…..Says Buhari never sacked VP’s aides
Mr Laolu Akande, the spokesperson of Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has constantly maintained a proper interaction with Nigerians in the implementation of its policies.
He added that the masses are being properly served through the numerous government programmes which remain a key strategy of the Buhari administration.
Mr. Akande made this assertion in Abuja on Thursday while speaking on a popular interactive radio programme tagged “Have Your Say”.
Speaking on how important feedback is to the administration, Mr. Akande said: “the whole idea of our partnership with FRCN to do this programme is what actually happened to Mr Alhassan. It is to bring governance to the people, and ensure that there is a constant interaction where we have feedback.
“To have ministers and heads of government agencies to come and speak to Nigerians, it was during one of such interactions on this programme that the FCT Minister of State, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, intervened to resolve a complaint that was brought to her attention. That is the real reason why we have this programme to encourage Nigerians to bring to us whatever feedback they have.”
On the reported sack of some aides in the Office of the Vice President as reported in some sections of the media sometime ago, Mr Akande said: “nobody in the Office of the Vice President was sacked.”
He added: “You will recall that Mr President was away when the incident occurred but when the President returned he clarified the issue and in fact, he ensured that the people who were affected by that move (which was supposed to be a deployment) never lost a day salary and he gave instructions that everybody kept their jobs, so it is not true that some people were sacked.”
On the management and distribution of palliatives to businesses and poor Nigerians, Mr Akande said it is being implemented across the country as fairly as possible.
According to him: “Let me say categorically that there is no such thing as selective sharing of palliatives by government, there is no such thing.
“The issue of the conditional cash transfers were also done fairly, we have the facts of this. We are targeting a specific category of people – the poorest of the poor and that is why Mr President directed that he wants to do one million more households and that is in progress across the country.”
Continuing on the distribution of palliatives, Mr Akande noted that, “I want to assure Nigerians that every one that is deserving of palliatives and have been targeted will be reached, if they have not been reached as at now, whether it is MSMEs or the poor people, it is the desire and plan of government that at a time such as this, people get the help that they need.
“A lot of what the Federal Government has been doing, working with the states has been to empower the MSMEs.”
Speaking on the synergy between the states through National Economic Council (NEC) and Federal Government, in the reopening of the economy, the VP spokesman said efforts are underway to ensure a smooth reopening of the economy.
He said: “The attempt is to ensure that going forward we can improve on coordination and synergy between what the Federal Government is doing and what the respective sub-nationals are also in terms of how to reopen the economy.
“NEC at its last meeting felt that the federation can do better if there is an official mechanism, an ongoing one that will be working with the Presidential Task Force that handles the Federal Government’s aspect of the COVID-19 response, particularly with the issue of reopening the economy.
“So, a group of Governors were picked from the various geo-political zones to ensure that whatever the Federal Government was doing, the states are aware and whatever the State governments plan to do, the Federal Government is aware and everybody work together.”
He, however, noted that a lot of caution is being taken in handling the issue of reopening the economy.
“This is something that has to be done with a lot of care and this is the stage where we are, the Presidential Task Force working with the governors, just to ensure that we do it right and put in the necessary precautions because safety must come first – wearing of the face masks, social distancing, washing of hands,” the VP spokesperson offered.
Mr. Akande added that the Vice President and the President have adapted to the changes in programmes and activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that both leaders have held several virtual meetings and interactions with different stakeholders since the lockdown began.