The power tussle at the Presidency got worse on Friday, November 9; as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) criticized an alleged scheme by a top presidential aide to upturn President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to send Vice President; Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to Niamey, Benin Republic.
ECOWAS had garnered that the official had replaced Osinbajo with the Foreign Minister; Geoffrey Onyeama in an attempt to undermine the Vice President.
According to sources at the Aso Rock Villa; the President had informed his Vice that he was going to represent him at the extraordinary session of heads of states in Niamey; hosted by the Nigerien President, while he was away in London.
The Heads of State or their deputies could attend the ECOWAS meetings.
It was reported that the Vice President informed the Federal Executive Council, FEC; at a meeting held on Wednesday, about his trip to Niamey and this was accepted by the council.
However, during the course of preparation for the trip; someone from the presidency informed the Vice President’s office midday Thursday; that the President had issued a new directive that the Foreign Minister will now represent him in Niamey.
The Vice President’s team reportedly moved swiftly to modify his schedule and shifted their attention to other things. But this, however, did not go down well with ECOWAS team, who protested loudly.
Sources at the ECOWAS secretariat claimed that the lead organizer of the extraordinary session personally called the President in the United Kingdom.
There are also said to have been several such attempts to undermine Osinbajo.
This time around, upon being alerted, President Buhari was said to have immediately reached out directly to his Deputy and instructed him to proceed to Niamey in view of the diplomatic firestorm that was brewing.
The Vice President also proceeded to Niamey; was said to have arrived to shoddy arrangements as no proper advance party could be readied at such short notice.
The shoddiness of the preparation was also said to have prevented him from spending the night at Niamey as no provision for hotel accommodation was made for him and his staff.