Something definitely wrong with Vice-President Osinbajo’s office ― SMBLF

Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) on Sunday declared that something is definitely wrong with the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, following developments in the Presidency as regards the office in the past few days.

The group, therefore, demanded an explanation from the Presidency saying “if no such is forthcoming, his functions should be restored.”

This was just as the leaders in a release made available to newsmen in Lagos, contended that the virtual stripping of Osinbajo of most functions and responsibilities of his office by fiat does not correspond with the declaration of governors of All Progressives Congress (APC) that all was well at the seat of power in Abuja.

SMBLF, in a statement signed by Chief Edwin Clark for South-South, Pa Ayo Adebanjo (South- West), Chief John Nwodo (South-East) and Dr. Pogu Bitrus (Middle-Belt) and titled: “Rumble In Presidency: Need To Know,” affirmed that the office of the vice-president of Nigeria as of today was definitely not what it was two weeks ago, adding that something was definitely wrong even when they could not place their fingers on it yet.

“The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has followed with keen interest developments in the Presidency as regards the office of the vice-president in the past few days.

“The virtual stripping of the office of the VP of most functions and responsibilities, even some that are constitutional, by fiat does not correspond with the declaration of APC governors that all is well at the seat of power.

“The office of the vice-president today is definitely not what it was two weeks ago. Something is definitely wrong even when we cannot place our fingers on it yet,” the group said.

According to SMBLF, what must have accounted for this development is what it termed “the opaque handling of affairs of a supposed constitutional democracy and open society in a manner reminiscent of a kingdom where things are done according to the whims and caprices of the monarch,” but quickly said that the country “is a democracy and the people need to know the ways their lives are being run by those they have hired to do the job.”

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Speaking further, the leaders contended that the multi-ethnic nature of Nigeria and the geopolitical balancing of its presidency would make the kind of actions that had been taken against the office of Vice-President Osinbajo to attract the usual suspicion of the experiences of Rear-Admiral Ebitu Ukiwe and General Oladipo Diya, if there were no explanations to the public.

Both Ukiwe and Diya at one time or the other occupied the number two position under then military regime in the country.

“In this dispensation in particular, references would be made to the treatment of Justice Walter Onoghen, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita and now Prof. Osinbajo on one hand, and Mr. Abdulrsheed Maina of Pension Reform Task Force, Prof. Usman Yusuf of NHIS and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano on the other hand,” SMBLF said.

The group of leaders, while demanding for explanation on what was happening to Osinbajo from the Presidency, adding that “in order to preserve the unity of the country, therefore, we demand explanation on what is happening to Osinbajo from the Presidency and if no such is forthcoming, his functions should be restored,” the group said.

SMBLF said its attention had also been drawn to what it described as “unusual quiet from the Presidency on damaging allegations against the vice-president,” saying in any normal clime, it should not have taken more than a day for the Presidency to dispel the allegations to maintain Osinbajo’s moral standing and the integrity of the administration.

“We, therefore, demand a statement from the government on the weighty allegations or an investigation to be caused. We hold our breath until the public is properly briefed,” the leaders said.

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