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THE Presidency on Friday reacted to the report of dismissal of 35 aides in the office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbanjo, describing it as a directive by President, Muhammadu Buhari to reduce cost of governance.
“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overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the second term,” said Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity said in a statement.
“The exercise, which has been ordered by the President, is to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of administration.”
Shehu explained that the exercise was ordered by Buhari as a means of cutting down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of governance.
He added that the action was a response to a general perception that the Presidency has an oversized 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 stated.
According to him, the downsizing was not limited to the office of the Vice President alone, adding that a number of political appointees among the few that served in the office of the President were not also returned for the second term of the President.
He absolved the President of any moves to whittle down powers of the Vice President, saying both leaders were committed to restoring the lost glory of Nigeria.
“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.”
The President’s spokesperson also debunked reports of rift between the President and the Vice President, insisting that “the relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting.
“Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation,” he added.
“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.
He stated that the ulterior motive was 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,” he said.
“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.
Reacting to media reports that the President has lost the control of his office, Shehu said, “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.”
There have been media reports of how the Chief of Staff to the President, Aba Kyari has worked to erode the power of the Vice President.