An online newspaper recently reported a story claiming that Nigeria’s vice president Yemi Osinbajo and the Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai, were involved in a serious argument in the presence of Pres. Muhammadu Buhari, which even led to Osinbajo walking out on the president.The report quoted unnamed sources who said that El-Rufai insulted Osinbajo who told him off and walked out of the meeting.
It said that despite pleas from some others present for the Vice president to return to the meeting, he said he will only do so if El-Rufai apologises, but the governor refused.Presidency sources have already debunked the report, describing it useless.Anyway, after today’s National Economic Council meeting which was presided over by Osinbajo and during which El-Rufai made a presentation as a member of the committee of governors which looked into the management of our crude oil resources, the two men met at the vice president’s office. They really didn’t look like men who are fighting, even though that doesn’t prove much.
According to The Trent, Osinbanjo and El-Rufai got to logger heads, when the governor insulted the vice president at a meeting at the presidential villa, Aso Rock.In a reaction to the insult, Osinbajo rebuked El-Rufai and walked out of the meeting, which President Buhari was presiding.
There are speculations that El-Rufai is widely regarded as the unofficial vice president in the Buhari administration. Anonymous sources within the Buhari administration told reporters that Buhari prefers to have ‘a fellow Northerner’ as his right-hand man.
The sources allege that Buhari did the same as the military head of state, adding that the president is uneasy with Prof Osinbajo who has been tagged “Tinubu’s boy“.
They claim that if it were in the powers of the president to appoint a vice, then certainly he would not have picked the professor as his running mate.
One source said: “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 the 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.”
There are various online reports and speculations that Osinbajo is not regarded by El-Rufai and many other northerners within Buhari’s adhoc cabinet. They believe that the vice president is ‘just a puppet in Tinubu’s hands’.
According to a source that spoke to The Trent, an incident which took place few weeks ago b*ttress the fact that Nigeria’s vice president is looked down upon within the administration.
The source revealed that at a meeting in Aso Rock, Governor El-Rufai, in disagreeing with Osinbajo’s notion, raised his voice and insulted the VP. Osinbajo reportedly 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.” Having said that, Osinbajo, allegedly stormed out of the meeting in rage, leaving Buhari and others present shocked.
The Kaduna governor reportedly condemned the behaviour of the vice president, demanded that Buhari did something about the disrespectful act.
However, the president in his gracefulness is said to have reacted calmly as to still the brewing tension. The source said there were emissaries sent to appease Osinbajo, but the VP would not return to the meeting unless El-Rufai rendered an apology.
As of the time of filing this report, there is still no information on the reconciliation between the two.
However, after the reports on alleged rivalry between Osinbajo and Nasir El-Rufai emerged, Kaduna state governor hurried to debunk them on social media. He tweeted a photo with Osinbajo showing clearly there’s no rivalry between him and Osinbajo.He also reposted a long article by Yomi Ewetade on his Facebook account, blasting the report about alleged rivalry as false.
“TheTrentOnline completely fabricates scenarios that is not known to truth,” claims Ewetade in his article, adding “not only that, the website makes references to previously baseless claims that have been conclusively reb*tted and dismissed, ignoring the very basic ethical commitment to truth of a journalist and a media outlet.”
Meanwhile, Governor El-Rufai on Wednesday, September 16, did something that some deemed highly controversial. He ordered the shutting down of four Christian institutions, all located in Saminaka, Lere local government area of the state.
The governor, however, defended the action, stating that he shut the churches down in order to guide against violence among factions of the congregations whose leaderships’ positions sees as “principally to preserve their personal interests with little concern for the common good, and the peace and security of Kaduna state”.