Ahead of his May 29 inauguration as the 16th President of Nigeria, President-elect Bola Tinubu has already begun assembling his team, with Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, rumoured to be his Chief of Staff.
Wale Edun, his former commissioner for finance, and Atiku Bagudu, the governor of Kebbi state, are rumoured to be under consideration for important positions in the incoming administration, among other recognisable faces now identified for various positions.
Prof. Wole Soyinka, a renowned writer and popular Nobel Laureate, has cautioned Tinubu against failing to reorganise the country, stating that it is the only option to escape the current national crisis.
Soyinka, who was quoted in some of the excerpts from his exclusive interview with Channels Television, added that Nigerians would never cease to seek restructuring, hence it was the best course of action.
However, THISDAY has learned that Gbajabiamila has already begun discharging his duties as Tinubu’s chief of staff, having unofficially resumed with him in France in order to work out processes and plans, including calendaring his activities, in preparation for his administration’s launch next month.
“Technically, he has resumed with him in Paris, and they are attempting to hash out process and strategies,” an insider told THISDAY, adding that the president-elect was already considering the formation of national security and economic teams.
According to the source, Tinubu has selected Edu and Bagudu to his economic team, which he views as a vital sector requiring quick attention upon his inauguration.
The insider hints, “Wale is presumed to be the economic coordinator, either as Finance Minister or CBN governor.” It is currently unclear what his intentions are regarding Bagudu. Yet, he is also scheduled to operate at a very high and serious level within the administration.”
Soyinka, meantime, has emphasised that if Tinubu wants to succeed as president and given the current status of the country, there is no option but restructuring, a concept Tinubu also advocated as an opposition member and a progressive before his party came to power.
There have been numerous requests for restructuring in the most populous nation in Africa for years, including the demand for multi-level policing to combat Nigeria’s growing crime rate.
Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation, Americas (NIDOA) suggested a year ago that by reforming the nation, Nigeria’s religious and cultural diversity might be used as a driver for progress.
The group contended that Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former military chief of state, unilaterally implemented the 1999 constitution without consulting the Nigerian people.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the nonagenarian Ayo Adebanjo, the head of Afenifere, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Abubakar Atiku, and Governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir el-Rufai have all asked the government to reorganise.
This week, though, in what appeared to be a huge step forward, Buhari signed off on the decentralisation of the country’s electrical infrastructure and jail service. The new law also calls for the decentralisation of the country’s railway service.
During an interview on Roadmap 2023, a Channels Television programme that focuses on election issues and profiles personalities, Soyinka stated that Tinubu’s government must place a renewed emphasis on the persistent calls for restructuring the Nigerian federation, a position the president-elect had long advocated while in the opposition and projecting progressivism.
He explained that Tinubu’s programmes and strategies would face significant obstacles if his advise was disregarded.
“Whoever it is must realise that the people of this country will continue to demand a reorganisation of the government. Fresh voices are being heard, and they are stronger than in the past. They are not merely whiny voices, but voices grounded in reality.
“We’ve failed in so many different directions, and now they’re saying, ‘Let’s try this’; you can’t ignore it. Otherwise, your economic strategies, infrastructure, and change will all fail. He indicated that we shall return to threading the same old spur.
Soyinka remarked further that a paradigm had been shattered during the recently finished elections.
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