Officials at ECOWAS on Friday were said to have insisted that Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and no other person should represent Nigerian President in a Head of States meet in Niamey, Niger Republic, thus foiling the plot of some presidential aides to sideline the VP against the instruction of Pres. Buhari given earlier.
Information reached the officials that there are plans to send the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama to represent Pres, Buhari all in an attempt to further undermine the authority and office of VP Osinbajo.
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.
In line with this directive, the Vice President, according to sources present, informed the Federal Executive Council, FEC, at a meeting held on Wednesday, about his trip to Niamey and this was accepted by the council.
Some news media claim that just as the Vice President’s team was preparing for the Niamey trip, as was the usual practice, provision for advance party, as well as logistics was to be made for the team. This was exactly when the drama set in, as allegedly has been the case in recent times.
It was said that 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 of 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, and 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 said to have prevented him from spending the night at Niamey as no provision for hotel accommodation was made for him and his staff.