Why Abba Kyari supported Osinbajo in Buhari’s absence

by Alexander O. Onukwue


Contrary to the widespread speculation that a cabal was working against Yemi Osinbajo when he was Acting President, he received the support of the Aso Villa administrative machinery as organised under the leadership of Chief of Staff Abba Kyari.

This was contained in a corrective issued against The Punch by Mallam Garba Shehu in denouncing the idea of an isolated Vice President upon Buhari’s return. The Presidential spokesman said the allegations that Osinbajo had been sidelined in Buhari’s first week after his return was “absolutely nonsensical and absurd”. This according to the senior special assistant is because even in Buhari’s absence, Osinbajo always had the support he needed.

“When the President was away on the medical vacation, the Chief of Staff rallied the Presidency behind Professor Osinbajo because he knew that his boss, President Buhari expected nothing less.”

It was constantly a news topic that Mr Kyari, who does not speak in the media, had been shielding the President from regular contact with those who were in Nigeria, including the Acting President. However, if Mallam Shehu’s statement is to be believed, it should imply that there was no rift after all.

But then, is the reason given for the Chief of Staff’s submission of the Aso Rock staff and service machinery to the Acting President at the time satisfactory?

Should a valid and constitutionally backed Acting President receive the support of the Chief of Staff in the absence of the President simply because “President Buhari expected nothing less”?

One would expect that, given a legitimate transfer of power, albeit a temporary one, it becomes imperative on all staff of the presidency to make themselves and their services available to the recognized authority in the land. With the focus on building institutions that should stand despite the individuals involved, the Acting President should have had the full control of the Villa not just because the President in London thought it the right thing to do but because it was what the constitution of the country demanded.

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