The presidency has waved aside claims that a certain cabal had taken over the presidential villa, sidelining the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo since the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from London.
While revealing that Osinbajo remains Buhari’s closest confidant, the presidency described the allegation as a recycled hate campaign.
This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
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.”
Garba further explained that every memo, statement, speech brought to his principal was subject to his (Garba) intense scrutiny, right down to the placement of commas and full stops.
Adding, he said, “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.
The President’s special assistant noted that there have been attacks on Malam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President, adding 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.
According to Garba, Kyari plays the role of liaising with ministries and parastatals so that he can have 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.”