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Who should be the new chief of staff to the President?




By Ahmad Sajoh

The Death of Mallam Abba Kyari had indeed been a very big blow to His Excellency Mr. President, the Government and indeed the Country at large. He left a very big vacuum which will be very hard to fill.

While it is indeed wrong to speak ill of the dead, I find some of the testimonies bandied around by people who claim to have been too close to the late Chief of Staff as equally wrong. Where were all this people when the man was alive and so many unsavory things were said about him? Some of the testimonies do not even add up at all when juxtaposed with what transpired under the presidency when he was alive. But then like I said earlier we have all accepted this cultural norm that it is bad to talk ill of the dead. But certainly it is equally wrong to say things not true about a man who passed away as well. In all honesty we should have been more concerned with designing a template for the President to use in selecting a replacement rather than spending so much time and energy in portraying the late Chief of Staff as an irreplaceable super human.

For me the most important thing we all should be doing is to help the President identify a suitable replacement that will serve the best interest of the President as the leader of the Country and the citizens who have a service contract with the President.

According to the President one of the qualities that stood Mallam Abba Kyari apart was his close relationship with Mr. President for over four decades. This means that whoever will replace the late Chief of Staff must have been close to the President for a long time, long enough to understand the President’s person and temperament as well as to appreciate him both as a leader with all the burdens of office and as a human person with personal needs. Such a replacement must understand National Politics very well while still remaining completely apolitical without pandering to the political whims of the different political tendencies in the polity. This way the different roles of the office of the President cannot be compromised on the altar of political expediency or to satisfy a particular individual or group political interests.

In addition, the replacement must appreciate working 24/7 all year round without let or rest within the President’s demands. This must have been cultivated over the years dating to periods long before Muhammadu Buhari became the President. This is why such an appointee should be the choice of the President this time around not one supposedly imposed on the President as was speculated with the late Chief of Staff. And it is easy for the President to find such a person within his inner circular. Most importantly such a person’s appointment should erase all the speculations about the office serving as the extension of a supposed cabal manipulating the governance process. This is necessary for confidence building.

My understanding of the functions of the Chief of Staff to the President Federal Republic is one that performs a gate keeping function for the President. This is not in the sense one who blocks people and issues from getting to the President but one that sieves through the many schedules of the President and the many issues requiring his attention. For the President this is a very crucial role. Only someone strategic and close enough who understands Mr. President, understands his temperament and thinking can be an effective gate keeper, determining what goes in and out of the President’s presence and office. Every individual or document going into the President’s office should be appropriately evaluated for contents and in keeping with the mood of the President. This must be done in an honest and timely manner without conflict of interest especially one induced by external forces.

It must also be noted that the Chief of Staff is the coordinator of all the personal staff of Mr. President as well as all the Staff of the Presidential Villa. As the name implies, he is the Chief of all the staff directly serving Mr. President. Everyone serving the President or working within the Presidential Villa looks up to him for general direction and coordination.

Supporting the Political Process including configuring effective relationship between the President and the Political class and Political office holders is also another major function of the Chief of Staff. The President as the leader of the Country must relate every day with his political Party, other strata of the political class including those in opposition parties, and political office holders. The Chief of Staff liaises with all of this levels of political activity in a manner that is neither partisan nor myopic. He must understand the needs of the Political class, help to evaluate certain concepts and contents in order to guide the President on the correct political decisions to make that are appropriate to existing situations.

One of the key functions of the Chief of Staff is effective Liaison with other levels of the President’s functions. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Officer Commanding all other Security outfits in the Country. It is the Duty of the Chief of Staff to liaise with all of them and keep Mr. President abreast of happenings in the Security sector and also avail him information on public perceptions and demands. This, the Chief of Staff must do without undermining the functions of all offices responsible for coordinating security strategies and activities. It is a function that must be used with caution and only someone who is apolitical and level headed can perform this function effectively.

The President is the Head of his Cabinet and must be able to guide, promote and protect the effective functioning of the Cabinet as a Constitutional requirement of the Governance process. The Chief of Staff must provide support to the Cabinet Secretariat, ensuring that the President understand all memos and issues to be discussed to enable him guide the process effectively. In doing so the Chief of Staff must have sufficient Institutional Memories of the functioning of the Cabinet from inception of the Buhari Presidency. Such a person should have been with the President from the beginning of his Presidency.
The new Chief of Staff should possess a lot of Institutional memory with respect to Diplomatic relationships established overtime and what needs to be done at what level. Therefore, the office requires a person who had been close enough to have been with the President throughout his tenure. He or she must be a close ally and confidant of the President.

The new Chief of Staff must be able to appreciate the President as a person, his temperament and family responsibilities. Hem must be absolutely loyal to the President and such loyalty must have been proven over time, must have the capacity to take as many verbal and written bullets as possible without buckling or even over reacting. A person who has the technical ability to analyze documents and provide advisories for Mr. President, must assemble a crack team and work as a team player with the temperament to moderate the various tendencies that will compete for the President’s attention
In trying to be all of the above and much more, the Chief of Staff must avoid engulfing the office or the person occupying the office in unnecessary controversies.
The whole Nation awaits what a replacement will do in mitigating some of these controversies. It is imperative that the President appoints a relatively less visible person to enable him draw more attention to the functions of the office rather than the personality of the occupant of the office. A person without much political visibility or adverse political baggage will surely bring in credibility and respect to the Office.

It is therefore, safe to summarize that the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic is an important coordinating Center for the effective governance of the Country under the leadership of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation. One of the requirements of the Office is to simplify complex operations for Mr. President to enable him understand issues and operational modalities in a manner that aids effective decision making.

Ahmad Sajoh is a Public Affairs commentator and former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, he writes from Abuja. (08058421126 text messages only please)

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Buni: A tireless and resolute champion



Buni : A tireless and resolute champion 

By Haruna Yusuf 

His excellency, Mai Mala Buni, the executive Governor of Yobe state and the chairman of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) caretaker/Extraordinary national convention.Buni is always known to be a game changer and it is believed he has whatever it takes to turn around the fortunes of his state to the best and also bring back sanity in APC.
Buni’s antecedents stem from the beginning of his political career as a ward councillor at a tender age and rose rather rapidly through the political atmosphere of Yobe to the National/Secretary, now caretaker chairman of the ruling all progressive congress. 

There are times when we make history and there times when history makes us, Buni’s main characteristics are resilience, consistency, knowledge, people -skill, motivational approach and leading by example..What really made him great is, his foresight, vision, strategic planning and ability to serve, a leader par excellence. 

Loyalty is something one should take very seriously, because loyalty is everything, whether it’s a  friendship, relationship or a boss as an example. Putting your trust in someone and being loyal to them is something that is rare this days and hard to come by, people are brought up in different ways based on culture and believes, but what made Buni genuine is loyalty, consistency and honesty at all times, he is brave in his thinking and daring in action, that’s why he accomplishes everything he stands for and this assignment of reconciliation and bringing back sanity in APC is not and would not be an exception.

Today everyone can see Buni’s report card, he has scored extremely well, he has shown prudence especially in the use of merger resources of his state and the assignment of bringing sanity back in the ruling all progressive (congress APC) as the caretaker chairman. He is quite, very peaceful, not a noise maker but delivering on the job he signed for. Even as a National secretary of the ruling party he towered above his contemporaries in being an astute manager of people, a discipline leader and someone to be trusted with the state’s lean treasury to perform miracle, that lends credence to why we should appreciate the courage and sincerity of purpose of this personality in rising to the sacred state and national duty. 

Gov. Buni has so far, proved to be the best in governance and service delivery mandate, a level headed leader who is beyond reproach, he comes as consensus builder and one individual who will never improve himself at the expense of the people of the state, he is known and certified to be an astute manager of people and All-inclusive leader at all times.

Buni before now, has maintained a constraint office of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) National secretary, a role that comes with high visibility, but average  authority, still when judged by how well he was able to operate within the ambit, his records are strong, exemplary, transparent and committed in resolving internal crisis, this offers good example of Buni’s leadership style before emerging the Yobe state Governor. 

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Gov. Buni Restoring Sanity in APC



Gov. Buni Restoring Sanity in APC 

By Haruna Yusuf Abuja 

The chairman of the ruling All progressive congress (APC) caretaker/Extraordinary National convention committee and the Yobe state Governor, Hon. Mai Mala Buni is an astute manager of people and an all inclusive leader who carries everyone along irrespective of tribe, religion or political inclination. On assumption of office as the caretaker chairman of the ruling all progressive congress, the first and bold step he took was to pay homage/consult to the party leaders, he first visited Bisi Akande who is also relevant in the party politics before meeting with the cofounder Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to seek for support and advice on how to sanitize and bring back all the aggrieved members who left or stopped participating in the party affairs for one reason or the other.  

The APC caretaker chairman, in his inaugural address after members of the committee were inaugurated assured party members that his led committee would work tirelessly on both short and long term strategies to reposition and bring the lost sanity back to the party, but all he will need is the support and cooperation of the members in other to achieve the reconciliation exercise, all hands must be on deck. 

This is therefore another opportunity for Buni to bring complete sanity 
back in APC, with his courage of conviction and sense of purpose as the national secretary of the party for 5 years, it is time to show the world what he has achieved in the task to chart the critical path to total political and economic emancipation of the people from the grip of PDP in the 2015 general elections. 

With all modesty, one political truth about Buni, is that he is a man gifted with a high degree of intelligence, experience, charismatic leadership and steadfastness needed to fix and restore sanity in APC, with his political insight in the game. Hon. Mai Mala Buni is among those who ushered in the current political dispensation and was the pioneer Yobe state chairman of the Action congress (AC) and later the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) who are both legacy of APC. 

No one can go back in time to change what has happened, so, let’s work on the present to make our party one united family and stronger, Buni said. politicians will always have one of their own because the National chairman of the ruling  All progressive congress (APC) Hon. Mai Mala Buni was Born and bred by politics, he became a councillor when the NRC and SDP were birthed. Records of Buni’s Journey through the maze of Nigeria politics indicates that though he may have been or still is the most charismatic and industrious servant, his sweetest dreams somehow always seem to evade him at the moment he needs them the most. 

Gov. Buni is one man you’ll always want in your corner during political battle s, his frankness on issues is second to none and always maintained his word. In his few days as the National Chairman of the ruling all progressive congress (APC) he demonstrated to party members and Nigeria as a whole that ” he who calls for equity must come with clean hands” making it clear that the party can contain all and sundry, also ready and willing to resolve all issues with every aggrieved member. That the door is always opened for negotiation and welcoming new members to the progressives. 

Mai Mala Buni is known as Mr “Fixer” on his assumption of office he has received Dogara Yakubu and Senator Isah Misau the two powerful political gladiators from Bauchi, Returnees from across the states and he reconciled Edo/Ondo and put in place machineries ahead of the elections.
He reconciled all the APC state chairmen and pleaded with all the aggrieved party members who left to come back and partake in the affairs of the party, that’s the beginning of the return of sanity in APC. 

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How Gov. Buni’s Giant Strides will Turn The Fortunes Of Yobeans Around



How Gov. Buni’s Giant Strides Will Turn The Fortunes Of Yobeans Around 

By Haruna Yusuf

Yobe state, a society with a rich history, with sons and daughters who have excelled and continue to excel in all fields of endeavour within the country and in many parts of the world; An agrarian state with huge economic potential has came to limelight in this led administration of Hon. Mai Mala Buni, the government is working aggressively to get Yobe back to reckoning by creating wealth and new jobs within different sectors, like training, infrastructure financing and access to skills and acquisition among others.

Yobe is becoming a shinning example of what governance should be about at all levels. Buni’s administration is a government that is dedicated to service and partnership with the people are engendered by trust, the government is open, transparent, honest and unpretentious all the time.

Since his assumption of office as the democratically elected Governor on 29may 2019, governance in Yobe has been tagged “promise made & kept”  because it has not been a pleasure ride as usual, it became serious business. Serious business doesn’t keep your shoes clean and the captain also doesn’t suffer his with such unnecessary pleasures he matches on, leading the change and never panting despite of the movements energized pace, no one cares to dare a tall man, you’d be left behind. 

The first achievement was on education, as education is the first priority of a child, been the fountain of knowledge that we are branded as, and education can become a means to an end, and can be deployed for economic growth and ensure it makes significant impacts in the life of the society.

The infrastructural sector in Buni’s government is one of a kind, in the course of giving dividend of democracy to the people. His administration keyed into projects that will impact directly in the life of the people, projects that enhance economic development and social stability in the state. The construction of Trailer Transit park and mechanic village in potiskum. The 3,600 housing units that cut across  the state, the Sunday market that is almost about completion to a modern standard, it will bring about revenue generation, empowerment of traders and also promote environmental sanitation. 

 Gov. Mai Mala Buni noted that the more reflects the policy of his administration to provide quality and affordable housing to the people of his state. inline with the united nations sustainable development Goals( SDGs) we believe that affordable housing is a key marker of social progress when people have comfortable accommodations, they are more likely to have right frame of mind to engage in meaningful socioeconomic activities. 

Buni triggered revolution on agriculture as Yobe is an agrarian state, thus, agriculture becomes a veritable engine growth, he distributed 108 tractors to the 17 local government areas and provide fertilizers at a subsidized price to ease farmers suffering. He also signed a pack with the kingdom of morocco to bring about modern mechanized system of farming and the production of high quality and value added products and also publicize the abundant hidden natural resources to the limelight of the world.

As part of Buni’s determination to institute a functional primary healthcare system, 178 healthcare facilities is ongoing in the 17 local government areas of the state and assigned the personnel required to manage them effectively. An MOU was also signed between Yobe Government, Bill & Melinda gates & Dangote foundations to carter for the state on primary healthcare services. Free Dialysis for kidney patients and free medical services for pregnant women till they give birth, medical service for accident victims irrespective of state, if you’re in Yobe or it occurred around the state.

Gov. Buni’s government empowers youths, women and less privileged through state emergency management (SEMA) and sustainable development Goals (SDGs) training and empowering them with necessary equipment and cash to takeoff. 

Buni’s frankness on issues is second to none, he says it as it is, to whoever it is, at whatever time matters come to a head, that’s why he is known to be a man with few words. Today everyone can see his record card, he has scored extremely well and shown prudence especially in the use of resources of the state. That lends credence to why we should appreciate the courage and sincerity of purpose of this personality in rising to the sacred state and national duties.

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