By Isiaka Wakili
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has described allegations of nepotism against him as unfair, untrue and laughable.
Osinbajo, through his Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Dr Bilkisu Saidu, dismissed comments credited one Ismaila Farouk about the recent appointments into some federal agencies and others in the Office of the Vice President.
Speaking on “Shirin Safe’’, an interview programme on BBC Hausa Radio, Saidu said the nepotism charges should not be taken seriously.
She said contrary to Farouk’s conclusions, most senior positions on the Vice President’s Office were held by Muslims including by individuals from the north.
“If you are talking about religion, the most senior official or position in the Office of the Vice President apart from the Vice President himself, is the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President and the name of the person occupying that office is Abdulrahman Ipaye and he is a Muslim.’’
“The positions following the Chief of Staff’s in the order of hierarchy are the Special Advisers in the office of the Vice President. Here there are three Special Advisers and two out of the three Special Advisers are Muslims, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Barrister Mariam Uwais from Kano State.
“A cursory look at the other senior positions in the Vice President’s office indicates that religious consideration was never a factor in the appointment of the officers, noting that If you look at the remaining senior positions in that office, most of them are in the hands of Muslims from the north. For instance the person in charge of Protocol (i.e. the Director of Protocol) is Ambassador Abdullahi Gwary from Yobe State; those in charge of welfare and health in the office of the Vice President are mostly Muslims and from the north.
“Worthy of note are the stewards, those who serve the Vice President’s meals, they are mostly Muslims, so what do the critics mean when they talk about religion,’’ she stated.
She argued that when “non-progressive minded people fail to win public support on their personal agenda they often resort to the use of religion given its sensitivity among Nigerians.
“When people lack what to use or have exhausted all avenues to speak evil against perceived opponents or ridicule the good works that they are doing, they resort to use of religion or other means possible to damage the image and reputation of that opponent.’’