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Thursday, 13 July 2017

What Buhari, Osinbajo Discussed In London

The visit paid by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to President Muhammadu Buhari in London may not be unconnected with a number of issues cropping up in the seat of power, sources close to the presidency told Daily Trust last night.

The sources told our reporters that there are much more to the visit than Osinbajo’s nice comments about Buhari recuperating fast, that he still has his wits about him and he will soon return.

One of the sources said there is a latent division in the presidency between those loyal to Buhari and those loyal to the acting president.

The source said it appeared “some people are over-stepping their boundaries.”

It was also gathered that there were issues related to the 2017 budget, and how it was distorted or skewed in favour of certain sections.

“There are also issues concerning the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, cabinet reshuffle, the fate of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke who have been  on suspension for months,the NHIS man and all that. But generally, I believe the visit was to somehow douse tension.

“Again, all this may be speculative in the end. But I know for sure there are issues and there’s a division,” the source said.

Another source said the visit might be to prove to Osinbajo that nobody was trying to hide anything pertaining the president’s health to him.

The source added that there appears to be “silent division” in the presidency and that based on observations, the relationship between the president and the acting president’s staff is not as cordial as it used to be.

Some of the president’s men are said not to be happy with the way Osinbajo has been taking some decisions and dealing with matters.

“Based on our observations, there are issues and there appears to be a division, though it’s not pronounced. We also think that the relationship is not that cordial any more.

“Another thing about the visit I believe was to assure the acting president that the president is recuperating fast and that he’s not kept in the dark. Remember we have a history, so they want to avoid the mistake of the past.

“Some people are also not happy with some of the changes the acting president did. For example, some of the president’s men were not comfortable with the changes in PenCom and Bank of Industry,” the source said.

Asked if it is true that some appointees do not give Osinbajo due respect, our source said: “I don’t think that’s the case. I know the man. He’s a very humble person. He’s not power-drunk to the extent that he’ll expect too much respect from anybody. In any case, I don’t see anybody disrespecting him.”

Osinbajo said this yesterday while speaking with State House correspondents on the outcome of his meeting with President Buhari in the United Kingdom Tuesday night.

Asked what exactly he discussed with Buhari, Osinbajo said he went to check on the president, find out how he was doing and brief him on the developments in Nigeria.

The acting president stressed that the president was in a very high spirit, recuperating fast and would return to Nigeria very shortly.

Osinbajo said he had a very long conversation with the president and that he was even back to his normal humorous disposition.

“Well, first, as you know, I went to see him, I went to check on him find out how he was doing. I had, of course, been speaking with on the phone and I thought it would be a good thing to go and see him and, you know, generally check up on how he was doing and also to brief him on developments back at home.

“So, we had a very good time, we had a very good conversation on wide ranging issues and he is in very good spirits, he is recuperating very quickly and he is doing very well,” the acting president stated.

On Buhari’s state of health, Osinbajo said: “Well, as I have said, he is in very high spirits, he is recuperating very well and we had a very long conversation, we spoke for well over an hour and his humor is all there. He is doing well and he is recuperating fast.”

Asked when the president due back home, the acting president responded: “I think very very shortly. Very shortly. I think we should really expect him back very shortly. Like I said, he is recuperating very fast and he is doing very very well.”

On whether Buhari will return home before 90 days of his departure for London, Osinbajo said it is not a good thing to give such a deadline.

“No no. Deadlines aren’t a very good thing, but as I said, he is recuperating fast, we are expecting him very shortly much sooner than you will expect,” he said.

Osinbajo disclosed that he did not have any date in mind for the inauguration of the two new ministers-designate, Stephen Ocheni (Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan (Gombe).

The acting president also stressed that he was not in a position to say anything about when they would be sworn in.

He, however, said he was sure that they would be sworn in very soon.

Osinbajo said he and President Buhari did not discuss anything like the swearing-in of the ministers-designate.

Ocheni and Hassan were confirmed by the Senate over two months ago. Ocheni is to replace the late former Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi; while Hassan is to replace Amina Mohammed who resigned as Minister of Environment to become the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General.

“No! We didn’t discuss swearing or anything like that,” the acting president told journalists yesterday.

Asked when they will be sworn in, he said:  “Well, I’m not in a position to say anything. I don’t have a date in mind, but I am sure, very, very soon, we will do that.”

Osinbajo said he could not go into the specifics of all his discussions with Buhari, saying “wide ranging issues, I really can’t go into specifics of all of the discussions we had.”

He was answering a question on whether he and Buhari discussed the decision to be taken on the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

A presidential panel, headed by Osinbajo, had in April investigated Babachir for alleged violations of law and due process in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North-East; and Oke, for the $43.4m stashed away at a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The three-man panel was believed to have submitted the report of its two-week investigations to President Muhammadu Buhari before he travelled to the United Kingdom.

Source: https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/what-buhari-osinbajo-discussed-in-london/205253.html

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