The last may not have been heard of the face-off between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and persons in the Presidency, who are allegedly united in their bid to frustrate the VP ahead of 2023.
According to Presidency sources, the Aso Villa cabal may have adopted another strategy to facilitate their plot. It is now allegedly bringing together “a new array of forces, including former key Federal Government officials (who lost their jobs in circumstances linked to the influence of the embattled VP), and at least, one of his staunchest political allies to wage the ongoing political fight in the Presidency,” one source confirmed.”
While the attack on the VP is aimed at tarnishing his image by spreading tales about him and rehashing old stories, the unifying appeal for all those now coming together to fight the VP is how to speedily stop him from a 2023 bid.
Alleged to be under the command of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, those who are now said to be working against the VP include a former Governor of Lagos State, the former Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawan Daura that the VP ousted while he acted for the President, the former DG, NIA, Ayo Oke, who was indicted in a corruption probe chaired by the VP, and some indicted management staff of NEMA, who were dismissed by the NEMA board under the chairmanship of the VP due to several corruption cases, and conflict of interest.
Queried why a former Lagos State governor would be after the VP, when it is common knowledge that both the VP and himself have always been on same page, the source fired back: “Then why has he been silent since?”
Told that the media team to the former governor had cleared the air, that the two have no dispute whatever, the source said that did not amount to denial. The source added that both have not communicated since the middle of last month; and have not met since the travails of the VP started. But that they should meet soon from the look of things, he said.
According to another insider information, the cabal plans to propose the sacked DG, SSS as the new National Security Adviser for which reason the Chief of Staff has continued to block the reappointment of the current NSA, Gen Baba Gana Monguno. While Monguno has not been publically reappointed, the President has continued to have him around and kept him as an adviser to the chagrin of the Cabal.
The Cabal calculates that the removal of the current NSA will aid their fight against the VP, mainly because the current NSA is unwilling to join forces with other members of the Cabal against the VP.
A source said: “If you look at all the people Abba Kyari and Babagana Kingibe are bringing together to fight the VP, most of them have one corruption case or the other against their name. They want to stop the VP now because they don’t want to go to jail if the VP ever gets beyond where he is now. They are afraid of their own records.”
The former DSS boss Daura is known to be very bitter against the VP, who in an unexpected move in 2018 fired him after DSS agents illegally swoon on the National Assembly, causing a countrywide hysteria reminiscent of a coup.
While no one saw Daura’s sack coming, the case of Ayo Oke, the sacked DG, NIA was different. His grouse against the VP is that the VP refused entreaties from several quarters to protect Oke, who was then accused of being in possession of millions of dollars.
Oke who was indicted by a probe set up by the President and presided over by the VP is still at large and is believed to be in a hideout provided by the Cabal.
He is now said to be working with the cabal leaders to develop further information that can be used against the VP.
While many observers may not be shocked by the willingness of the former FG officials to have his pound of flesh, it is the alleged involvement of the former Lagos State governor that has become the greatest riddle. Some say he has not issued any public statement to defend the VP since the opening of the public attack mid last month.
However, an aide to the former Governor insisted last night that his boss does not run the government at the centre and cannot be liable for the obvious challenges of the VP.
He said it is obvious that the relationship in the Villa, if it was smooth before appears not so anymore, adding that it is better to get to the bottom of the matter.
Could 2023 be the source of acrimony between the VP and his former boss?
Even though the VP is yet to declare interest in 2023, it seems clear he wouldn’t dare to confront the former Governor. The source said the cabal thinks the VP could become too ambitious, hence the plots to cut him down.
One of their proposals- to banish aides of the VP from the Villa has been resisted by the President, arguing that the VP and his team remain an asset to his Presidency.
“The President is mindful that continuing to undermine the VP would harm the policy thrust of his government, if he wants to be taken seriously in the fight against corruption.
The VP is the President’s major ally on core policies of the administration, but the perception being created is that forces of corruption are now behind the VP’s travails. And the President does not like that at all, ”the source added.