The presidency has broken its silence on why some aides of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo were asked to go.
The appointments of more than 30 aides of the nation’s number two citizen were terminated on Wednesday.
Some top aides of Osinbajo had refused to comment on the development, with Laolu Akande, spokesman of the vice-president, dismissing a list of the affected aides published on Thursday.
But in a statement on Friday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said President Muhammadu Buhari cut down the number of those working with his deputy to save the cost of governance.
“The Presidency wishes to confirm that there is, on-going, an unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the Second Term,” he said.
“The exercise, which has been ordered by the President, is to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of administration.
“It is also an appropriate response to the general perception that the Presidency has an oversized and bloated workforce which acts as a drag on efficiency.
“As may have been noticed by discerning members of the public, a number of political appointees among the few that served in the office of the President were not returned for the Second Term.
“The office of the Vice President, His Excellency Yemi Osinbajo has, in compliance with the directive of the President, equally been shed of a number of such appointees.”
It was gathered that Osinbajo alone had 89 aides – three times more than the president.
Most of them were engaged when the president was on sick leave in 2017 and Osinbajo was acting president, presidency sources said.
Shehu also denied reports on the rift between Buhari and Osinbajo, saying the relationship between the duo is cordial.
“The Presidency wishes to strongly deny rumours of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting. Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation,” he said.
“The media reports of a soured relationship are originating from the minds and mouths of mischief makers, who are desperate for entertaining stories from the Aso Rock Villa with which to titillate the public. This ulterior motive is the basis of the wrong interpretation given to the recent exercise in the Presidency.
“There has been a streamlining of staff going on for a while. The President has always had fewer staff than the Vice President, and there were always plans to reduce the number of staff at the Villa.
“The streamlining was not personal or targeted to undermine the Vice President’s office, as the so-called insider sources quoted by the media appear to make it seem.
“The President is in absolute control of his government. The media should stop attributing non-existent powers to some people. There cannot be anyone too powerful for President Buhari to control.”