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

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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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Opinion

Applauding Governor Buni’s 365 days in Office. So far, So good

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Applauding Governor Buni’s 365 days in office. So far, So good

By Haruna Yusuf

Despite Yobe’s prudent management of fund, Yobe state Gov. Hon. Mai Mala Buni, remained a silent achiever and has performed wonderfully in his one year in office, that’s what even his opposition can attest to.

Gov. Buni is indeed a silent achiever, because he has achieved the best for his people in the one year of his led administration, he has achieved the design in achievement and projects, we believe that solution have been provided by the government of Yobe to the good people of the state.

Despite the lean allocation, Gov. Buni has achieved a lot, especially in the areas of education, healthcare, security, portable drinking water, electricity, affordable housing scheme, infrastructural upgrade, job creation investment in skill Acquisition and entrepreneural development etc.

Whether it is an organization or government, that is making people’s lives better, the common trait of a silent achiever, according to Scott Graham, is that ” they achieve results silently (obviously) they deliver without fuss, they solve problems and deliver solutions, they are innovative and above all, they inspire people” that’s who Gov. Buni is.

Outstanding achievers like Buni are few and not common, every nation or society boasts only a handful. They have become even more harder to find these days, when common measure for “strong ” is how loud, and for “weak” is how quite.

Since the commencement of Gov. Buni as the 4th democratically elected Governor of Yobe state on 29may 2019, he has embarked on programmes that directly impact the populace, irrespective of tribe, religion, status or political affiliation. Especially when it became a new day for the youths of the state and their involvement in the state affairs and cabinet inclusion.

Most of the programmes have been deliberately designed to create maximum impact among the beneficiaries rather than being used as propaganda tool to hoodwink the people.

Governor Mai Mala Buni, is a thinker and a doer, one who sets out to achieve his set goals silently, peacefully, yet effectively.

Today, everyone can see Buni’s report card, he have scored extremely well, he have shown prudency especially in the use of resources of the state, Buni made Yobeans very proud.

His Excellency, Hon. Mai Mala Buni is very quite, very peaceful, not a noise maker, but he is delivering on the job he signed to do.
Even as a National secretary of the ruling all progressive Congress (Apc) he towered above his contemporaries 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 duty.

So far, So good, Gov. Buni has kept faith with his words of being a *servant leader”
Because, just within 365 days of his assumption of duty, he has demonstrated to the people and state at Large that, ” he who calls for equity must come with clean hands”

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Opinion

Tsangaya Model School; A lesson to learn from Wammako

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Tsangaya Model School; A lesson to learn from Wammako

By Mahmoud Mohammed

In 2007 Wammako’s led  adiministration then introduced tsangaya Model school popularly known as Almajiri school many people were against it, but today, only Sokoto state was able tto contain the Almajiri’s and get a soft landing.

Other States across the country today are busy trading words over the transfer Almajiri’s, while Sokoto has successfully find turn to the menace and brought them under one umbrella called “tsangaya school” which today is been controlled by SUBEB.

Hopefully, after Corona virus pendemic, most of the Northern states would definitely learn from Wammako’s past adiministration blue print instead allowing them to go about the street like, Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa, Borno  Wammako the immediate past Governor of Sokoto who initiated the school has today carter for many pupils in Sokoto which over the time create opportunity to several “Alabama’s” to earn teaching profession.

As at the time of filling this report, several tsangaya school teachers have earned as well aquired more steps in their education degree’s level.

I understood that during the period which Wammako introduced the school, most street beggars allegedly arres were send to the tsangaya and this has curtail street begging to the bearest minimum. Today, with the development of Covid -19 while many states of the federation are thinking of solution to Almajiri’s, Sokoto was able to come up with solution to this effect.

Meanwhile, when other state are waiting for FG palliative, already a solutions has been made and this was past legacy of Wammakko, the “Zakat and Endowment Fund”, has been on the ground sharing grains, money and animals among other. So, people of Sokoto should thank God for what Wammakko has done to the people since his administration to-date. Mahmoud Muhammad is a political commentators as well Analyst Base in Kaduna.

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Opinion

Waziri Guza; The Man Behind Foundation For Literacy & Skill Acquisition Potiskum

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Waziri Guza; The Man Behind Foundation For Literacy & Skill Acquisition Potiskum

By Haruna Yusuf

Alhaji Ali Muhammadu Guza, is a Businessman, politician and a great philanthropist of all times, he is known to be an astute manager of people and a selfless, cheerful helper with a heart of Gold.

He is a traditional title holder, kingmaker and the waziri of pataskum but known by many as Potiskum the biggest local government of Yobe state. Waziri Guza find solace in helping the less privilege, vulnerable and persons with disability regardless of races, tribe religion or political affiliation.

Whether it is an organization or an individual making people’s lives better, the common trait of quite achiever, according to Scott Graham, is that “they achieve result quitly (obviously) they deliver with fuss, they solve problems and deliver solutions, they are innovative and above all, they inspire us.

But despite the growing unpopularity of being a quite achiever, there are still few Nigerians who have persisted in this noble path, and one of such persons is the unassuming personality, Alhaji Ali Muhammadu Guza the waziri of potiskum emirate council of Yobe state.

Waziri Guza will never accede to being unduly recognized across the state for his philanthropic services and benevolence hands towards eradicating illiteracy in his immediate community but he also prefer working in silence and letting his achievement make the noise.

This article will not attempt to rob him of that distinguishing attribute nevertheless, i strongly believe it would be a disservice to humanity if the noble deeds of silent achiever are allowed to remain unsung

Waziri Guza create a foundation (charity organization) channelled on education and skill acquisition. It help enroll children of the less privilege, vulnerable and children with disability attain their dreams.and gives the unemployed youths hope.

The flagship of these programmes is channelled the access to Basic education and job creation through skill acquisition program.

Foundation for literacy and skill acquisition in collaboration with Association for literacy support, Abuja. It provides free education basic education to children in the community and around and it operates a central hub and accessible education to all and sundry.

The Foundation carries out regular awareness campaign on child education and job creation.

The aim is to bridge the learning gap between the privilege and less privilege and children with disability in the society.
Nevertheless, Lawan Ali Guza the son of Waziri Guza is not let out of the philanthropic service, because he is the engine room of the foundation, he also deserves acolade of selfless service to humanity.

Lastly, Waziri Guza is a seasoned politician and a die-hard and unrepentant follower of His Excellency, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, the executive Governor of Yobe state, he played a key role in Gov. Buni’s electioneering campaign and a man of no mean repute and also known as astute mobilizer and manager of people.

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