How Lawan misfired over appointments
An innate attribute of Nigerian politicians is their ability to surprise and amaze. And the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has just proved that he is not in short supply of this attribute with the announcement of six aides whose appointments have left political observers in utter shock.
Numbered among them, according to a June 19, 2019 memo from the Chief of Staff to the President of the Senate, Babagana Muhammad Aji, to the Clerk of the National Assembly, are Dr (Mrs) Betty Okoroh (Special Assistant on Administration to the President of the Senate), Mohammed Isa (Special Assistant on Media and Publicity), Olu Onemola (Special Assistant on New Media), Tope Brown Olowoyeye (Senior Legislative Aide on Media and Publicity (Photographer) and Ogechukwu E. Nwankwoh (Senior Legislative Aide on Schedules).
One thing the appointees all have in common is that they were all aides to the immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is reputed for doing everything he could to frustrate the plan by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to help Lawan become the President of the 8th Senate. The foregoing is compounded by the appointment, during the week, of Dr Festus Adedayo, an avid critic of APC, Buhari and all they stand for, as Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity.
All the six appointees were said to have been recommended to Lawan by Baba Ahmed, a top aide of Saraki. Lawan was said to have asked Ahmed to help him recruit aides and the latter wasted no time in recommending Saraki boys. He (Ahmed) in turn asked a former media adviser to Saraki, Yusuf Olaniyonu, to recommend a media adviser for the Senate President and Olaniyonu recommended Adedayo, a known Saraki’s loyalist in the media, and Lawan promptly approved his appointment.
As would be expected, the appointments have turned Lawan’s admirers and supporters against him. Although he yielded slightly to pressure by dropping Adedayo’s name from the list of appointees, he insisted on keeping the remaining five.
The questions being asked are: Is he so naïve as to surround himself with loyalists of his bitter foe and chieftain of the opposition party? Can he side-step the infamous banana peel in the Senate by starting out in this way? How introspective is he? Does he really have what it takes to lead the Senate? Did he enter into a deal with Saraki without the knowledge of those who backed him to become the Senate President? Questions, questions and more questions.