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Top 4 Major Contenders for Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Chief of Staff Position



Ahead of the unveiling of President-elect Bola Tinubu’s cabinet members, there are strong indications that Babatunde Fashola, Dele Alake or Femi Gbajabiamila may be considered to lead Tinubu’s State House administrative team as the Chief of Staff (CoS).
A national daily, gathered that the trio was being considered because of their experience and close relationship with the president-elect.
A source within the inner caucus of the president-elect told BusinessDay that the odds appeared to favour Gbajabiamila.
“You know that Femi (Gbajabiamila) is not going back to the House to become the Speaker. So, he has nothing to lose. He is seriously being considered. Is he the only name being mentioned? The answer is no. Babatunde Fashola and Dele Alake are on the card,” the source said.
Gbajabiamila is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives. Fashola is the minister of works and housing, while Alake was the director of strategic communication of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council.
The Office of the CoS to the President wields a strong influence on the administrative machinery through the roles the position confers.
The office was created by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and modeled after that of the White House Chief of Staff to the American President.
The duties are usually assigned by the President but they are primarily focused on managing the flow of information and people, advising the President on various issues and exercising control over the President’s personal staff.

At a recent meeting at the Presidential Villa, Gbajabiamila had denied knowledge of being considered as the CoS to the incoming President.
The insinuation, BusinessDay had gathered, was occasioned by his absence at the event where the Independent National Electoral Commission issued certificates of return to the newly elected lawmakers.

“I don’t know anything about that Chief of Staff thing. All I heard was that I didn’t come here last week to pick up my certificate and for that reason, somebody conjectured that I must be in line for the office because I didn’t care about my mandate,” he said.
“I was in Lagos and I could not leave Lagos because I was campaigning for my party. That’s number one. Again, it’ll interest you to known that I was not here four years ago to pick up my certificate because I couldn’t make it,” he added.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has also dispelled the rumours of him jostling to become Chief of Staff in President-elect Sen. Bola Tinubu’s cabinet.
El-Rufai stated this in Gombe on Saturday while addressing newsmen.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that El-Rufai was in the state to inaugurate the construction of 550 housing units and Gombe Geographic Information Systems (GOGIS) Service Centre.
He described the reports on the different portfolios being assigned to him and published on national dailies as “mere speculations”.
The governor said he was more interested in contributing to the development of Nigeria than jostling for positions.
El-Rufai noted that being in government was not the only way to contribute to Nigeria’s development, saying even if he was not in government, he would remain committed to the progress of the country.
“I have not had that discussion with the president-elect and I don’t like to speculate.
“I read in the newspapers all kinds of portfolios assigned to me but you know, I am a committed Nigerian.
“I want to see my country make progress and whatever I can do to contribute to the development of the country, I will do it.
“But, I don’t have to do it working in government. Everyone who is working either in the private sector or civil society is contributing.
“There is not just one way to contribute to the country and I will never stop working for Nigeria’s progress,” he said.
The governor said upon leaving office in the next 22 days, he would take a break but be available to provide advice, where needed, on how to move the country forward.
While El-rufai denies it, a Niger Delta group under the aegis of the National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators, NCNDE-A has urged the President-Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to as a matter of necessity, appoint Mr. James Abiodun Faleke as his Chief of Staff, noting the politician has the wherewithal to manage the affairs of the Presidency with a nationalistic mind without let or hindrance.
This was made known by the National Coordinator of the group, Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro in a statement issued in Asaba, the Delta State capital, maintaining that the office of the Chief of Staff needs a character and strong personality like Faleke, who he described in glowing terms saying he is like a football midfielder, who can manage with clinical efficiency the day to day activities of the Presidency.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola had described the rumours going around that he will be President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, as extremely ridiculous.
Fashola, in an interview on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said he is unlikely to become Tinubu’s Chief of Staff this time around after he played that role for four and half years when Tinubu was governor of Lagos State.
When asked directly by the interviewer if he would be playing the role this time around, Fashola replied: “Unlikely, I don’t think so. I think it is a good point you raised, it think it is extremely ridiculous and I say it without apology, we begin to choose offices for a nation that represents the largest black nation on earth on social media and we should stop it.
“I think we have elected the president, let us wait for him to be sworn in and let us respect the privilege and the prerogative he has to constitute his team, no serious nation does what rascals are doing on social media, saying this one is this, this one is that, picking ministers and so on.
“We just saw over two years ago when Biden was elected, there were nothing like that, we should stop ridiculing this country, it is not social engagement.”

Another National daily had reported the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, seems to have assumed the role of Chief of Staff to President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Ahead of his inauguration on May 29, 2023 as President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, has reportedly begab team building, with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said to have been penciled down as his Chief of Staff.
According to a report, 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.
The Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria is a high-ranking official who manages the Office of the President. A CoS duties as assigned by the President are primarily focused on managing the flow of information and people and advising the president on various issues.

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