For the fourth time in one week, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s team have felt the need to clarify that he did not approve the award of $25BN worth of oil contracts by the NNPC and that $25BN in NNPC funds is not missing.
The VP’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, released a statement on Sunday saying that while acting as President, Osinbajo approved Joint Venture Financing arrangements and not oil contracts as being reported. “Such reporting is both false and misleading and therefore ought to be completely ignored by all seekers of truth,” Akande said.
There are two things which the controversy surrounding Osinbajo over the approvals he granted to the NNPC and his response so far show:
- Osinbajo is very worried – this controversy is refusing to go away despite the clarifications he and his media team have provided;
- The Vice President understands the power of the media and communication. He understands unlike his boss that a failure to push back as many times as required will ensure that the narrative of him being corrupt and complicit in the NNPC mess will stick.
Unfortunately for the VP, Nigerians are currently looking at this matter beyond the one incident or one letter by the minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu. It is now a case of judging whether the administration has kept its commitment before the poll that it would reform the NNPC. That has not happened yet, and so the incident would be brought up over and over again.
The man with the ultimate power to make something happen is Pres. Muhammadu Buhari, but his body language is of someone not very keen to act. In fact his response to the serious governance issues raised by Kachikwu in his letter was to ask the minister and the NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru, to find a way to work with each other. Not good enough.