In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, on Friday, the presidency said that Buhari ordered the cut down of multiple authorities to reduce the cost of administration.
The Presidency explained that the exercise was not peculiar to the office of Osinbajo as it also affected the office of the president himself, the overriding objective was to save taxpayer money and deliver needed service to the public.
Shehu also denied that there was a rift between President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, noting that it was mischief makers that were spreading reports of non-existing feud between the duo. The statement reads:
“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overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the Second Term.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.”
KanyiDaily had reported that there seems to be a frosty relationship between the president and his deputy since the beginning of their second term in office, with Buhari transferring some agencies under Osinbajo’s control to either his office or some ministries.
This development comes admit outrage among Nigerians over Buhari’s decision to assent to the bill to amend the deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contract act from London where he is on a “private visit”.
Buhari had previously asked Osinbajo to seek presidential approvals for agencies under his supervision and also moved the National Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) from the vice-president’s office to a new ministry.