The Presidency on Monday said it was wrong for anybody to be claiming that the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, had been performing better than President Muhammadu Buhari since the President started his extended medical vacation.
It said Osinbajo “still consults with Buhari on major national issues” on a regular basis.
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, said this in an interview with State House correspondents.
While describing those behind the argument as thoughtless, Ojudu described it as a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary division in the Presidency.
He said the President and Osinbajo had a joint ticket and they were both elected based on the manifesto of the party which they had been implementing since their inauguration.
The presidential aide said, “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.
“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.
“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. They are the ones promoting this kindý of divisive tendencies.”
When asked to say specifically if Osinbajo had been consulting Buhari before taking the decisions he had taken so far, he said, “He consults with him almost on a daily basis, yes.”
“ Well, there are things he still needs to consult the President on. I mean it is not a regular thing but he still has to consult Mr. President on major decisions. The President is still the President,” he added.
When asked if such consultation was not an indication that Osinbajo was not really in charge despite being the Acting President, Ojudu said, “He (Osinbajo) 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 is one and the same.
“He (Buhari) 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 an opinion? That does not mean he is not in charge.”
Ojudu further explained that once somebody like Osinbajo was given a responsibility, he must be able to show to the President that despite his absence, there was no vacuum.
While insisting that opposition members were the one behind the insinuations, Ojudu said such statements were sent out intentionally to cause division within the Presidency.
“Some people are trying to promote division and we are not going to allow that. This President and the Vice-President worked together in tandem and I know they both have confidence in this nation,” he added.
The presidential aide also faulted claim that Buhari was poisoned.