President Muhammadu Buhari has explained that 35 aides were not sacked from the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, but that they were redeployed to a new ministry.
The President, who fielded questions from NTA State House Correspondent at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, upon his return from a private visit from the United Kingdom described the interpretations of his directives as a sack as ‘unfortunate’.
The President described what happened as a re-organisation and not a sacking, stressing that, a new ministry has recently been created, that is, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“They said 35 people were sacked in the Vice President’s office but we just created a ministry and we reorganized but people are giving it an ethnic and political dimension. It is unfortunate,” the President said.
While media report had widely reported the sack of 35 aides, including the circulation of a list of those sacked, informed sources insisted that what the President directed was a redeployment and not a sack.
The President’s comment in the NTA interview last night on arrival from his UK private trip indicated that although some Presidential aides had confirmed the sacking of 35 aides, the President only gave express instructions for redeployment to ministries not sacking.
Meanwhile, President Buhari assured Nigerians that he was more energized and ready for work. “We are going to work harder to be accountable and try to make Nigerians see why we do certain things. Accountability from bottom to top is absolutely necessary,” he said.
Some people had falsely reported and claimed that President Buhari had sacked 35 aides in the Office of the Vice President to whittle down the powers and influence of the Vice President.
Some also claimed that the sacking of the 35 aides were to reduce the influence of the Vice President ahead of 2023 elections and were masterminded by a certain cabal with the Presidency.
The Presidency has however always maintained that the President and his deputy, Prof Osinbajo enjoy a very good relationship.
President Buhari explains reorganisation at Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari affirmed that the ongoing reorganisation at the presidency is aimed at enhancing service delivery to Nigerians.
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Saturday, said the president stated this when he fielded questions from State House Correspondents, shortly after his arrival from London on Friday night.
President Buhari said: “It is unfortunate that the recent disengagement of some political appointees from the presidency had been given ‘‘ethnic and political” interpretations.
‘‘They said 35 people were sacked in the Vice President’s office. We just created some ministries and we reorganised and people are giving it ethnic and political dimensions. It is unfortunate.”
Responding to a question on what next for his administration after a well-deserved rest in London, the President said: ‘‘we are going to work harder and be accountable.
“We have tried to make Nigerians understand why we do certain things. Accountability from bottom to top is absolutely necessary.
‘‘Whoever is responsible for government property, [should know] it is public property, it is not personal and he has to manage it according to the law.
‘‘That’s what I expect and I think that we have been around long enough to impress on people that we mean what we say.”