By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Wednesday Presidency said that recent attempts allegedly geared at smearing the person of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will not distract him from empowering and protecting Nigerians in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Presidency according to the Special Assistant on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu accused the opposition of making efforts to smear the Vice President.
Ojudu said, “Recent desperate attempts to smear the person and reputation of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will not deter or distract him or the Buhari administration from the work of protecting and empowering every Nigerian.”
He said the recent NEMA probe report which social media account say may have been outlined at that meeting in a foreign country, was one of such efforts plotted to attack the Buhari administration by tarnishing the image of the Vice President.
According to him, “We have read reports in the media that the meeting in a foreign country of the major opposition party was centered on trying to attack the Buhari administration by targeting the Vice President using different tactics.
“It is now evident through the NEMA report, that the opposition is indeed making frantic efforts to tarnish the image of the Vice President.”
He explained that even after Hon. Ali Isa, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness had publicly admitted that the Vice President was not mentioned in the report, the opposition still found it expedient to continue, baselessly, to attack the reputation of Prof. Osinbajo by claiming without proof or evidence that fraud was committed in the N5.8b Emergency Food Intervention Fund for North-East.
Giving more insights on the issue, Sen. Ojudu said, contrary to insinuations in some quarters, there were no violations in approval of N5.8b Emergency Food Intervention Fund for North-East and the then Acting President did no wrong in approving fund for the emergency intervention.
He said that the presidential approvals were well within the clear constitutional authority of the then Acting President.
“First of all, the action was in response to the threat of hunger and starvation based on strong warning received from the United Nation World Food Programme in April, 2017. The organization had issued a warning that it would be reducing its vital support to about 1.8 million IDPs by as much as 85%, due to the corresponding reduction in funding by the donor countries.
“Around the same time, the United Nations Commission for Refugees in Geneva also warned of the growing risk of mass deaths from starvation among people living in the conflict areas.
“Secondly, it is also important to note that the procurement process was not ignored in the release of funds, as alleged. Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act makes provision for emergency procurement, in which case the procuring entity is allowed to engage in direct contracting for goods and file a report thereafter with the Bureau of Public Procurement.
“Also, the BPP issued a ‘certificate of no objection’ to NEMA on the emergency procurement, and this addresses all issues relating to the alleged breach of due process,” Sen. Ojudu said.
The presidential aide said the action of the opposition in the ensuing political drama indicates that the NEMA probe report is being politicized and only a lame attempt at ruining the good works of the Buhari administration.
He said the Vice President will however not be distracted by the naysayers’ actions to discourage the Buhari administration from providing for the common man or to abandon the Social Investment Programme which it has budgeted half a trillion for in the past two years.
He said that the administration will continue to cater for Nigerians especially those at the bottom of the ladder, regardless of the antics of the opposition party.
“We know what is happening, but the administration will not be distracted. Our goals and objectives to put Nigeria on the solid path of greatness is now unstoppable and Prof. Osinbajo will not relent in that effort,” he said