Why Vice President Osinbajo Stayed Back From Trip To India

Contrary to reports, the Presidency did not cancel the scheduled trip of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to India for an international conference on Trade just as ‘protocol error’ has been ruled out of reason he stayed back, a top government official said over the weekend in Abuja.
According to him, Osinbajo stayed back from the Indian trip in agreement with President Muhammadu Buhari and in line with requirement of the constitution which forbids both the president and his deputy from leaving the shores of Nigeria at the same time.
While the Vice President stayed back, a contingent of government officials who were to attend the Conference in India had proceeded on the trip, led by Dr. Okey Enelamah the Minister of Trade and Investments.
However, the Vice President in a statement by his Media Aide, Laolu Akande, affirmed that Nigeria is being represented at the conference.
He said, “For the avoidance of any doubt, Nigeria’s delegation to the meeting is led by Industry & Trade Minister, Dr. Okey Enelamah”, indicating that no advance team of the vice President went to India, contrary to earlier reports.
The statement said, “It is simply untrue that an advance party from the Vice President’s office departed for India. No such thing happened because there was no such final decision to travel.
“Finally, Nigerians know wherever Mr. President is, at home or abroad he acts fully in his office except if on break, indisposed or incapacitated. So the question of his traveling creating a vacuum does not even exist at all.”
Findings by The Street Journal revealed that the trip by the Vice President to India had long been scheduled, while that of President Buhari which was lately fixed fell on the same date with that of the Vice President, a reason Osinbajo stayed back.
Meanwhile, President Buhari is to leave Nigeria for Malabo, Capital of Equatorial Guinea for a state visit on security earlier today.
The government official said there was never a time when both the President and the Vice President left Nigeria at the same time and that such development would not occur now.
He said reports that Osinbajo was stopped from travelling to India because of ‘protocol error’ and the need to prevent the Senate President from presiding over the affairs of Nigeria was incorrect as such had exposed the authors as being ignorant of processes in governance and the dictates of the constitution on the schedules of the President and Vice President.
He said if the President and the Vice President are not allowed by law to be absent from the seat of government at the same time, it is naturally out of place for anyone to think that the Senate President would ever have the chance of being called in to act as President.
The trip by President Buhari to Equatorial Guinea is said to have been long overdue, whereas he needed to make the trip now to intensify consultations on security against piracy in West Africa, more so that Nigeria has started making progress in its war against terrorism.
Buhari’s state visit to Equatorial Guinea, according to report, is very strategic, bothering essentially on the need to enhance maritime security in the west African Sub-region, just as Equatorial Guinea is considered a nexus in the Gulf of Guinea.
Buhari, as scheduled is to hold talks and sign bilateral agreement with the authorities in Equatorial Guinea on joint marital policing, while the country is to join other Nigerian neighbours of Cameroon, Chad and Niger on joint fight against terrorism.
President Buhari had already visited key West African countries while consulting with leaders on setting up of joint military action against terrorism.
However, the government official alluded to a cordial relationship between President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo on managing the affairs of government in which case he said both leaders often compare notes on crucial matters of governance to take concrete decisions.
He said the mutual trust between the two leaders was the reason President Buhari not long ago, transmitted a letter to his Deputy to act as President, when he was to embark on a five-day break in the United Kingdom.

Author: News Editor

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