Drama at FEC meeting as Osinbajo, Kyari quiz Head of Service over Maina
There was a mild drama at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari were seen in a question-and-answer sessions with the Head of Service (HoS), Winifred Oyo-Ita. Details of their various conversations and engagement with the HoS were not immediately known. It was Kyari who first held a brief chat with the HoS who, obviously unhappy with what she was told by Kyari, stood up and went over to meet the Vice President who also engaged her a lengthy chat shortly before the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari who presided over the Wednesday FEC meeting.
But the visage of the HoS switched from smile to anger at different times suggesting both pleasure and displeasure at the meat of her conversation with both men. Insiders however said she was being asked question of what she knew about the leaked memo over the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
Maina had been the subject of a messy administrative process among key operators in the strong room of President Buhari who were fingered as persons behind his reinstatement and promotion in the civil service after he was sacked by the government of Goodluck Jonathan.
Strangely, while the HoS was being interrogated by the Vice President and Kyari, none of those already inside the council chamber dared to interrupt the chats. The HoS betrayed her anger during the conversation with Kyari suggesting she may have been blamed or rebuked for washing her hands clean of the mess.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, APC National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, service chiefs and others in attendance watched while the drill of the HoS lasted. There was unusual presence of other non-cabinet members in the Villa on Wednesday because of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony and the swearing in of the new SGF, Boss Mustapha by President Buhari.
Saraki, Dogara and Oyegun were inside the Council Chambers to grace the swearing-in ceremony of the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, as well as the launching of the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance emblem.
Oyo-Ita had earlier stated that President Buhari was in the know in the matter of the recall of Maina, a position that may not have gone down well with some cabinet members. She claimed that she had warned the president against the controversial recall of the former pension boss.
As soon as Oyo-Ita got seated at the Council Chambers of the Villa this morning, Kyari engaged her in a discussion which appeared heated.
Visibly angry, the Head of Service rose from her seat and headed straight to Osinbajo, who also engaged her in a tête-a-tete over the issue.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, later joined the conversation which at this time was already generating controversy. The HoS was already fuming and trying to defend her stand. It took the effort of the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mustapha, to calm her down.