Leaders from the Southern Regions and Middle Belt of Nigeria have demanded that the Federal Government should explain to Nigerians the reasons for stripping Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of some of his statutory responsibilities
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) in a statement on Sunday said it was following with keen interest developments in the presidency in the past few days.
In a statement yesterday, leaders of the forum, Chief Edwin Clark (South South); Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South West); Chief John Nwodo (South East) and Dr. Pogu Bitrus (Middle Belt) maintained that the alleged stripping of the office of the vice president of most functions and responsibilities did not correspond with the declaration of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) governors that “all is well at the seat of power.”
The leaders said: “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. And this is because of 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.”
The forum insisted that Nigeria is running a democracy where the people need to know the ways their lives are being run by those they have hired to do the job.
“Moreover, the multi-ethnic nature of Nigeria and the geo-political balancing of its presidency will make the kind of actions that have been taken against the office of the vice president to attract the usual suspicion of the experiences of the former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd), who was unceremoniously relieved of his job by former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda, and erstwhile Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya, who was arraigned for a phantom coup under the regime of the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, if there are no explanations to the public.”
The forum added that in this dispensation, in particular, references would be made to the treatment of the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; former Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo Ita; and now Osinbajo on one hand, and Mr. Abdulrsheed Maina of the Pension Reform Task Force, Prof Usman Yusuf of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State on the other hand.
“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 also expressed concern over the unusual silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the development.
“We have equally noticed the unusual quietness of the presidency on the damaging allegations against the vice president. In any normal clime, it should not have taken more than a day for the presidency to dispel the allegations to maintain the moral standing of Osinbajo and the integrity of the administration. We, therefore, demand a statement from the government on the weighty allegations or an investigation to be carried out. We hold our breath until the public is properly briefed.”