More names emerge as lobbying for Chief of Staff position intensifies

Posted by News Express | 17 April 2020 | 2,370 times

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•President Muhammadu Buhari

Who becomes the next Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari?  More names were thrown up last night as lobbying intensified for the job by influential forces within and outside the Presidency.

Those joining the would-be list last night are: A former Chairman of the United Nations Security Council, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Household and Social Events), Sarki Mukhtar Abba; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and a former Governor of Kano State,  Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau.

It was learnt that some strategists of the President have ruled out the likelihood of the next Chief of Staff coming from the Southwest.

They also ruled out respected businessman Alhaji lsa Funtua, who was mentioned by this newspaper yesterday as one of those likely to be considered.

Funtua, a minister in 1983 in the Second Republic government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari and founder of The Democrat, a newspaper edited by Abba Kyari , they said, is an elderstatesman who is serving the country in more meaningful ways.

Sources said the President has a shopping list of not less than 14 competent hands to pick from.

Those already being speculated as likely nominees include Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu; Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hamid Ali; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Governor Nasir El-Rufai; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties, Ya’u Shehu Darazo; a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Gen. Buba Marwa; and the immediate past Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr. Jalal Arabi.

According to investigation by our correspondent, about five criteria may determine the choice of the next Chief of Staff namely,

             competence;

             absolute loyalty;

             sharing same vision and principle with the President on the Next Level Agenda;

             longstanding relationship with the President; and

             being incorruptible

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said the President has “an appreciable  list of competent hands to pick from as his Chief of Staff.

“Being a key personal staff of the President, the office is such a sensitive one and it is the prerogative of the President to pick whoever he likes.

“Although the President is at liberty to listen to advice, no advisory intervention is binding on him.

“There is intense lobbying going on already by some godfathers and influential leaders to have their candidates in charge.”

Another source, giving an insights into some of those on the radar for the key job, said: “As for Gambari, he was Buhari’s Minister of External (Foreign) Affairs from 1984 to 1985 when he was  Military Head of State. Born in 1944, Gambari rose from being a Professor at Ahmadu Bello University to becoming an international civil servant and first class diplomat. He was Under Secretary-General of the UN from 2000 to 2007. He has a very rich experience.

 “The DG of NIA, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, was Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on Foreign Affairs/International Relations. Regarded as a highly-organised diplomat, who worked with the United Nations, Abubakar holds a B.A degree in French Language and Literature, and an M.A degree in Francophone Maghrebian Literature, both from Bayero University, Kano. He is also fluent in Arabic.

“If appointed, he will be the first Chief of Staff with the advantage of speaking many languages.”

Other than being rated as “an adopted son of the President, the Minister of Water Resources has been a die-hard follower of President Muhammadu Buhari. There is a marital bond between the President and Suleiman’s family.

He worked with President Buhari during the Petroleum Task Fund ( PTF) days and he has been in the political trenches with the President in the last 16 years.

“Although not much is known about the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Household and Social Events), Abba but he has always been next to the late Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, in hierarchy in the State House. Gifted and a man of few words like Kyari, Abba has the ears of the President.”

It was also learnt that Shekarau is being recommended as the next Chief of Staff because of his “experience as a teacher, a principal, a Permanent Secretary, modesty and incorruptibility.

“He defeated Governor Rabiu Kwankawaso during 2003 general elections on the basis of his integrity.”

Since 1999, Nigeria has had four Chiefs of Staff. They are: Gen. Abdullahi Mohammed—1999-2008; Chief Mike Oghiadomhe—2010-2014; Gen. Jones Arogbofa—2014-2015; and Mallam Abba Kyari-2015- April 17, 2020.

Ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua scrapped the Office of Chief of Staff in 2008, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan reintroduced it in 2010.

The responsibilities of Chief of Staff are “selecting key presidential staff and supervising them, structuring the staff system, controlling the flow of people to the Presidential Villa; managing the flow of information, protecting the interests of the president, negotiating with the National Assembly

and other branches of government to implement the president’s agenda; and advising the president on various issues, including telling the president what they do not want him to hear.” (The Nation)





Source: News Express

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