The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Babajide Omoworare, has said President Muhammadu Buhari did not relegate Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by travelling without handing over to him.
He said this during a press briefing with journalists on Wednesday.
His comments come barely 24 hours after the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, said the president can rule the country from anywhere.
Mr Buhari is on a private two weeks visit to the UK. He did not hand over power to the Vice President before his trip, indicating he would continue to carry out presidential functions from the UK.
His Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, on Monday, flew to London to submit a new bill on offshore oil fields for his assent.
The action also sparked a debate among Nigerians, some of whom said it was embarrassing that the presidency would make a public show of relegating the vice-president.
Many Nigerians condemned the move, wondering why taxpayer’s funds would be used to fly Mr Kyari to London for a function that could have simply been ceded to the vice president.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported how Mr Kyari manipulated the president to sack the Vice President from the Ruga projects.
Addressing journalists with his colleague in the House of Representatives, Umar El-Yakub, Mr Omoworare said the president did not undermine the office of the Vice President.
He maintained that the president is free to perform his functions from anywhere in the world.
“Contrary to the claims by some individuals and groups, the President has not in any way undermined or relegated the office of the Vice President. He has no reason to do so.
“I don’t think there is any way or manner that the office of the Vice President has been relegated. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can work from anywhere he is in the world,” he said.
”The only case where people could raise issues is when a president is ill and was unable to communicate his absence to the National Assembly, he said.
On his part, Mr El-Yakub assured that the federal government is committed to transparency, accountability and preventing revenue leakages in government.
He said the partnership between the National Assembly and the Executive will ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill also receives the necessary importance it deserves from both parties.
For the proposed January-December budget cycle, he said it is not the cycle that will make the budget work but ensuring that there is timely releases and execution of projects.
“I have also mentioned the fact that part of the revenue that was drawn that goes into this budget and the finance has captured some of the revenues that we expect. I like to differ with you on the fact that the capital budget is being released.
“Mr President gave a directive that N600 billion be released so as to make the 40 per cent implementation of the capital budget. The Minister of Finance has disbursed this money and he is disbursing this money. The budget will work because it affords us proper planning,” he said.
He also said infrastructure projects have suffered before because budgets were signed towards the middle of the year.
“It is raining season and therefore they can’t even access the funds because the work cannot be done on major roads, bridges and even power projects.”