Nigerian government on Friday has said it sacked some aides of the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, in an attempt to “streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the cost of administration.”
“The overriding objective is to save taxpayer money and deliver the needed service to the public,” a presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Shehu said the Office of the Vice President, shed of a number of such appointees, in compliance with the directive of the president.
He said president has always had a 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,” Shehu said.
The government’s clarification comes after several media and critics claimed the relationship between the President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice is acrimonious.
But Shehu said the “relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting” adding that the rift rumours are originating from the “minds and mouths of mischief makers.”
The relationship between Nigeria’s first two men have been a subject of controversies.
There are unconfirmed allegations that the president is trying to silent his vice-president and also sideline him from the team of men making crucial decisions about governance.
In September, there were unconfirmed reports predicting that Osinbajo may be impeached and be replaced with a popular pastor from the Southwest.
However, the presidency has always denied any rift between the president and vice president. In fact, President Buhari had vaunted the relationship he has with Osinbajo.
But critics believed his public proclamations were a mere lip service and insisted that a powerful bloc led by Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari has sidelined the vice president.