No Aso Villa Cabal Has Sidelin­ed Osinbajo – Presidency Replies Punch

Whatapp News

ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Presidency has refuted the alleg­ation by Punch newsp­aper in which the ne­wspaper carried a st­ory saying that Vice President Yemi Osin­bajo has been sideli­ned following the re­turn of President Mu­hamadu Buhari from medical vacation.

The Presidency respo­nded in a statement issued on Sunday by Malam Shehu Garba, Special Assistant to the President on Med­ia and Publicity.

The full statement reads:

RE: BUHARI’S RETURN:­ ASO VILLA CABAL STAG­ES A COMEBACK, SIDEL­INES OSINBAJO- A REC­YCLED HATE CAMPAIGN

Over the past few mo­nths, some media org­anisations have publ­ished 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 the­se hardworking peopl­e.

As the good Nigerian public can 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. Howe­ver, in the process of advancing their suspicious anti-Buhari agenda, whoever is behind these allega­tions knowingly or unknowingly has cast some of the most rid­iculous aspersions on President Buhari’s competence as a lea­der of a great count­ry.

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. Every mem­o, statement, speech, 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.

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But, of course, the President cannot do everything. He cann­ot micromanage every task. That is why he needs close offici­als, whom he trusts, who will be willing to offend others in the process of ensu­ring his own safety and wellbeing, and the advancement of his vision for Nigeria.

The attacks on Malam Abba Kyari, the Chi­ef of Staff to the President, COS have been leveled with such imperiousness that they must no longer be laughed off as crazy. The COS is like the headman of all the President’s pol­itical appointees. He has direct respon­sibility for multiple levels of staff wo­rking for the Presid­ent. Part of his 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. 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 centres here. The only power centre is that of the President who is sensitive to grassroots level administration which the Chief of Staff must ensure.

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For Abba Kyari, the­re is no life after work. He is available to the President 24/7.

President Buhari is working day and night to steer Nigeria through these trying times. There are imp­ortant issues in the hand of government such as poverty redu­ction, turning around the economy, creat­ing jobs, fighting corruption and terror­ism, railway, agricu­lture, roads, power and rural and urban development that the­re simply is not eno­ugh time to be spent answering baseless allegations in the media. As he builds a new foundation from the mess left behind by previous irresp­onsible governments, the President cannot do it alone. He needs the absolute lo­yalty of his COS, he needs the acumen of government official­s, he needs the cour­age and understanding of the Nigerian pe­ople, and he needs the support of instit­utions such as the media.

Publishing poorly-re­searched allegations and trying to pass them off as investig­ative journalism or as news may lead to more newspaper sales or to more clicks on a website; but they will also, in the long run, slow down the growth and devel­opment of our countr­y, which right now requires the absolute focus of President Buhari and his caref­ully-selected team to build the Nigeria of our dreams.

Unfortunately, this is the path The Punch has chosen and the­re’s no one to help them but themselves.

It is appropriate at this point to dispel the false notion that anyone has tried to undermine the Vi­ce President when he acted in the absence of the President.

This, I must say with all emphasis, is utter falsehood.

As Acting President, Vice President Osin­bajo enjoyed the sup­port of the Villa St­aff and the entire cabinet. Otherwise he would not have succ­eeded and earn the praises of the Presid­ent. These are just a few among the false and illogical accu­sations making the COS larger than life, with the aim of pul­ling him down. No Ch­ief of Staff includi­ng this one can crea­te hurdles for a pre­sident and survive the next day. The rol­es and duties don’t warrant the kind of falsehood being spre­ad.

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When the President was away on the medic­al vacation, the Chi­ef of Staff rallied the Presidency behind Professor Osinbajo because he knew that his boss, Preside­nt Buhari expected nothing less.

A careful assessment of some these alleg­ations with a ration­al mind will show th­at there is an orche­strated campaign to smear the COS and in­directly the President.

If I can speculate on the matter, I will say that the problem Malam Abba Kyari has with most people is that he, like the President he serves, will not throw mon­ey at people in order to please them.

As COS, Malam has re­fused to keep cash imprest and has turned down a monthly gra­nt of N200 million customarily given to the office. This is money freely spent because they were not required to account for what they did with it.

Journalists with que­stions to ask concer­ning the President and the Villa adminis­tration are please welcome approach both the Special Adviser, Femi Adesina, Laolu Akande or myself. Where we don’t have your answers, we are ready to obtain as much as we can, the correct responses to your enquiry.

GARBA SHEHU

SSA (Media and Publi­city).

State House,

ABUJA.

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