There are indications that there is a cold war within President Buhari’s ‘adhoc’ cabinet. Sources close to the presidency say that a rift of power exists between an elected member of Buhari’s cabinet and an unofficial member.
The sources specifically say that the unhealthy power tussle is between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and, an unofficial one, in the person of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state.
Osinbanjo and El-Rufai got to logger heads, when the governor insulted the vice president at a meeting at the presidential villa, Aso Rock.
In a reaction to the insult, Osinbajo rebuked El-Rufai and walked out of the meeting, which President Buhari was presiding.
There are speculations that El-Rufai is widely regarded as the unofficial vice president in the Buhari administration. Anonymous sources within the Buhari administration told reporters that Buhari prefers to have ‘a fellow Northerner’ as his right-hand man.
The sources allege that Buhari did the same as the military head of state, adding that the president is uneasy with Prof Osinbajo who has been tagged “Tinubu’s boy“.
They claim that if it were in the powers of the president to appoint a vice, then certainly he would not have picked the professor as his running mate.
One source said: “The President, clearly, prefers and places more trust on El-Rufai as far as matters of governance are concerned. El-Rufai has played a key role in some of the president’s appointments. He nominated Amina Bala Zakari for appointment as the acting INEC chairman, forcing Buhari to go against Jega’s earlier decision and planted his chief of staff, who is also the founder of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, Hadiza Bala Usman inside President Buhari’s recently constituted anti-corruption advisory committee.”
There are various online reports and speculations that Osinbajo is not regarded by El-Rufai and many other northerners within Buhari’s adhoc cabinet. They believe that the vice president is ‘just a puppet in Tinubu’s hands’.
According to a source that spoke, an incident which took place few weeks ago buttress the fact that Nigeria’s vice president is looked down upon within the administration.
The source revealed that at a meeting in Aso Rock, Governor El-Rufai, in disagreeing with Osinbajo’s notion, raised his voice and insulted the VP. Osinbajo reportedly got upset, told El-Rufai off and told the president:
“I am an elected Vice President of this country, I will not sit here while an ordinary governor insults me in your presence. I deserve some respect.” Having said that, Osinbajo, allegedly stormed out of the meeting in rage, leaving Buhari and others present shocked.
The Kaduna governor reportedly condemned the behaviour of the vice president, demanded that Buhari did something about the disrespectful act.
However, the president in his gracefulness is said to have reacted calmly as to still the brewing tension. The source said there were emissaries sent to appease Osinbajo, but the VP would not return to the meeting unless El-Rufai rendered an apology.
As of the time of filing this report, there is still no information on the reconciliation between the two.
More details from this investigation can be found here.
However, after the reports on alleged rivalry between Osinbajo and Nasir El-Rufai emerged, Kaduna state governor hurried to debunk them on social media. He tweeted a photo with Osinbajo showing clearly there’s no rivalry between him and Osinbajo.
He also reposted a long article by Yomi Ewetade on his Facebook account, blasting the report about alleged rivalry as false.
“TheTrentOnline completely fabricates scenarios that is not known to truth,” claims Ewetade in his article, adding “not only that, the website makes references to previously baseless claims that have been conclusively rebutted and dismissed, ignoring the very basic ethical commitment to truth of a journalist and a media outlet.”
Meanwhile, Governor El-Rufai on Wednesday, September 16, did something that some deemed highly controversial. He ordered the shutting down of four Christian institutions, all located in Saminaka, Lere local government area of the state.
The governor, however, defended the action, stating that he shut the churches down in order to guide against violence among factions of the congregations whose leaderships’ positions sees as “principally to preserve their personal interests with little concern for the common good, and the peace and security of Kaduna state”.