The Presidency on Sunday described those accusing Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo of ethnic and religious bigotry as uninformed Nigerians who are only seeking relevance through ethnicity and religion.
This is even as the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, described northerners who attack Acting President as “reactionary conservative elements and counter revolutionaries,” out to create ethnic disunity.
Sani said this in Kano on Sunday after paying condolence visit to the family of the wife of late Aminu Kano, Aishatu, who died last week.
A statement from the Presidency on Sunday quoted Osinbajo’s Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Dr. Bilkisu Saidu, as dismissing the allegation of favouritism against the Acting President while speaking on “Shirin Safe,” an interview programme on BBC Hausa Radio service.
The statement quoted Saidu as describing the nepotism allegation as “laughable, untrue, unfair and should not be taken seriously.”
The presidential aide was reported to have claimed that most senior positions Osinbajo’s office are held by Muslims including individuals who are from the North.
“If you are talking about religion, the most senior official or position in the Office of the Vice President apart from the Vice President himself, is the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President and the name of the person occupying that office is Abdulrahman Ipaye and he is a Muslim.
“The positions following the Chief of Staff’s in the order of hierarchy are the Special Advisers in the office of the Vice President. Here there are three Special Advisers and two out of the three Special Advisers are Muslims, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Barrister Mariam Uwais from Kano State.
“If you look at the remaining senior positions in that office, most of them are in the hands of Muslims from the North.
“For instance, the person in charge of Protocol (the Director of Protocol) is Ambassador Abdullahi Gwary from Yobe State; those in charge of welfare and health in the office of the Vice President are mostly Muslims and from the north.
“Worthy of note are the stewards, those who serve the Vice President’s meals, they are mostly Muslims, so what do the critics mean when they talk about religion?” she was further quoted as saying.
Saidu was also quoted as saying that when those she called “non-progressive minded people” fail to win public support on their personal agenda, they often resort to the use of religion given its sensitivity among Nigerians.
“When people lack what to use or have exhausted all avenues to speak evil against perceived opponents or ridicule the good works that they are doing, they resort to use of religion or other means possible to damage the image and reputation of that opponent,” she added.
One Ismailia Farouk had alleged that Osinbajo’s aides were mainly members of his church and ethnic group from the South West
Farouk, in a message, that went viral on the social media, accused Osinbajo of appointing his aides majorly from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, or from the South West where he hails from.
But Senator Sani countered this, saying the actions and utterances of such northerners are aimed at creating disturbance and conflict between Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We must be careful not to create a crisis between North and South West who suffered to form an alliance of progressive forces which brought us to where we are today,” he said.
Sani said those who see no good in the Acting President and accuse him of ethnic bias fail to appreciate the efforts he and his political benefactor, ex-Lagos Governor Bola Tinubu, made to defeat the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
“These persons have worked tirelessly and invested so much to have the government in place,” he said.
“So, my own advice to them is to keep up their antics and intrigues aside while I’m advising Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to be very careful and watchful not to let a misstep in his conduct of affairs and give room for ethnic and religious forces to thrive”.
The activist said Osinbajo has proven to be a capable deputy and loyal to President Buhari.
“You should appreciate him for that rather than condemning him,” he said.