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Events at the Villa

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has handled the development at the Villa maturely. He has tried to allay the fear of any disagreement in the Presidency and to assure the nation that all is well. There is no way the press statements emanating from the Presidency signed by Femi Adesina, the spokesman of President Buhari would not be unsettling to the discerning.

What has led to the feeling of uneasiness would seem to be in the drafting of the statement. The statement announced was silent on the position of the Vice President with regard to the National Economic Council which is an assigned role by the constitution for the Vice President. Just a sentence stating that the position of the Vice President as chair is unaffected by these changes would have calmed frayed nerves. State governors and the governor of Central Bank are members of this body. Since the statement has generated dusts, the Presidency ought to have swiftly issued a statement clarifying the issue. Laolu Akande’s statement was in order, but it was not the same thing with Femi Adesina issuing a clarification.

According to press reports, the Presidency announced the replacement of the Economic Management Team which the Vice-President chairs with Economic Advisory Council to be headed by Professor Doyin Salami. The Salami Council will be reporting directly to the President. Then came another statement this time announcing the dissolution of the Special presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) as currently constituted by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla as chairman.

The statement also reads in part: “The panel was established in August 2017 by the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to investigate specifically mandated cases of corruption, abuse of office and similar offences by public officers.”

Even if the President had good reasons to dissolve the panel on account of possible conflict with EFFC and ICPC job description, as well as the query on the integrity of the panel’s chairman, it deepens the unease to add that “the panel was established in August 2017 by the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.” That was superfluous. What information value is the backgrounding supposed to serve? The media should have been left to do the backgrounding themselves.Coming from the Presidency, it is bound to generate insinuations and the discerning looking over and beyond the shoulders to conclude that the Vice-President may have been moved, indeed, to a position of executive joblessness. However, the world is, without doubt, watching the unfolding.


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Yemi Osinbajo
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