Aides of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who were recently relieved of their duties by the presidency, have lamented the injustice meted out to them by some powerful forces working for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Some of the affected aides who spoke with Daily Independent on Tuesday said they had suffered physical, emotional, financial and psychological trauma by their sack which, they believed, was done without President Buhari’s knowledge.
Speaking with our correspondent, one of the affected aides who didn’t want his name in print, said he was given the appointment in August this year and was told to report in the vice president’s office.
They also attributed their sack to intense rivalry and power play in the presidency. He said he had to resign from his job, leave his base in Lagos, and relocate to Abuja in order to take up the appointment.
“We were actually issued a sack letter but we refused to accept the letter which was given to us after the president had gone for vacation. We all believed it was done without the knowledge of the president.
“I was among the aides who were appointed in August. Later we were told there are no vacancies in the Villa so were posted to various ministries where our experiences will be needed.
“I was posted to a ministry (name withheld) and I was accepted there. I was already settling down only for me to hear that we have been relieved of our jobs.
“Contrary to rumours out there that we were sacked because there were no spaces in the ministries, many of us had already been accepted. We believe it (the sack) has political undertones.
“When I got this appointment, I had to resign from my job and move to Abuja. Since I came here, I have spent millions of naira on hotel bills, transportation and other expenses.
“I have been ridiculed by some friends who are wondering why I was offered an appointment in August only to be sacked in November of the same year without committing any infractions.
“I have since returned to my base in Lagos because it is of no use staying back in Abuja. Hotels in Abuja are very expensive and cost of living is very high. I will only return after the issue has been resolved.
“I am a staunch member of the APC and I worked vigorously for the success of the party in 2015 and the 2019 general elections. This is definitely not a good way to reward me,” he said.
Speaking in a similar vein, another female aide whose appointment was also terminated, said she went through the same harrowing experience too as her business suffered during the period she was in Abuja.
She was, however, optimistic that the vice-president would sort out the issue with the president and that they would be recalled.
“There is still light at the end of the tunnel. The president may be right when he said we were not sacked but redeployed to other ministries.
“That was what happened before he left the country. But after that a powerful person in the presidency issued us sack letters. We believe the vice president is on top of the situation.
“For me, I was highly disappointed and traumatized. Imagine my name being circulated in the media that I was sacked a month after I got an appointment for committing no offence.
“I have also spent a lot of money while my businesses have suffered since I moved to Abuja. Many of us believe that justice will prevail in the end.”
Shortly after he returned from his private visit to London, President Muhammadu Buhari explained why 35 of Osinbajo’s aides were sacked.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, shortly after his arrival from London on Friday night, President Buhari described as unfortunate the rumour that the aides were sacked due to political and ethnic reasons.
“They said 35 people were sacked in the vice president’s office. We just created some ministries and we reorganized and people are giving it ethnic and political dimensions. It is unfortunate,” he said.
Also, the presidency, in a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said an unprecedented overhaul of the nation’s seat of government was ongoing and had resulted in a number of political appointments either revoked or not renewed in Buhari’s second term.
The exercise, which, according to him, was ordered by the president, was meant to streamline decision-making, cut down multiple authorities and reduce the high cost of administering the nation.
“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,” he had said.
He had added: “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.
“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.
“In carrying out these exercises, the overriding objective is to save taxpayer money and deliver needed service to the public.
“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.”
On the alleged rift between the two top citizens, he said: “In the light of this, the presidency wishes to strongly deny rumours of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“The relationship between the two leaders remains excellent and trusting. Together, they will script a glorious future for the nation.
“The media reports of a soured relationship are originating from the minds and mouths of mischief-makers, who are desperate for entertaining stories from the Aso Rock Villa with which to titillate the public.”