The simmering battle of a clique in the Presidency against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has generated more reactions with the Association of Middle Belt Ethnic Nationalities (ASOMBEN) calling on him to speak out and clear all doubts and speculations about his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari.
But disturbed by the silence from Osinbajo over the perceived siege under which he had been put, the Middle Belt body implored him to break his silence, particularly against the background of the confirmation of the sack of 35 of his aides by President Buhari.
The body noted that the development around the perceived frosty relationship between the duo was beginning to heat up the polity and create needless tension.
Speaking with Sunday Tribune in Jos, the Plateau State, the National Secretary of ASOMBEN, Reverend James Pam, who observed that the functions of the vice-president were shrinking at every interval, lamented that the crisis had taken the centre stage, when there ought to be proper coordination and synergy in addressing the ailing economy.
“The ordinary man, who voted for All Progressives Congress (APC) because of the vice-president, is getting confused on a daily basis. Presidency seems to be reducing his functions. He was the chairman of the economic team in the first four years of the government. He has been removed from the position because the president has formed another economic team.
“Also, he was the chairman of a programme called Food Sufficiency and also in charge of National Livestock Transformation Plan and tactically removed as well. All of a sudden, 35 of his aides were sacked. The question is: did they inform him before they were sacked? Up till now, he has not spoken. There are lots of contradictions. There is the need for explanation,” he stated.
Reverend Pam, who was speaking on behalf of the ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt region, expressed the displeasure of Nigerians over the incident.
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“Nigerians are not satisfied with the explanation coming from the spokesperson of the president, Mr Garba Shehu, either the president or his vice should speak out to calm the polity. The president should explain to Nigerians why the functions of the vice-president are being reduced.
Reeling off instances where the vice-president’s office had been relegated, Pam said further:”Definitely, there is something wrong. I suspect all is not well. They reduced the aides when the president is not in the country. Also, when the president was traveling out on a private visit, which would last for two weeks, no letter was transmitted to the National Assembly for the vice-president to act in his absence.
“Also, when there was the need for the president to sign a document, the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, flew to London with the document for the president to sign. The pictures were taken and circulated. In short, the vice-president is not acting. Nigerians are suspecting that things are not normal and this is heating up the polity and causing suspicion,” he said.
Pam said the continuous denial by spokesperson of the president would not help the situation, asking rather that Professor Osinbajo should clear the air on all these issues.
“We in ASOMBEN will not advise Vice-President Osinbajo to resign too quickly, but he should be the one to clear the air not Garba Shehu,” he said.