Ahead of his takeover on May 29 as the 16th President of Nigeria, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has already begun team building, with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said to have been penciled in as his Chief of Staff.
Also believed to being considered for some serious roles in the coming administration are his former Commissioner for Finance, Wale Edun and the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, among other familiar faces currently being identified for different roles.This is as a renowned playwright and popular Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has warned Tinubu against failing to restructure the country, saying it was the only way out of the current national ordeal.
Soyinka, who spoke in some of the snippets released of his exclusive interview with Channels Television, further maintained that Nigerians would never stop demanding restructuring, hence, it was the way to go.
However, in readiness for his administration’s take-off next month, THISDAY gathered that Gbajabiamila, has already begun to discharge the duties of the chief of staff to Tinubu, having unofficially resumed with him in France, with a view to working out processes and plans, including calendarising his activities.
“He has technically resumed with him in Paris, and they are trying to work out process and plans,” an insider told THISDAY, adding that the president-elect was already looking at building national security and economic team.
According to the source, Tinubu has appointed Edu and Bagudu into his economic team, which he considered a critical sector requiring attention immediately he assumes office.
The source hinted thus: “Wale is supposed to be the coordinator of the economy, either as Finance Minister or the CBN governor. It is not clear yet what his plans are for Bagudu. But he has also been penciled in and is going to be operating at a very high and serious level in the administration.”
Meanwhile, Soyinka, has insisted that if Tinubu wanted to succeed as president and given the state of the country, then, there would be no alternative to restructuring, an idea Tinubu also pushed as opposition and progressive before his party gained power. For years, there has been several calls for restructuring in Africa’s most populous nation, including the demand for the establishment of multi-level policing to curb Nigeria’s rising crime rate.
Last year, Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation, Americas (NIDOA), argued that by restructuring the nation, Nigeria’s diversity in religion and culture would be leveraged as a positive force for development.The group maintained that the 1999 constitution was enacted by a decree of a former military head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, without recourse to the Nigerian people.
Among top Nigerians that have also urged the government to restructure included former President Olusegun Obasanjo, nonagenarian, Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku and Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.But, in what appeared a major step forward last week, Buhari appended his signature to the decentralisation of the country’s electricity grid as well as the prisons service. Also included for decentralisation in the new law is the country’s railway service.
However, speaking during an interview on Roadmap 2023, a Channels Television’s programme that highlights election issues and tracks personalities, Soyinka said the government of Tinubu must place a renewed focus on the persistent calls for restructuring the Nigerian federation, a position the president-elect had long embraced when he was in the opposition and projecting progressivism.
He explained that otherwise, Tinubu’s programmes and policies would face serious challenges if his advice was not heeded.“Whomever it is, must understand that the people of this country will not cease demanding a restructuring of this nation. New voices are being heard and they are more powerful than before. They are not just whining voices, they are voices based on actualities.“We have failed in so many directions and they are saying, ‘let us try in this direction’ and you cannot ignore it. Otherwise, even your economic policies will fail, your infrastructure and transformation will fail. We will just go back threading the same old spur,” he stated.Soyinka further noted that a mould had been broken during the just concluded elections.