More reasons have surfaced as to why President Muhammadu Buhari disbanded the economic team, headed by his deputy, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
A source in the Presidential Villa confided in Punch that members of the cabal in the Presidency were bitter about the roles played by the Vice-President, when he stood in for Buhari, when the latter went on medical leave.
The source cited the emergence of Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of the Federation and the removal of Lawal Daura as the Director-General of the Department of State Services on August 7, 2018 as two of their grievances against Osinbajo.
Buhari had on November 10, 2016 sworn in Onnoghen in acting capacity despite the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, which stated that he should be appointed as Chief Justice of Nigeria being the most senior justice of the Supreme Court.
The President did not forward Onnoghen’s name to the Senate for consideration despite public outcry.
Recall that it was Osinbajo, who acted as President, during Buhari’s absence from the country, that forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the Senate on February 7, 2017 and swore him in on March 7, 2017
Also, the Federal Government had on January 15, 2019 arraigned the ex-CJN before the Code of Conduct Tribunal .
But Osinbajo had during a conference of the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, claimed Buhari was not aware of Oongohen’s trial until Saturday, January 12.
The Vice-President, who at the event, expressed misgiving about the trial of Onnoghen and other judges, had said, “It has consequences such as we have today, such that people say how can such an important person be subjected to trial without the Federal Government.”
He had also said Buhari believed that there should not be interference by the executive in other organs of government. But the President did not wait for Onnoghen’s trial at the CCT to be concluded before suspending him on January 25.
Justifying his action, Buhari had said, “Although the allegations in the petition are grievous enough in themselves, the security agencies have since then traced other suspicious transactions running into millions of dollars to the CJN’s personal accounts, all undeclared or improperly declared as required by law.”
Also, Osinbajo, when he was acting President, removed Daura, as the director-general of the DSS on August 7, 2018 and appointed Matthew Seiyefa, who was kicked out by Buhari in September of the same year.
The source, who confided in one of our correspondents, attributed Osinbajo’s travails to the roles he played in Onnoghen’s issue and Daura’s removal. The source said, “The VP underestimated the level of vindictiveness some of these people have towards him.
“They accused Osinbajo of sidelining them when he took critical decisions during Buhari’s medical leave. If you remember, there was a lot of drama surrounding the confirmation hearing of (Walter) Onoghen and the removal of Daura.
“They were also not happy about the issue of the presidential panel on recovery of public assets. Obono-Obla developed a life of his own in handling the assignment given to him. They thought the VP was supposed to have checked him.