The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has made a last-minute cancellation of his trip to India due to protocol blunders by the Protocol Department of the Presidency as well as an awkward realization that the embattled Senate President Bukola Saraki would have to act as President for a couple of days.
This is just as Mr Saraki is currently facing criminal charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over allegations of corruption and false assets declaration, which he and his legal team are using all kinds of controversial maneuvers to beat.
Confirming the cancellation, a presidency official said: “When the President and VP are out of town, the running of the country will fall automatically into the hands of the Senate President. We did not want the awkwardness that would come with that scenario.”
It was gathered that a 27-member delegation, including the VP and two ministers, were scheduled to travel today to India for a conference.
However, the trip was shelved when the Presidency’s protocol team discovered at the last minute that President Muhammadu Buhari was also going to travel to Equatorial Guinea on Sunday for a two-day state visit that is scheduled to start on Monday, March 14.
Literally, it means if both Osinbajo and Buhari leave Nigeria, the country would stay for more than two days without its first two citizens, meaning Senate President Bukola Saraki would have to act as acting president.
A source close to the VP stated that the prospect of Mr. Saraki’s assumption of presidential powers could not be tolerated in view of the ethical clouds around the senator.
“The president’s protocol chief, Malam Kazaure, and the protocol department again displayed great incompetence here. They ought to have caught the issue earlier before it cost Nigeria a huge sum of money,” the source said.
Both Mr. Kazaure and the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, have been highly criticized for their incompetence, with some Presidency staffers complaining that the only reason they got their posts was their closeness to Mr. Mamman Daura – President Buhari’s nephew.