Some appointments have been revoked at the Presidential Villa, the Presidency has confirmed.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement forwarded to Channels Television on Friday.
He noted that this was done in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, although he denied the reports of a rift between the President and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Shehu said, “The Presidency wishes to confirm that there is ongoing, 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overhaul of the nation’s seat of government, arising from which a number of political appointments have either been revoked or not renewed in the second term.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 Presidency wishes to strongly deny rumours of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.”
The presidential aide explained that the development was an exercise that has been ordered by the President to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities, and reduce the cost of administration.
According to him, 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.
“As may have been noticed by discerning members of the public, a number of political appointees among the few that served in the office of the President were not returned for the second term,” Shehu noted.
He added, “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.”
The President’s spokesman stressed that in carrying out the exercises, the overriding objective was to save taxpayers’ money and deliver the needed service to Nigerians.
He believes there is no scope for an excuse for the present administration after getting the mandate to run the country for another four years, as far as the President is concerned.
Contrary to reports of a rift between the first and second citizens, Shehu insisted that the relationship between the two leaders “remains excellent and trusting”.
“Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation,” he said.
The presidential aide, however, decried that reports of a soured relationship were originating from the minds and mouths of those he described as mischief-makers.
He alleged that there was an ulterior motive behind the reports, saying that was the basis of the wrong interpretation given to the recent exercise in the Presidency.
The President, according to his media aide, has always had fewer staff than the Vice President and there were always plans to reduce the number of staff at the Presidential Villa.
He stated that there has been a streamlining of staff going on for a while and the exercise was not personal.
Shehu insisted that the exercise was not targeted to undermine the Vice President’s office, as it was reported.
“The President is in absolute control of his government. There cannot be anyone too powerful for President Buhari to control,” he said.