Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President has claimed that appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari are in of favour Christians as well as the southern part of the country.
Speaking in an interview with a group of journalists and social media practitioners in Lagos weekend, the vice president countered allegations of nepotism against the President.
The transcript of the interview was yesterday released to State House correspondents by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
The vice president noted that the membership of Buhari’s cabinet comprised 18 Christians and 18 Muslims.
However, he pointed out that the two biggest appointments in government – the post of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation are being held by Christians.
The vice president said apart from assigning three huge portfolios to a single minister from the Southwest (Power, Works, and Housing), Buhari also assigned two other sensitive portfolios (Communications and Finance) to ministers from the zone.
He said although the constitution requires that each state must have a minister in the federal cabinet, the president has a choice in assigning portfolios.
He said: “Look at the cabinet, for example, from the point of view of the religion, it has an equal number: 18 Christians, 18 Muslims; but, we have the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as well as the Head of Service who are Christians. So, we have 20 Christians to 18 Muslims; that’s the structure of the cabinet. So, if you take that narrative you may argue that perhaps the Christian have the upper hand; that’s a possible narrative.
“Let us look a little deeper into that … The South East, for example, has five states. Four of the South Eastern states have senior ministers; all of them, except one, who is Minister of State for Education.
“In assigning particular portfolios he does (have a choice). In the north, seven northern states have no senior minister, including the President’s home state, Katsina.
“Now, there are those who will say, if you are nepotistic; surely seven northern states have no senior minister. It’s a narrative depending on how you want to run it.
“I give you another example; I’m from the South West. There are people who will say “I am from the South West, the North has everything.” The South West, for the first time in the history of this country, has one Minister who is in charge of three ministries: Power, Works and Housing. The Ministers of Finance & Communications are also from the South West. These are critical ministries. You can run the narrative in whichever way that you choose.
“There are those who will say, for instance, look at the number of CEOs of agencies of government; the highest number of CEOs in our nation today comes from OgunState, the state has the largest number. There are those who will say that’s his state (i.e VP’S State). So you can run the narrative depending on how you want to run it.
“The president has admitted that, yes there are situations where you can find certain things as true and he intends to have a look at that. For example, you’ve given the example of security positions and he said he is going to take a look at look at it.
“I believe that is the way to go because you can run any narrative that will suit the figures you are showing. There are people who don’t know that the number of CEOs from Anambra State is more than the number of CEOs from Katsina State or anywhere else, except Ogun.”