Villascope with Lawrence Olaoye
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The re-appointment of both Mallam Abba Kyari and Mr. Boss Mustapha as the Chief of Staff (CoS) and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) by President Muhammadu Buhari brought a big relief to the polity.
The long silence from the President on the fate of the duo and other critical aides in the corridor of power brought with it anxiety as to whether he would listen to dissents by appointing new persons to take over their positions.
The Chief of Staff has faced several unsavory criticisms on his alleged roles in the running of the nation’s affairs in the last four years. Some have fingered him as a pivotal figure in a ‘cabal’ running the affairs of the country. Others have even referred to him as the alternate president taking important decisions on behalf of his principal.
But given the personality of a President, who is never swayed by the opinions of his detractors but takes his time by meticulously studying the situation before taking far reaching decisions, Buhari voted for merit by retaining the quintessential administrator who quietly delivers on his given mandates in the best interest of not only his principal, but that of the country.
Kyari has also been able to build strong relationship with political leaders at all levels. This can be seen with his conviviality with all the state governors and ministers. The Chief often displays his close relationship with governors by walking them to their cars most times.
Not a few attempts had been made to drag Kyari down by detractors who, at different times, cooked up allegations that are still waiting to be proven. Kyari, a taciturn but jovial person never borders anyone in the course his duties. So much fairy power have been ascribed to him apparently because of his closeness to the President.
The reappointment of the ‘red cap’ Chief, as Kyari is commonly called, by the President only put a lie to all those accusations against him. This is because the President, with obvious detestation for corruption, would have investigated the Chief and found out that those claims were unfounded.
This reasoning is further bolstered by the President’s vote of confidence in Kyari’s capacities and capabilities recently when he directed his ministers and aides never to jump protocols in relating to him and his office.
At the Presidential retreat held for ministers and presidential aides, Buhari recalibrated his confidence in Kyari and Mustapha when he said “In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Federal Executive Council matters be coordinated through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”
He further emphasized this when, on Wednesday, he swore-in the newly appointed ministers an allotted them portfolios. It would be recalled that there were allegations from some quarters that the Chief had been blocking certain individuals, including governors and ministers, from having direct access to the President.
The directive that due process be duly observed in having access to him only goes to prove that the Chief has been doing the bidding of his principal by scrutinizing all applications from those angling to have private audience with the President.
Similarly, the SGF has succeeded in warming himself to the hearts of those working with him in the corridor of power. The affable Boss has never seized to be a pleasant boss who relates with all irrespective of status in the Villa.
Boss’ administrative acumen and dexterity in the handling of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings has never seized to amaze observers, especially journalists. Boss has been able to secure and retain the trust of the President, his vice and all the ministers in such a way that everyone admires his mien.
Ahead of each FEC meeting, one finds the SGF interacting so closely with the ministers suggesting that he had been able to build bridges of friendship beyond the official weekly parlies. Boss friendly and accessible nature makes his reappointment a welcome development in the Villa. With an SGF like Boss, things can never go wrong.
Mixed feelings as ministers get portfolios
After waiting with bated breath for some weeks after the 43 ministers appointed by the President were cleared by the Senate, the President on Wednesday allotted them portfolios.
Ahead of the announcement by the President, anxiety pervaded the air as Buhari held the list closely to his chest. The final list released proved some habitual speculators adept in quoting amorphous Presidency sources wrong.
Before the final release of the ministers and their respective portfolios, the media were inundated with permutations as to who gets what making some of the appointees carry themselves around with bloated egos. When the list was eventually released, some of the ministers who had hitherto expected to be allotted ‘juicy’ portfolios had disappointment written all over their faces.
Some of them were overheard complaining bitterly that they had been belittled by the ministries allotted them. A certain minister from North-central given one of the newly created ministries stormed out of the hall angrily. Another allotted minister of state changed mood immediately his name was announced.
But those who felt disappointed with their postings should take solace in the fact that the President had constantly maintained that there was no junior or senior minister in his cabinet because he considers them all as equals. This will however become clearer when the SGF comes up with their work schedules so that there won’t be clashes while performing their duties.
There have also been outcries in certain quarters that some regions were given juicy ministries while others only managed to get ‘crumbs’. They pointed out that the three regions of North-west, North-east and South-west were pampered with substantive ministries while the South-south, South-east and North-central had their appointees in ‘supportive’ positions as ministers of state.
Based on past experience, the substantive ministers are always assumed to be superior to ministers of state. This can only be avoided if their roles can be delineated by the SGF even now that they are yet to get footholds in their ministries.
Now that Niger Deltans are in control
The appointment of Senator Godswill Akpabio and Festus Keyamo as Minister and Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs by the President has finally afforded the people who knows where the shoe pinches to handle the challenges facing the people of the oil producing region.
The icing on the cake was that the President equally appointed another son of the soil, Senator Ita Enang, also from the oil rich Akwa-Ibom state like Akpabio, as his Senior Special Assistant on Niger Delta Affairs. Enang was formally a presidential aide on National Assembly Matters (Senate).
It is expected that the appointees will deploy their deep knowledge of the region to advise the President to initiate projects that will benefit the people of the region and make life better for them.
Akpabio, being a former governor of Akwa-Ibom state and a former Senator, is expected to deploy his wealth experience to steer the ship of development in that region. Keyamo, who hails from Delta state, is also expected to bring to the fore all developmental ideas that would lead better the lots of the people. Enang is expected to tag along in this onerous task of satisfying their yearnings.
It I expected that the trio will collaborate an cooperate to deliver the good. Akpabio, being the most politically experienced of the trio must find a way of ensuring a seamless relationship in order to ensure that the people benefit from their appointments. The Niger Delta region has never had it this good where a whole ministry dedicated to them has their sons at the head.