After days of silence, the presidency has finally confirmed the massive sack of some presidential aides, including special advisers and personal assistants, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The media had been agog with reports that over 30 aides in the office of the vice president were recently laid off by President Buhari.
The reports had fueled speculations of alleged rift between the president and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo.
But speaking in statement on Friday, the presidency dismissed the reports of rift between Buhari and Osinbajo as “originating from the minds and mouths of mischief makers.”
While confirming that some presidential aides were laid off, Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, denied reports that the lay off was due to a rift.
The presidency said it “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overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the Second Term.
“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.”
Shehu also said a number of political aides that served directly under Buhari during the first term were not returned for the second term.
He said contrary to reports that sack of Osinbajo’s aides was aimed at whittling the vice president’s powers, “the overriding objective is to save taxpayer money and deliver needed service to the public.”
Shehu said, “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.
“In carrying out these exercises, the overriding objective is to save taxpayer money and deliver needed service to the public. As far as the President is concerned, there is no scope for an excuse for administration after getting a huge mandate to run the country for four more years.”
The presidency stressed that there was no rift between the president and his vice, saying “The relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting. Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation.
“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.”