Comparing Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari, and concluding that Mr. Osinbajo is doing better as he acts on behalf of the president who travelled on medical leave, is mischievous, the presidency has said.
Mr. Buhari left Nigeria for the United Kingdom on January 19 for what was initially scheduled to be a 10-day medical leave, but later extended his stay indefinitely.
He transferred power to Mr. Osinbajo before traveling, plugging a potential power vacuum and constitutional crisis once witnessed when late President Umaru Yar’Adua travelled for treatment in 2009.
As acting president, Mr. Osinbajo has amongst other things, supervised the implementation of a new foreign exchange policy that has managed to strengthen a rapidly sliding naira.
The government has also announced a reduction in attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in recent weeks, cuts that follow Mr. Osinbajo’s tour of the Niger Delta and talks with community leaders.
Many Nigerians view those decisions as swift and firm, and have compared them with President Buhari’s often unhurried response to needling national problems.
But the president’s political adviser, Babafemi Ojudu, on Monday condemned the assessment, and said it was done by “mischief makers” whose intention is to cause disharmony in the presidency.
“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,” Mr. Ojudu told journalists. “They are the ones promoting this kind of divisive tendencies.”
Mr. Ojudu said all steps taken by Mr. Osinbajo were with the approval of Mr. Buhari.
“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 and meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefits 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 VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta, it is the initiative of Mr. President not that of the Vice-President.”
On the foreign exchange policy, Mr. Ojudu said claims of superior leadership capacity in favour of Mr. Osinbajo are touted by “The same people who said we never had economic team, no policy, nothing”.
“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,” he said.
Also, a lawmaker representing Kankia/Ingawa/Kusada Federal Constituency, Katsina State, Ahmad kaita, told PREMIUM TIMES that “baseless, ill-motivated” comparison of Messrs. Buhari and Osinbajo was capable of affecting Nigeria’s unity.
“It is one presidency; and whatever anybody does in this administration is to President Buhari’s credit,” said Mr. Kaita.
“Meanwhile, all we now see that means progress takes root from the time before the President travelled, with the two leaders working cordially for the good of the country based on the manifesto of our party, APC.”