The Nigerian presidency has for the umpteenth time, denied reports of a rift between President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. 

Reports of a frosty relationship between Osinbajo and Buhari dominated online and mainstream chatter in September, amid insinuations that a cabal loyal to the president was gradually cutting the vice president to size and undermining his powers. 

The rumours resurfaced in November after President Buhari signed the Deep Offshore bill into law from his vacation spot in London; with some pundits positing that Osinbajo could well have signed the bill back home if all was well between the pair.

During a chat with newsmen in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sen Babajide Omowurare said not much should be read into the London signing event.

President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila [Twitter/@femigbaja]
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila [Twitter/@femigbaja]

Omowurare also said Buhari didn’t intend to undermine the office of the vice president when he signed the document in London.

The Yar'adua example

“President Buhari has no reason to do so. I don’t think there is any way or manner that the office of the vice president has been relegated.

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can work from anywhere in the world,” Omowurare said, repeating a line that was deployed by APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole this week. 

The presidential aide insisted that it would be unfair to compare Buhari’s recent action to that of the late President Yar’adua who though incapacitated, refused to transfer power to then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as required by the constitution.

Former president, Goodluck Jonathan (left) with the late former president, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (right)
Former president, Goodluck Jonathan (left) with the late former president, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (right)

“The only celebrated case was that of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was ill and could not transmit any letter to the national assembly.

“The national assembly had to work around the situation by ensuring that executive powers go to the vice president,” Omoworare said.

Buhari, 76, who won a second term in office in February, has often been pilloried for his frequent medical and foreign trips since his first term kicked off in 2015.