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Revealed: Why Lawan Retains Some Of Saraki’s Staff, As He Names Senate Principal Officers

The Oasis Reporters

July 4, 2019

While Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Tuesday was announcing the names of principal officers for the 9th Senate sent in by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which was telecast live to Nigerians and viewers the world over, evidence emerged why he trusted the staff Saraki left behind to continue on the beat that they were on.

With his sight trained on a future contest for higher and more ambitious opportunities, Lawan wanted to display a remarkable difference from President Buhari’s Style by retaining the staff his predecessor in office (who fell out of favour with the APC) left behind. That way, Lawan hoped to portray himself as large hearted, broadminded and without the 97 percent versus 5 percent controversial mindset that took away Buhari’s goodwill and polarized the country.

He wanted to flee from the narrow enclaves of an ethnic or parochial player, and probably be like President Jonathan who understood the rich import of freedom of speech, and appointed one of his most persistent critics, Dr. Reuben Abati as his Chief spokesman.

Ahmed Lawan wanted that, and much more.

He’s an old hand, a ranking senator in the Senate, having returned there every four years to represent his Yobe North Constituency since 2007. Lawan therefore knew about bureaucratic efficiency, right from David Mark and finally, to Bukola Saraki, all under PDP hands.

Power had shifted to the core All Progressives Congress, APC and not to the former People’s Democratic Party, PDP breakaway faction that joined them. He must have suspected that if neophytes at legislative practice filled his media backroom, the world would see their output as a huge joke. They’d be a laughing stock.

He therefore hurriedly reappointed Saraki staff on back to back continuity, even if they were of the PDP stock

While at plenary, the graphics say it is PRENARY.

Lawan planned on charming them to support the new power on the block.

But he ran into stormy waters with his party, the APC men that plotted his victorious emergence as Senate President. What mattered most were the spoils of office and jobs for the boys. But despite his frowns at the furore that greeted the reappointment of Saraki staff, he bowed to party pressure and some of the reappointed staff gave him and easy way out by politely declining the offer, most graciously.

The polite decline of offer followed

the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, announcing the retention of five political aides of his predecessor, Dr Bukola Saraki, to help in the discharge of his duties.

The appointment of the aides, which was contained in a one-page letter titled ‘Appointment of Political Aides To The President of The Senate’ issued by Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Babagana Aji, was addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori “to direct that their letters of appointment be issued accordingly”.

The re-appointed aides are Special Assistant on Administration to the President of the Senate, Dr. Betty Okoroh; Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Mohammed Isa; Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola; Senior Legislative Aide on Publicity (Photography), Tope Brown Olowoyeye; and Senior Legislative Aide on Schedules & Events, Ogechukwu Nwankwoh.

The Senate President had on Tuesday appointed Babagana Aji as his Chief of Staff as well as Festus Adedayo as his Media Adviser.

Then one of them, Olu Onemola wrote,

“Given the controversy that my appointment has generated, I would respectfully like to be excused from this national assignment.

I thank the President of the Senate, @DrAhmadLawan, and wish the new team all the best!”

The core APC team that spiritedly pushed the Saraki staff rejoiced and they went to work as Senate President Ahmed Lawan, made his announcement that the new Senate Leader is Senator Abdullahi Yahaya with Ajayi Boroffice as his deputy.

Former governor Orji Kalu is Chief Whip while Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe was also announced as the Minority Leader and Phillip Aduda as Minority Whip.

Lawan equally named Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as the Deputy Leader and Senator Shabi Yau as the Deputy Whip.

All of them form the Body of Principal Officers also known as Selection Committee.

They are expected to assign senators to committees based on interest earlier shown by them, according to a NAN report.

But see how the new media team of the Senate reported the matter on television to Nigerians and viewers all over the world. Senate “PRENARY” was live. Even when the new Lawan team had ample time to switch viewers to the SENATE PLENARY, they simply could not spot the error as if they were not watching what they were showing.

So much for sheer lack of attention to details.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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