areas by making impossible demands for land compensation on contractors and even chasing them away from the site where they were unable to meet up.

The Presidency said to compound matters, contractors kept away from the site often make further demands on payment whenever they return to site.

It noted that the refusal to allocate lands for federal projects and the growing hostility by communities against contractors on site were hurting the interests of the people governments were elected to serve.

“By denying Federal Government lands for projects and creating unnecessary obstacles for the execution of these projects, it may be unfair to turn around and accuse the same Federal Government of marginalising people in terms of projects allocation,” the Presidency said.

It added, “When it comes to the welfare of the people, governments at all levels should be united by the common goal of improving the well-being of the people, regardless of political affiliation.”

According to the Presidency, it is impossible to spread Federal Government projects when petty demands or politics is allowed to override the higher interest of the people.

Channel N10billion Presidential Fund To Kogi Workers, PDP Tells NASS

Kola Ologbondiyan

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the National Assembly to invoke its statutory powers and directly channel the N10.069 billion Presidential funds for payment of salaries and pensions of suffering Kogi state workers.

According to the PDP, it is scandalous that the Presidency would seek to “mislead the National Assembly by asserting that the fund is for projects done by the state government on behalf of the Federal Government, when in reality no one can point to any such project executed by Governor Yahaya Bello in the last four years”.

In a communique signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP described the Presidency’s request as an endorsement of corruption and inexcusable injury to the people of Kogi state.

READ ALSO: Buhari Seeks Senate Approval To Refund Kogi Govt’s N10.06bn

The PDP held that if there are no intentions of pushing the fund to Governor Bello for anti-people purposes, the Presidency is challenged to name and point to the particular project executed by Governor Bello as well as make the terms and payment agreements public for Nigerians to see.

“If the Buhari Presidency means well for Kogi state, it should reword its request and put the interest of the masses ahead of all selfish and parochial political considerations, particularly as the state approaches a critical election in which the people have made up their minds to vote out Governor Yahaya Bello.

“Mr. President cannot claim to be unaware of the critical situation of workers in Kogi state. He cannot claim to be unaware that workers in Kogi state are being owed, in some cases up to 36 months, and that retirees and seniors are dying over non payments of their pensions after giving the best of their lives in public service.

“The PDP therefore urges President Buhari to resist attempts by his handlers and Governor Bello to drag his Presidency into this shameful attempt to steal fund that ought to go to the suffering masses in Kogi state,” the party stated.

Furthermore, the party charged the legislature to be on the side of the people by applying its legislative instruments to commence an immediate investigation into the “alleged squandering” of over N700 billion Kogi state funds by the Bello administration in the last four years.

The PDP also calls on the people of Kogi state as well as financial watch organizations to be at alert, monitor all disbursement of funds to Kogi state and ensure that Governor Bello and the APC do not achieve their aim of diverting the N10.069 billion for their selfish purposes.

Balarabe Wants Presidency Zoned To South-East In 2023

Former Governor Accuses Politicians Of Inciting Southern Kaduna Killings
A file photo of Mr Balarabe Musa.

 

 

A former governor of the old Kaduna State, Balarabe Musa, has proposed that the south-east region should produce the next president come 2023.

He explained that this was necessary to ensure equity, justice, and fairness among Nigerians and in the interest of the country in general.

Balarabe believes zoning the next presidency to the region will not only give the Igbos a sense of belonging in Nigeria but will also promote national unity and cohesion.

He suggested that when President Muhammad Buhari completes his term in 2023, it should be the turn of the south-east to produce the next president, irrespective of which political party it would come from.

According to the former governor, since the North, South-West and South-South have all had a shot at the presidency, it will be morally wrong if any of the zones contest the presidency in 2023 against the South-East that has not tasted power since the return to democracy in 1999.

He also stated that it would be selfish and unfair for any Northerner to aspire for the presidency after President Buhari completes his eight-year tenure.

Balarabe, however, decried that despite staying in power for too long, the North has remained the most underdeveloped region in the country.

He, therefore, urged political parties to consider picking their presidential candidates from the south-east in 2023.

The former governor warned that ruling the region out of presidency is capable of causing political unrest in the country.

Presidency Postpones FEC Meeting, Gives Reasons

FEC Approves Tax Information Exchange Between Nigeria, Others-FECCCCCCC
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the SGF, Boss Mustapha, at the FEC meeting in Abuja on July 4, 2018.

 

 

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting will not take place on Wednesday, the Presidency has said.

Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, announced this in a statement on Tuesday.

“This is due to the fact that all the memos earlier submitted to the Council for consideration have been returned to the various ministries.

“This action will allow ministers who were recently sworn in have their inputs in the memos sent by their predecessors in office,” he said.

READ ALSO: Killing Of Nigerians In South Africa ‘Absolutely Unacceptable’ – Osinbajo

The presidential aide explained that the postponement was also aimed at enabling the ministers still taking briefs from bureaucrats in their ministries and familiarising themselves with their workspace to have more time to contribute to discussions at the meeting.

According to him, the President’s cabinet members will also utilise the period of the break to work towards the early preparation and submission of the 2020 budget estimates.

Leah Sharibu Is Alive – Presidency

A file photo of Leah Sharibu.

 

 

The Presidency says Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl who was kidnapped by a faction of Boko Haram terrorists in February 2018, is alive.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, stated this while speaking to a group of journalists on Saturday in Abuja.

A year and six months after Leah was abducted from the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State, Shehu insisted that the Federal Government is making efforts to ensure her release from her captors.

He dismissed reports that the schoolgirl had been harmed by her abductors, noting that the Muhammadu Buhari administration would not give up on her safe return.

READ ALSO: Police Release 121 Jigawa Indigenes Arrested In Lagos

“Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors,” Shehu was quoted as saying in a statement.

He added, “Lines of communications remain open with the kidnappers, ISWA, to secure the release of Leah Sharibu.

“Contrary to false reports, she is alive – given assurances from our security agencies –, and the government is committed to her safe return, as well as all other hostages to their families.

“Kidnapping for ransom should never be encouraged. This means not capitulating to the demands of terrorists: refrain from rewarding their heinous crimes with payment.”

According to the presidential spokesman, the government understands how difficult these times are for Leah’s family and friends, with the abduction.

He, however, stated that the government was “pursuing many options” to ensure the safe return of the girls.

Shehu said, “We must commit to law and communication, using the breadth of strategies at our disposal: legal initiatives, stakeholder cooperation, involvement of all relevant parties, and the use of the latest hostage negotiation techniques.

”Kidnapping for ransom is rising across the Sahel. We must – collectively – make sure we implement best practice to prevent its exploitation.”

The President’s spokesman described reports of Leah’s death as ‘fake news’, and called for patience in dealing with the challenge the case poses.

He gave assurance that the present administration was fully conscious that any misstep on a delicate issue as such could be costly.

Roles Of Chief Of Staff, SGF Remain The Same – Garba Shehu

'It's Jealousy': Garba Shehu Faults PDP's Comments On Niger Governors’ Visit
A file photo of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

 

The Presidency has described as false, reports that the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff to the President and the Secretary-General of the Federation (SGF) have changed.

In a statement, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, maintained that under the Buhari II administration the role of Chief of Staff remains the same as it was under Buhari I.

According to him, the role of Chief of staff is to be an adviser to the President on any and all matters, as well as the line manager for all staff at the Presidential Villa.

Shehu said: “It is worth stressing that the role and responsibilities of the Chief of Staff and the method of communication and arranging scheduling between Cabinet members and the President are, in Nigeria, based on the US model, where the same system operates – and has done for decades – in precisely the same way.

“That role is to act as the head of the presidential administration at Aso Rock; to be an adviser to the President on any and all matters; to be the line manager for all staff at Aso Rock; and to manage appointments and scheduling for the President.

“In the traditional presidential system, it is a primary function of a Chief of Staff, which may vary according to the needs and desires of each President, to supervise key State House Staff, control access to the office and the person of the President, manage communications and information flow and this includes that which binds the relationship with the two other arms of government.

“During the President’s first term those were the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff, and they remain the same responsibilities today. There is no change”.

Mr Shehu also debunked reports that the ministers were being denied direct access to the president.

According to him, when President Buhari explained to ministers that they would be expected to communicate with him and arrange scheduling to meet with him primarily via the Chief of Staff, he did so because many of the Buhari (II) Cabinet ministerial appointments are new appointments and are therefore not expected to know how matters of liaising with the President operate.

“This is to stress that access to the President is open to ministers. It is not true that this is denied them in the Second Term.

“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the other hand is responsible for ensuring the effective coordination and monitoring of the implementation of government policies and programmes. All cabinet matters must go through him,” he said.

The Real Boko Haram We Know Is Defeated – Garba Shehu

'The Real Boko Haram We Know Is Defeated'
File photo.

 

 

The Presidency has insisted that the war against Boko Haram insurgency has been won, despite recent attacks by the insurgents in the North-East.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said this in a statement on Tuesday.

He said, “The position of the Nigerian government is that the Boko Haram terrorism has been degraded and defeated. The real Boko Haram we know is defeated.

“What we have now is a mixture of remnants of the Boko Haram, fugitive criminals, and the Islam in Maghreb together with West African terrorists bonding together.”

“This is a fall out of the collapse of the Libyan State, and from farther away, of the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. They are taking advantage of our porous Sahelian borders,” the presidential aide added.

He noted that the nation has witnessed an increase of trans-border crimes and the proliferation of small arms in the Lake Chad Basin area as a result of what he described as ‘these international gangs’.

According to Shehu, outrages are common in Niger, Mali, Chad, and Cameroon while Nigeria is a large country covering nearly one million square kilometres.

“This is roughly equivalent to the size of France and Germany put together. In addition to our porous borders, in the neighbouring Sahel-Sahara region, a lot of ungoverned areas provide haven for terrorists’ occupation and training.

“Without the tremendous efforts of our armed forces and the joint operations by the Nigeria-led Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF, formed by the countries of the Lake Chad Basin, this single problem of illegal arms flow would have been much worse,” he said.

READ ALSO: 65 Killed In Boko Haram Funeral Attack

The President’s spokesman insisted that the Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari has made the country safer than it met it.

He said Boko Haram terrorism was active in nearly half the number of states in the country in 2015 when his principal took power.

Shehu believes the terrorists controlled a territory the size of Belgium, with a flag and systems of administration and taxation of their own.

He added that emirs and chiefs had fled their domains along with hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, noting that such was no longer the case now.

The presidential aide said, “At present, terrorist activities have been confined to the remote, rural agrarian areas of Borno State and pockets of outrages in Adamawa and Yobe States.

“As the situation develops, our fantastic armed forces are changing their tactics. Just recently, they launched ‘Super Camps’. The essence of this is to act proactively and respond quickly to the changing nature of terrorism.

“In addition to the additional support the government of Nigeria is receiving from friendly countries across Europe, the United States and the Middle East, the Nigerian government is spending large sums of money in weapons procurement to keep our military in good fighting shape.

“While the military arsenal is not something you pay for and get, requiring mostly long-time orders, weapons will come in accordance with the terms of contracts.

“This country is expecting the commencement of the delivery of Super Tucano fighter jets, very effective in this kind of warfare, beginning next year from the United States.”

Shehu disclosed that the Buhari administration has embarked on an electronic and digital border monitoring scheme to curtail the porosity of the borders.

He also said working with the UN agencies, the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, donor agencies and friendly countries, the government has started providing solutions to backwardness in development and poverty in the sub-region.

According to the President’s spokesman, the very heart of recruitment schemes of the terrorists lies the issue of poverty.

He recalled that the present administration inaugurated the Northeast Development Commission a few weeks ago to fast track development and poverty eradication in the affected areas.

Shehu insisted that the Buhari administration was strongly encouraged by successes recorded so far by the military and the MNJTF.

He said the government was optimistic that the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) terrorism be defeated.

Presidency Clarifies Position On IMN

 

The Presidency says proscription of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has nothing to do with banning the larger numbers of peaceful and law-abiding Shiites in the country from practicing their religion, instead, it was to discourage wanton violence, murder and willful destruction of public and private property.

The Presidency explains that contrary to the claim by IMN that it had been banned from practicing its religion, President Buhari’s administration has not banned Shiites from observing their five daily prayers and going to Mecca to perform the Holy pilgrimage.

“Their position is blatantly false and deceptive,” Garba Shehu said in a statement on Sunday.

According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President, the IMN is deliberately changing the narrative in order to gain sympathy and divert the attention of the world from its terrorist activities, including attacking soldiers, killing policemen and a youth corps member, destroying government ambulances and public property, consistently defying the authority of the state.

READ ALSO: Proscription Of IMN Is ‘Immoral And Illegal’ – Falana

The statement adds that the banned organization was taken over by extremists who didn’t believe in peaceful protests and instead employed violence and arson, driving fear and undermining the rights of others and constituted authority.

The Presidency says it agrees that the constitution protects freedom of worship, but not to the detriment of the society, especially where such freedom harms others, and breaks law and order.

The Presidency insists that such criminal behavior and disregard for rights of others and human life will not be tolerated by any responsible government, explaining that everywhere in the world protesters operate within legal boundaries and conduct themselves peacefully without molesting others, or engaging in murder and killing of security personnel or destroying public and private property.

Garba Shehu’s communique further states that the Presidency regrets that despite all efforts by the government and other well-meaning Nigerians to make the IMN militants to see reason and abandon violence, such appeals fell on deaf ears as they killed, maimed and destroyed willfully, constituting a daily nuisance to workers, commuters and other innocent citizens.

The statement adds that having defied appeals to operate peacefully, and given their seeming determination to destabilize the country, the government had to act before the situation goes out of control, after admonishing many times over that people should not use religion to perpetuate lawlessness.

“We are fighting lawlessness and criminality and not pursuing a policy of discrimination against any group.

“You cannot be in court while at the same time engaging in violent protests, molesting people and inflicting pains on others, which includes taking innocent lives,” the Presidency stressed.

Presidency Reacts To Video Of Aid Workers Pleading For Rescue

Presidency Reacts To Video Of Aid Workers Pleading For Rescue

 

The Presidency has reacted to a viral video showing a female aid worker and five male colleagues kidnapped by insurgents in Nigeria’s north-east region.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said the victims’ abductors were being engaged.

According to an aid group, Action Against Hunger, one of its staff members along with three health workers and two drivers were missing after their convoy was attacked on Thursday last week.

READ ALSO: Kidnapped Aid Workers Plead For Rescue In New Video

In the three-minute video, the woman said she was the abducted aid worker and identified the five others with her as her colleagues.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Mr Shehu said the Presidency was aware of the video while they were assured that the captors were being talked to.

He explained that apart from the victims who appeared in the video, the engagement also covered the release of Leah Sharibu, the abducted Dapchi schoolgirl, as well as a religious leader among others.

The presidential aide, however, noted that the video would make the government step up its effort at ensuring that the abducted persons regain their freedom.

Read his tweets below: