Members of the Federal Executive Council are pushing for the appointment of one of them as the next Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, The Nation gathered last night.
Some of the ministers are already reaching out to key strategists and advisors to President Muhammadu Buhari on why one of them should be in charge of his schedules.
The President is said to be waiting for the mourning period for the late Mallam Abba Kyari to be over before making his mind known on the next CoS.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday that it was not in any way involved in the process of picking Kyari’s successor.
The ministers, according to sources, are rooting for one of them as CoS because of what they term as “better synergy.”
They are also of the view that a cabinet candidate would be able to fast-track decision-making on issues.
It was however unclear last night whether the President was in agreement with the position of his minister although one source said the slot would remain in the North.
Some of the favoured cabinet members are Education Minister Adamu Adamu (arguably the closest to the President); Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Water Resources Minister Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Transportation(Aviation), Sen. Hadi Sirika; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Duties, Ya’u Shehu Darazo; Justice Minister Abubakar Malami (SAN); Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq; Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi; and Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola among others.
A top source said: “Although the Chief of Staff is a personal staff of the President, ministers are desirous of one of them as the successor to Kyari. Some of them are lobbying for the appointment of one of them.
“Their argument is that it will enhance synergy between the President and his cabinet since ministers now report to the Chief of Staff.
They are also saying that time is no longer on the side of the government; the President needs a Chief of Staff who can fast-track decision-making and implementation.
“The ministers have no particular preference but they have a mindset on who they like if given the chance to pick.
“The President is still keeping mum on his choice until after the mourning of his late Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Definitely, the new Chief of Staff will come from the North. The President might favour a loyal and long-standing associate for the job.
“The number of aspirants for the office has grown but it is difficult to say who the President will pick.”
APC not involved in who becomes the new COS
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday that it has no role to play in determining or influencing who emerges as the next Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
It said the appointment of CoS who is a personal aide to the Chief Executive is at the discretion of the President.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said in an interview in Abuja that the clarification became necessary following pressure being mounted by some party organs, chieftains and close associates of the President on who is to be appointed to replace Mallam Abba Kyari who died penultimate Friday in Lagos.
He said: “The office of a Chief of Staff is not a statutory position. That position is that of a personal aide to the President.
“The office, the power and authority as well as the duties and responsibilities of the person that occupies the position are determined solely by the President.
“The party is not involved and will not be involved in the appointment. We understand perfectly that the appointment of Chief of Staff is at the discretion of the President. It is the President who knows what he wants from the person he wants to appoint, so it does not concern anybody or the party.
“The President has an idea of what he wants from his Chief of Staff and he understands the kind of person that can deliver to him. The office of Chief of Staff is not a constitutional matter. He (President) may not even have the office, he may decide to scrap the office completely and he will not be breaking any law of the land.”
Issa-Onilu said the party frowned at the tension being generated since the demise of Kyari and warned all those putting pressure on the President to desist from doing so. “People are just making a mountain out of a mole hill. Why should anybody or the party influence who to choose?” he queried.
But when asked if the pressure on the President was not a distraction, the APC Chieftain said the President could not be distracted by the “unwarranted pressure”.
“If we underrate the capacity of Mr. President, we may think he is distracted, but, we as a party understand that the President cannot be distracted. He is a man of his own mind. He knows what he wants and has the capacity to do what he wants to do. He is a man whose decisions are guided by the interest of the nation.”
‘Office of Chief of Staff isn’t a piece of cake’- Ex-CoS to Jonathan
Ex-Chief of Staff to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Brig-Gen Jones Oladeinde Arogbofa has said the office is not a piece of cake as the responsibilities are “highly demanding.”
Speaking on a radio programme in Osogbo on Friday, he said the position demands of the holder immense loyalty and intellectual competency.
He said: “The responsibilities of a Chief of Staff to the president are numerous but it falls under two major descriptions; managerial and advisory.
“A Chief of Staff must be able to manage the affairs of the President in terms of staff and other issues. You have to control the flow of people into Aso Rock and presidency, selection of key Presidential staff, and supervise them.
“Manage the flow of information, manage correspondence of the president, protect the interests of his interest, negotiate with the National Assembly and other branches of government, ensure that physical and emotional pressure on president is reduced to the barest minimum, protect the president from undue influences.
“The CoS must serve as ear and eyes of the president and tell the president the truth even if it is bitter. Guiding of the president on how to act on issues and many others.
“If anyone wants to be chief of staff, such person must have a lot of energy to work because many at times the work is highly demanding and the president calls at every point in time to discuss national issues. Nigeria is big and only one man is managing it, he needs support. The President contends with economic, security, and political development.
“The President needs someone who is loyal, dedicated, ethical, intellectually sound and can take the speck to do the job. You must not embarrass the president in addressing issues. The chief of staff to the president must be trustworthy because the president must rely on the chief of staff and believed that you can’t join hands with others against him. The office is not a piece of cake.”