BY Nda Jonathan
Acting president Yemi Osinbajo last Wednesday night hosted state House correspondents in his Aguda residence. Since he assumed office on May 29, 2015, this was the first time he will be hosting journalists. His principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, had hosted state House Correspondents twice.
When he assumed office, the press corps was the first group President Buhari met after moving into Aso Villa. Also, on the first anniversary of his administration, the president also hosted the press in the Banquet Hall in the Presidential Villa.
Wednesday last week was the turn of the acting president. I was taken aback by the beauty of the residence. By all standards, Aso Rock presidential villa is one of the finest in the world. I have visited some presidential villas around the world and I make bold to say that Aso Villa stands out among its peers.
Some minutes to eight in the evening, the acting president strolled into the hall. It will surprise you to know that Osinbajo sat with journalists and shared a table with some of the State House correspondents. There was no high or low table In the order of arrangement at the parley with the acting president.
We all stood up to introduce ourselves and after that, we went straight for the dinner.After the dinner, some of my colleagues raised some concerns to the acting president on how to make our job easier in the presidential villa .
After four of my colleagues spoke, Osinbajo now stood up for his comments. For those who don’t know, the acting president is a very humorous person- just like his boss. His principal, President Buhari, is seen by many as a no nonsense General and a hard man but what most people don’t know is that the president jokes a lot. He always has one or two funny things to say at events. Osinbajo is no different.
First, he thanked us for honouring his invitation and also told us how he is looking forward to the president ‘s return. He also informed us about how he listens to radio programmes on a daily basis, especially phone – in programmes, to feel the pulse of the people and know what the average Nigerians are thinking and saying.
The acting president also told us a story. According to him, he always had lunch with the president three or four times a week. On one occasion, he said the president noticed he was not eating and asked why. He told him because he was fasting. The president replied why are you always fasting? It’s people like Lai Mohammed that should be fasting everyday. The comment drew a round of laughter. Even the minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who was also present at the dinner, had a good laugh.
The acting president also promised to make our job easier, saying his interaction with the press corps will be a regular.
After the diner, we had a group photograph and it was a special evening. It is not everyday you have dinner with the acting president at his residence.
…Finally Osinbajo Assigns Portfolios To New Ministers
The acting president on Wednesday assigned portfolios to the two new ministers he swore in three weeks ago.
The two new ministers are Stephen Ocheni ( Kogi) and Suleiman Hassan ( Gombe) .
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, announced this via Twitter
Akande tweeted “Ocheni was named Minister of State , Labour and Employment; while Hassan was named Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing.
“There are now two ministers of state in Power, Works and Housing ministries , ”
Sources say the president wanted to assign the portfolios and reshuffle the cabinet himself that was why the acting president didn’t assign the portfolios to the new ministers.
However, last week, when the presidential media team visited the president in the United Kingdom, he told them there is tremendous improvement in his health, indeed, he wishes to return home, “but I’ve learnt to obey my doctor’s orders, rather than be the one issuing the orders. Here, the doctor is absolutely in charge.”