The presidency yesterday refuted allegation that a cabal at the presidential villa has sidelined Vice President Yemi Osinbajo since the return of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Responding to report containing the allegation on a national daily (not LEADERSHIP) titled, ‘Buhari’s return: Aso Rock cabal stages a comeback, sidelines Osinbajo’, the presidency described the story as a recycled hate campaign.
In a statement by senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the presidency regretted that over the past few months, some media organizations had been publishing a stream of allegations against some persons around the president, attributing them to “persistent rumors and speculations”, with no other objective but to generate hatred and disgust against the hardworking people in the villa.
He said as the good Nigerian public could imagine, little time would be left for other tasks more beneficial to the entire nation, if the presidency were to respond to every single fable published by the free Nigerian press.
He, however, said in the process of advancing their suspicious anti-Buhari agenda, those behind these allegations knowingly or unknowingly have cast some of the most ridiculous aspersions on President Buhari’s competence as a leader of a great country.
He said “To begin with, it is absolutely nonsensical and absurd to write that in one week of the President’s return, the Vice President has been sidelined. Quite to the contrary, the Vice President remains the confidante and the closest adviser to the President.
“He has attended all the President’s engagements all through the week with the exception of two: one, the VP was away to Taraba State and two, the Juma’at Muslim prayer because he is a Christian.
“It is difficult to understand what anyone wants to achieve peddling such falsehood that the President, himself a former military general and Head of State and Commander-In-Chief is subject to undue influence and manipulation. It is both ridiculous and inconceivable.
“As someone who works very closely with President Buhari, I can testify to how my years of experience as a newspaper editor are often put to the test by the sheer thoroughness with which the President edits every single document brought to his desk”.
Explaining further, the presidential spokesman noted that every memo, statement, speech brought to the president is subject to his intense scrutiny, right down to the placement of commas and full stops.
“Therefore, alleging that President Buhari signs memos brought to him by government officials or a so-called cabal without reading them, immediately casts doubts on the credibility of the ubiquitous unnamed sources that the reporters of these articles quote”, he added.
He however added that the president cannot do everything and cannot micromanage every task, which is why he needs close officials, whom he trusts and who will be willing to offend others in the process of ensuring his own safety and wellbeing, as well as the advancement of his vision for Nigeria.
Shehu observed that the attacks on Malam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President, have been leveled with such imperiousness that they must no longer be laughed off as crazy.
He pointed out that the CoS is like the headman of all the president’s political appointees as he has direct responsibility for multiple levels of staff working for the president.
He explained that part of Kyari’s role includes liaising with ministries and parastatals so that he can have a full awareness of the issues being discussed whenever these groups meet with the president.
Shehu continued: “It goes without saying that anybody who occupies such office has impeccable credentials of total loyalty to the President. Clearly, some consider this oversight role as a usurping of the President’s powers, and it is their misunderstanding of the situation that some media organisations have swallowed hook, line and sinker.
“Under this administration, as the ones before it, the office of the Chief of Staff is a branch of the President’s office. There are no power centers here. The only power center is that of the President who is sensitive to grassroots level administration which the Chief of Staff must ensure. For Abba kyari, there is no life after work. He is available to the President 24/7”.