Days after his inauguration, President Bola Tinubu on Friday appointed the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as his Chief of Staff. A former deputy governor of Jigawa State, Ibrahim Hadejia, was also appointed as the Deputy Chief of Staff.
The President also named the immediate past Minister of Special Duties and former Benue State Governor, Senator George Akume, as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
These were revealed in a statement by the State House Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye.
Reacting to the announcement, Gbajabiamila said he would give his best as the Chief of Staff to the President, while noting that he would assume duty on June 14, 2023, being a day after the 10th Assembly would have been inaugurated.
A terse statement by his Chief of Staff, Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart, quoted Gbajabiamila as saying, “Thank you Mr President for finding me worthy of being your Chief of Staff. Having spent the last 20 years in the Nigerian Parliament, and after winning my sixth term election into the National Assembly, I shall work with Mr President in discharging the enormous task ahead of him for the peace and progress of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I shall give my best when I take office on June 14, 2023, as reflected in Mr President’s official letter.”
Bello, Oyetola react
Meanwhile, reactions have continued to surround the appointments, with many congratulating the appointees.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, congratulated the outgoing Speaker and Akume on their appointments.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Mohammed, Bello said Gbajabiamila’s legislative background, loyalty and trustworthiness made him highly suitable for the crucial role.
He also applauded Akume’s achievements in various capacities, as a senator and minister of special duties, saying it was his firm conviction that Akume’s expertise and insights would greatly aid his performance in his new position.
Similarly, in a statement in Osogbo on Friday, the immediate-past Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, congratulated the appointees.
The statement partly read, “I congratulate Senator Akume and Hon Gbajabiamila on their appointments and as well commend President Tinubu for making these great choices. These appointments are deserving and well-thought-out.”
Abbas, others hail President
The preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress for Speakership of the House of Representatives in the 10th National Assembly, Tajudeen Abbas, in a statement by his campaign office hailed Tinubu for making “the right choice,” in appointing Gbajabiamila.
He said, “To me, this is one appointment that has shown that Mr President is not only strategic in his thinking but also sagacious in his leadership. I know that the Chief of Staff to the President will work assiduously with Mr President to make Nigeria great.”
Similarly, the Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Prof Abubakar Sulaiman, in a statement congratulated Gbajabiamila on his new appointment.
He expressed “utmost confidence” in Gbajabiamila’s ability to excel in the new role, as he acknowledged the Speaker’s “profound understanding of the political landscape and unwavering commitment to national progress.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Yusuf Zailani, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ibrahim Danfulani, hailed Tinubu for appointing Gbajabiamila, saying it is well deserved and based on merit given his “enviable pedigree in diplomacy, administration and academics.”
Meanwhile, a group under the aegis of the Northern Christian Youth Professionals, also praised Tinubu over Akume’s appointment as SGF in a statement in Abuja by the group’s chairman, Isaac Abrak.
He said, “We greatly appreciate Senator Akume’s appointment as an indication that the current government is dedicated to serving all Nigerians, regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds. It reinforces the belief that President Bola Tinubu is steadfast in his promise to unite Nigeria and ensure that every citizen is valued and represented in the governance of our nation.”
The President of the Middle Belt Forum, Bitrus Pogu, also described Akume’s appointment as SGF as a welcome development.
He however said the emergence of Tinubu as President was still questionable, saying, “If the emergence of the President is in question, based on constitutional determinants, then whatever comes out of it is also questionable. The foundation is the problem and not the appointment.”
PWDs demand inclusion
The National President, Joint National Association for Persons with Disabilities, Abdullahi Kebbi, also called on the President to include PWDs in his cabinet.
Kebbi, who made the call in an interview with our correspondent on Friday, said, “We are a large population and we need to have a representative within our community. We do not want able-bodied people to represent us because they don’t know the challenges faced by the PWDs. We hope that this time round, Tinubu will look at it.”
Women seek inclusion