All may not be well with the ‘ad-hoc’ cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari as fillers from the Presidency indicate an unhealthy power tussle between an elected member of the President’s cabinet, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and an unofficial one in the person of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
A few weeks back, our investigations reveal, the tension between Osinbanjo and El Rufai came to a head when Governor El Rufai insulted the Vice President in meeting in the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, and Osinbajo reacted by denouncing El Rufai and walking out of the meeting, which had President Buhari presiding.
According to inside presidential sources, El-Rufai is widely regarded as the unofficial vice president in the Buhari administration. A top source within the Buhari government, who spoke with The Trent on condition of anonymity disclosed that “Buhari prefers to have a fellow Northerner as his right-hand man. He did so as military head of state and is uneasy with Osinbajo who is (Bola) Tinubu’s boy,” the source revealed.
“As you know, if the position of veepee was appointed and not elected, Buhari would never have appointed a Southerner, a Christian for that matter to be his VP,” the source explained further. “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 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.”
Further investigations reveal that the Kaduna Governor and other Northerners in Buhari’s kitchen cabinet have little regard for Vice President Osinbajo. Behind close doors, they dismiss him disdainfully as “Tinubu’s puppet”.
Osinbajo Pushed to The Wall
An informed source in the Presidency narrated a disturbing incident to our reporter, which happened a few weeks ago.
He words: “So, it happened that in a meeting of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet in Aso Rock, Governor El Rufai in trying to disagree with Osinbajo’s contribution raised his voice and insulted the VP in the meeting. To everybody’s surprise, Osinbajo 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.’
“Osinbajo, then, stormed out of the meeting angrily, leaving the President and others present stunned.
Still not done, El Rufai who was ruffled by the unexpected action of the veepee told President Buhari, ‘If he had respect for you, he would not have walked out on you.’
“Mr. President responded coldly and quietly as the scene unfolded, and was mute as Governor El Rufai tried to deflect blame for what happened.
“When Buhari remained silent and said nothing after the childish outburst by El Rufai, everyone got the message that the meeting would not continue without Osinbajo. Some people excused themselves to go to Osinbajo to beg him to come back to the meeting. Osinbajo, reportedly, told the peace-makers he would not return to the meeting unless El Rufai came and apologised to him.
“El Rufai sat quietly after Buhari’s rebuff, feeling like an overzealous son whose father was displeased with. That was how the meeting ended. At some point, a visibly angry Buhari also stormed out of the room, leaving El Rufai with egg on his face.
“All is not well in Buhari’s kitchen cabinet. El Rufai has been uninvited from Buhari’s meetings since that incident”, the source concluded.
Source: The Trent