The Office of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo denied on Tuesday that the VP often flouted due process, a reason President Muhammadu Buhari directed him to seek his approval before taking decisions on any agencies under his watch.
An online medium, TheCable, said on Tuesday that a Monday memo from Buhari to his deputy contained the directive and also suggested that during Buhari’s first term (2015-2019), the VP was known to subvert due process.
Incidentally, it was also on Monday that Buhari scrapped the Economic Management Team of his administration, hitherto chaired by Osinbajo.
In place of the EMT, Buhari named an Economic Advisory Council with Prof Doyin Salami as chairman.
It was unclear why the President dissolved the EMT and the State House statement by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, which conveyed the dissolution, did not say.
However, it said the EAC would report directly to Buhari, an indication that Osinbajo no longer has any role to play there.
Among the agencies under the VP’s watch are the National Emergency Management Agency; the National Boundary Commission; and the Border Communities Development Agency.
The VP chairs the Board of NEMA and others like the Niger Delta Power Holding Company.
However, Osinbajo’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, said the claim that the VP regularly flouted due process was “false.”
The VP’s office said the claim was intended to cause division in the Presidency by pitting Buhari against Osinbajo.
“This is obviously misleading and aims only to plant seeds of discord in the Presidency, while attempting to create unnecessary national hysteria.
“The agencies in question are established by law and the Vice-President has always insisted on due compliance with the enabling statutes and other established regulations.
“Depending on the particular scope of activity in question, agencies may require management’s approval only, at the level of the Director-General or Chief Executive Officer. In this category falls the majority of their day-to-day activities.
“However, other activities, or procurements, with value exceeding a certain threshold, require board approval. These may get to the agency board chaired by the Vice-President. In a few cases where Presidential approval is required, the Director-General must seek such approval from the President, through the Vice-President.”
Insisting that the VP never abused due process, his office pointed out that Buhari and Osinbajo had always enjoyed a mutual relationship.
“Even though the Vice-President has a statutory role as board chairman of some government agencies under his office, with appropriate approval limits, which often do not include contract approval; it is ludicrous to even insinuate that a board chairman approves contracts.
“Evidently, the Federal Executive Council, which oversees federal ministries and agencies of government, is chaired by the President, and it is in its purview to approve or ratify award of contracts within the prescribed threshold. “