Osinbajo remains Buhari’s closest adviser, confidante – Presidency

President Muhammdu Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the FEC meeting on the 22nd of March 2017
[Photo Credit: Novo Isioro]
President Muhammdu Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the FEC meeting on the 22nd of March 2017
[Photo Credit: Novo Isioro]

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, remains the closest adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari and is not fenced by any ‘cabal’, the presidency has said.

The presidency was reacting to a newspaper report on Sunday that following the return of Mr. Buhari after a 103-day medical vacation in London, the ‘cabal’ had staged a comeback, which culminated in the purported sidelining of Mr. Osinbajo.

The ‘cabal’ is a term used to refer to a group around the president which is believed to wield enormous powers.

But the presidency, in a statement by Garba Shehu on Sunday evening, described the report as untrue, ascribing it to “‘persistent rumours and speculations,’ with no other objective but to generate hatred and disgust against these hardworking people.”
“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,” Mr. Shehu said.

“Quite to the contrary, the Vice President remains the confidante and the closest adviser to the President.”

Mr. Shehu also hinted that the Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari, has refused to collect a monthly N200 million his predecessors were used to.

“This is money freely spent because they were not required to account for what they did with it,” he said.

Read Mr. Shehu’s full statement below.

Over the past few months, some media organizations have published a stream of allegations against some persons around the President attributing them to “persistent rumours 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.

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 levelled 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.

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 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 the 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.

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.


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  • Kekedu

    Punch needs to stay afloat hence they copy Vanguard’s style of pandering to wailers.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      To their eternal shame and loss of credibility.

  • share Idea

    When a germane issues are raised against this government, they bring up mundane point to distract the gullible.

    Just because of the allegations of cabal undermining the VP, Garba rushed to tell us how Abba Kayari have rejected collecting monthly imprest of 200M naira which he is not meant to be accounted for. This same government have been smearing last administration for some transactions carried out by Dasuki from security Votes that does require detailed accounting (conventional accounting)

  • Otile

    Of course Osinbajo is far more intelligent than all those Lair Mohammed, Garba Shehu, Babachir, Daura dunces. Nigeria was manageable when Buhari was on treatment abroad. Since he came back there has been tension, confusion, acrimony and disorder. Since a fat rat chased him out of his overall office things have been going sixies and sevens.

  • tundemash

    And Shehu, you are responding to a story credited to the usual “unknown sources” within the Presidency ? Do you not have better things to do than respond to stories written just to make the teeming online e-rats happy ??

    • Opekete

      Unfortunately that is part of his job.

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        Sadly true.

  • Mufu Ola

    Some editors & reporters are very gullible & outright unintelligent. Reading that report in PUNCH, my 1st reaction was how quickly could this imaginary cabal sideline somebody who had been acting for 3months plus & was profusely praised by d President just 48hours earlier.Like d American higher institutions, philosophy which comprises logic should be made compulsory in journalism training in Nigeria.

    • tundemash

      They know the e-rats would believe anything thrown at them.

  • marcos avelino

    A good rejoinder to the wicked lies been spread by a sectional media used to bribes in the billions like what thisday nduka used to get from his blackmails.Keep the good defense up mr Garba

    • Facturas & Figuras

      @marcosavelino:disqus

      COST OF LIVING IN NIGERIA TODAY UNDER BUHARI/OSINBAJO REGIME:

      • Minimum wage in Nigeria………………………………………….₦18,000 per month.
      • A bottle of Coca Cola soft drink…………………………………₦80.00k per bottle.
      • Smallest can of Baygon insecticide………………………..₦1,200 per tin.
      • A tin of TITUS sardines……………………………………………₦270.00 per tin.
      • Rent of three bedroom apartment…………………………₦450,000 per annum.
      • A packet of St.Louis Sugar………………………………………₦550.00 per packet.
      • A 25kg bag of garri as staple food………………………..₦14,000 per bag.
      • Petrol for six hours of private electricity…………………..₦60,000 a month.
      • Cost of preparing soup for family of six…………………..₦6,000 every two days.
      • Ceeway drinking water ………………………………………₦550 per gallon.
      • School fees for a child in private school………………….₦2 million per session.
      • Cost of two (2) newspapers a day for information……….₦15,000 per month.
      • One packet of Solpadeine headache tablets……………..₦5,400 per packet.
      • Cost of filling up a salon car with petrol……………………..₦10,700 to fill up a car.
      • Private sector graduate starting salary………………………₦80,000 per month.

      • Godday Osamoh

        @mufuola:disqus

        Ordinary Nigerians outside government should have some sense. The people
        of Nigeria have no dog in this fight. Those fighting themselves inside the Aso
        Villa presidential lodge are either billionaires or about to become billionaires. It
        is thus silly for any Nigerian to be looking for whom to support in a meaningless
        fight amongst power maniacs who cannot articulate and execute any beneficial
        policy in the national interest since May 29th 2015.

        History will ask
        those who voted Muhamadu Buhari if they meant well for their own posterity,
        even if they did not care for their country. Nothing in Buhari’s latest bio-data
        as an Islamist Jihadist sued to court over a yet unseen Gce/Wasc certificate,
        suggested he was not going to destroy the country with ignorance before the
        presidential election of 2015.

        As indeed he did.
        Within one year Muhamadu Buhari’s brainless policy tipped Nigeria into the
        worst ongoing economic recession for 22 months running – marked by 28 million
        un-employed youths. If Yemi Osinbajo was not side-lined before now it means he
        is as dim as Muhamadu Buhari and both men should get the blame for destroying
        Nigeria as it is.

        • No Komment

          @igho_d_amazing:disqus

          “There is clearly a damage to the President’s office — ‘office’ here
          being the honour and prestige that should normally be commanded by the
          President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But it can’t be blamed on rats.
          Instead, blame it on the President, a public official who continues to handle
          his health with privacy. Blame it, one more time, on a President who cannot
          touch his own men regardless of the scale of embarrassment they cause the
          country. We’ve been there before. When Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech was
          plagiarised in Buhari’s ‘Change Begins with Me’ speech in 2016, the President
          vowed to punish ‘those responsible”. Eleven months after, the presidency has
          not named — much less shame — the “deputy director” being touted to have “taken
          responsibility”. The ridicule that has recently been brought to the office of
          the President is monumental. To parody the title of the legendary Ola Rotimi’s
          most famous book, the rats are not to blame. The occupant of the office and his
          aides are the chief culprits”.

          .……………..Fisayo Soyombo

          (August 28th, 2017)

        • Aso Rock Pikin (A.S.P)

          @igho_d_amazing:disqus

          EVERYTHING THAT
          CAN BE DONE SHOULD BE DONE TO KEEP BUHARI AWAY FROM PUBLIC VIEW BECAUSE HIS
          SLOVEN PRESENCE ALONE IS BEGINNING TO IRRITATE AND ANNOY NIGERIANS WHO ARE
          ASHAMED THAT SUCH A CREATURE IS THEIR COUNTRY’S PRESIDENT. IF THIS IRRITATION
          IS FURTHER PROVOKED IT COULD SPLLL OVER INTO RIOTS.

  • Igho D Amazing

    Nigeria is a failed state.. A country where its busiest airport is a shame, what else do we expect from such a country? It saddens my heart to see all these wicked vultures treat us this way!

  • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

    The punch newspaper is the mouth piece of the corrupt elites with which they divide the poor among themselves for easy manipulations, and divde the good elites and the good poors. What a shame to the Nigeria journalists. A Jonathan that nearly wrecked Nigeria,was suddenly made a hero just because money suddenly exchange hands among the Nigeria media,prints and electronics, what a shame. A philosopher once said “if you read the news papers you are misinformed, if you don’t read them,you are not informed”

  • MilitaryPolice01

    Kay my brother, I know you to be reasonably objective unlike many rigid riffraff’s that will say the color of the sky is black as long as APC is involved. Brother do you really think Punch concocted the story ? do you really think there is no cabal controlling the President, do you really think Prof had it smooth over the last 103 days without any deliberate frustrations?

    If there is anyone not to be taken seriously, it is one who was bold enough to tell the world that his principal had to leave his office for his home because of a rat infestation. Come on bro, we are well traveled, learned, exposed – let us reject the backward ways/mindset of these people with a more progressive and civilized narrative.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Bruv, the story about the “cabal” has always been around. It is mostly ignored or accepted as a fringe story without an existing shred of evidence.

      However, what The Punch dished out yesterday was worse than a garment made out of cobwebs.

      Personally, I don’t think anyone is controlling, or can, the President. No, it is an impossibility or is it “imposican’t”?

      I can only conjecture, given the role of the CoS, that the post holder is in a position to influence which matters eventually gets to the table of the President. The President, naturally, will deal with those issues, most likely, in concert with his close confidants, which will include Prof. Osinbajo. The other times he may deviate from this path would be when the Prof brings his own concerns directly. Naturally, I won’t expect this to be all the time so as not to cause undue friction and distractions.

      Please don’t forget, I do not speak authoritatively on this subject.

      But let’s assume for a moment that there is indeed a “controlling cabal” as painted by The Punch, it is very belittling to all mentioned, that such an ‘ascendancy’ could be achieved in such a week.

      Expect a retraction and rejoinder from Punch very soon. That gibberish was far below its own level.

    • Chin Ce

      Bro, you forgot another clanger, ala Garuba: that Buhari as president is better editor journalist than he was in his hey days. Talk about knowing where to place the commas and full stops. Nigerians in politics are useless.

  • aboki

    Nigerian journalists with their junk journalism to attract readers.
    Just one week of PMB return you people have started your ill wishes and motives by this kind of fabrications. It’s too early to notice what you guys are claiming.
    Must there be rancor and tension between PMB and his VP?
    What do you want to drive or achieve with such negative publications ?
    Nigeria we hail thee!

  • MilitaryPolice01

    No worries bruh, I say it as I observe.

    Regards

  • dx

    What else do you expect from a tribe of Mumuwoles? Were Abubakar Shekau to run for president I wouldn’t be surprised just like many discerning peoples of the countries in Nigeria to see a Yoruba man or possibly any so called self ascribing professor to stand behind him as a running mate. The mumuwoles would do everything for the Hausa Fulani. Their so called Army Generals like Oladipo Diya, Abdulkareem Adisa & Co all knelt down to cry and beg Sani Abacha and even a much younger lower ranked officer (Mustapha) at different times during Abacha’s reigh. We saw Bola Tinubu go to Kaduna in 2012 to prostrate in that infamous photo, for Buhari even before AD merged with other parties to form APC.

  • Sanssouci

    Bros Kay long time, I agree with @MilitaryPolice01:disqus you are one of the very few Buharists worth arguing with, you and I well know at most Punch is guilty perhaps of embellishing or exaggerating but it is not totally crap, I leave you with just 3 questions as regards Garba Shehu’s ripost
    1) Is it also because Abba Kyari refused to splash cash on Aisha Buhari that resulted in her indiscretions to the BBC last year?
    2) The bilateral mutual assistance agreement with the UAE that had been ready for the president’s signature for a while was one of his first orders of duty, given its critical importance to the agenda of this Administration , why didn’t Malami take it to Osinbajo for signature, if truly “we are all one big family”?
    3)Do you know that Garba Shehu himself said the president rebuked a high ranking official that went to London to meet Buhari straight for a signature, that is in stark contrast with the statement that Abba Kyari “Rallied everyone around Osibanjo”.

    • MilitaryPolice01

      Brotherly, hope you are well and had a good weekend. How did you find the Scarramucci’s communication model I sent.

      • Sanssouci

        Thanks! It was even beyond what I even thought! That u can show up for a job with such a detailed plan of action proves that POTUS lost a potential huge hitter. I hope Garba Shehu & Femi Adesina will have a look

        • MilitaryPolice01

          No I doubt they will, they belong to the analogue age

  • wode

    Ordinarily, I would have said that Mr Garba Shehu’s meticulous and detailed response to this rumor, which didn’t just start today, is needless. However, given the source where it’s irresponsibly coming from at this moment and the fact that many gullible Nigerians would have given in to the divisive conjectures, hence the understanding of the response. Mr Shehu should not however expect this to douse such paranoid inclination from the architect of frivolous claims.

    It should be noted that, there are some people that are definitely uncomfortable with the President being there, either due to the fear of the consequence of their past or that of other sentimental considerations. They would go any mile to discredit the President and his government and above all cause disunity between the two topmost citizens. Certainly, these are the same set of people that didn’t expect the President back on his seat after the long vacation. Now that God has disgraced them and seeing that the PMB is fully back, the next thing is to throw media arsenals to fight their malicious and mischievous war. They should list how many of the past Presidents or Governors that gave their deputies the level of latitude that this VP is enjoying. True to his word, Mr President has demonstrated, so far, that he can work with anyone. Thanks to the VP who has shown uncommon loyalty and has not disappointed the constituency that he represents.

    • Julius

      wow, well stated and well done !. THank you.

  • FirecloudOFGOD

    Do not say I told you!

    “There are some shady characters whom nobody elected.”

    @@@ What is new? Nigerians have known that always! There are also some characters who crossed carpet, slept in a small car overnight for them to be elected!

    “Mamman Daura has never been elected into any office in his life.”

    @@@ Otio, Mio tigbo (That is not true, I have not heard you) This is his time.

    “As I speak, the man does not hold any piece of paper indicating that he has held any position.
    But he is more powerful than Buhari.”

    @@@ Really? Tell me more!

    “He is effectively in charge of the country, under the presidency. This is a scandal, and if Buhari doesn’t see this as a scandal, it’s a shame.”

    No, No, No! Buhari is still in charge. Did you not hear about the days of hyena and jackals will soon come to an end. Wait till after Sallah!

  • forestgee

    CABAL struggling to protect themselves from the wrath of the public