ACTING President Yemi Osinbajo usually consults President Muhammadu Buhari, his boss, on a daily basis before taking major decisions.
The Presidency disclosed this through Femi Ojodu, special adviser to the president on Political Affairs, in an interview with State House correspondents on Monday, February 27.
Osinbajo has been acting as president since January 19 when Buhari embarked on medical vacation in the United Kingdom. This has given some Nigerian critics the chance to rate the performance of Osinbajo higher than that of Buhari and even suggested that the president should stay away much longer.
But Ojodu described the comparison as thoughtless and a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary division. He said: “I think it is thoughtless. I also see it as a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary division. It is a joint ticket; the president and the vice president were elected based on the manifesto of the party and since they were sworn in they have been committed to implementing that manifesto.
“The same people who said we never had economic team, no policy, nothing, are the ones saying this. It is now that the policies we are implementing are maturing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person.
“I will give you an example. There is nothing that has been done since the vice president started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. A good example is the Niger Delta initiative. The president called the vice president and said I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta, meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefit of Nigerians.
“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day; all the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the President has said unless and until we resolve this problem, we will not get out of recession. The vice president took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta. It is the initiative of Mr. President not that of the Vice President.
“These are mischief makers, those who do not wish this country well, who are always promoting crisis, who will not allow the people to benefit from this democracy, are the ones promoting this kind of divisive tendencies.”
Besides, Ojudu said: “Almost on a daily basis, there are things he still needs to consult the president I mean it’s not a regular thing but major decisions he still has to consult Mr. President. The president is still the president.”
He insisted that Buhari is still in charge even while on medical vacation. “He is in charge but like I said earlier on, this is a joint ticket. The president of Nigeria remains the president of Nigeria. He is acting because it is one government and the same. He is more experienced, he has been in the game longer than the vice president and if there are major issues that he needs to take decision on, he could call on him and say, ‘sir, what do you think about this; we are about to take decision on it, do you have opinion?’ That does not mean he is not in charge,” Ojudu said
He added: “Again, one other thing you have to see is that if you give someone a responsibility, he must be able to show to Mr. President that despite that he is not around, it is not going to create any vacuum. He can then decide not to sleep at all, all through the time the president is away just to show him that he is capable of ensuring that Nigeria goes on well while he is away.
“And the president could also have given the mandate, let nothing go wrong, I believe in you, I appointed you as my vice president; you must make sure that you do this. If you have a boss who gives you an assignment you will want to impress him and Nigerians as well and that for me is what has happened. It is not that one person is better than the other; certainly not.”
According to him, those reports were aimed at causing division in the Presidency. He stressed that the Presidency would not allow those behind the reports to succeed.
“I’m telling you that I have seen some things sent out intentionally to cause some kind of division within the Presidency. Some people who have been condemning everybody in the past, I see them on twitter and on facebook and generally on social media. Some people are trying to promote division and we are not going to allow that.
“This president and vice president work together in tandem and I know they both have confidence in this nation,” he said.
Opposition politicians and some former officials of the previous administration, have been extolling Osinbajo, suggesting that the president could continue to stay away.
Among those in this group is Ben Murray-Bruce, a senator from Delta State, who said the acting president should “do away with the cabal around the president.”
— Feb 28, 2017 @ 14:20 GMT