By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senior Special Assistant to acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Legal Matters, Dr. Bilkisu Saidu, at the weekend dismissed an accusation of nepotism against her principal on appointments of his aides and other nominations into some federal agencies, describing it as unfair and laughable.
Saidu, who spoke during an interview programme on BBC Hausa Radio, known as â€œShirin Safe,â€ dismissed the accusation as baseless, disclosing how she was a Law lecturer at Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University, Sokoto before her appointment as Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President last year.Â
She described the allegation of nepotism against the acting president as untrue and hence, should be dismissed with a wave of hands.
According to her, contrary to the allegation by one Ismaila Farouk, that the acting presidentâ€™s aides are either his kinsmen or Christians, most senior positions in the vice-presidentâ€™s office are held by Muslims, most of whom she said are from the North.Â
â€œIf 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.â€™
â€œThe positions following that of chief of staff in the order of hierarchy are those of special advisers in the office of the vice-president. Here, there are three special advisers and two out of the three are Muslims, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Barrister Mariam Uwais from Kano State,â€™â€™ she added.
Saidu said a cursory look at other senior positions in the vice presidentâ€™s office shows that religious consideration was never a factor in the appointments of officers, noting: â€œIf you look at the remaining senior positions in that office, most of them are in the hands of Muslims from the North.â€
She added: â€œFor instance, the person in charge of Protocol, that is, 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.Â
â€œWorthy of note are the stewards, those who serve the vice-president meals. They are mostly Muslims. So, what do the critics mean when they talk about religion?â€ they queried.
She stated that when unprogressive minded people fail to win public support on their personal agenda, they often resort to the use of religion, given its sensitivity among Nigerians.
â€œWhen 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,â€ she added.