On Friday, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila as his Chief of Staff and former Jigawa State Deputy Governor Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia as his Deputy.
In a press announcement by State House Director of Information Abiodun Oladunjoye, the President also appointed former Governor of Benue State and Minister of Special Duties George Akume as SGF.
Gbajabiamila took his position as President’s Chief of Staff Friday afternoon.
Gbajabiamila thanked Tinubu for choosing him, saying his 20 years at the National Assembly prepared him for the job.
“I shall work with Mr. President in discharging the enormous task ahead for the peace and progress of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he stated. As per Mr. President’s formal letter, I’ll do my best when I take office on June 14, 2023.
Nigeria’s new President’s Chief of Staff has political experience.
Tinubu and the CoS, known as “Gbaja,” have maintained a long-standing friendship.
His main job as Chief of Staff is to assist the President. He will represent the President to government, political, and stakeholder leaders.
The Chief of Staff, the President’s “gatekeeper,” has no constitutional powers. The office’s impact on decision-making is significant.
Abbas, Sani Applaud Appointments
Tajudeen Abbas, the APC’s 10th National Assembly Speaker candidate, congratulated Gbajabiamila on his appointment as President’s Chief of Staff.
Abbas said Gbajabiamila’s appointment shows his pedigree, capacity, and competency to handle any national job.
Kaduna State’s Zaria Federal Constituency congressman applauded President Tinubu’s decision.
He added Gbajabiamila brings two decades of parliamentary experience as Minority Whip, Minority Leader, Majority/House Leader, and Speaker.
By naming Gbajabiamila Chief of Staff, Tinubu showed he is a talent hunter and strategist, Abbas added.
Senator Shehu Sani praised Tinubu for not picking a former governor from the North-west geopolitical zone as his Chief of Staff.
Senator Sani tweeted Friday, “If President Tinubu had appointed any of the North-west governors as his Chief of Staff, he would have incubated serpents in his palace.”
President Tinubu was rumoured to name Nasiru el Rufai or Ganduje as Chief of Staff.
Senator Sani called George Akume’s SGF appointment fair for the North-central.
He asked Tinubu to avoid nepotism in security chief appointments, “like former President Buhari did and yet the North was not saved from the hands of bandits and other non-state actors,” and urged the new president to do things differently.
Gbajabiamlila, born June 25, 1962, studied at Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, and King Williams College, Isle of Man, UK, for his Advanced Level.
He earned a Bachelor of Law from the University of Lagos after graduating first in his class. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1984.
Gbajabiamila began his legal career in Lagos with Bentley, Edu and Co., where he was disciplined and hardworking. After Bentley, Edu and Co., he founded Femi Gbaja and Co.
He attended John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1998. Magna Cum Laude and Juris Doctor from John Marshall. He later passed the Georgia Bar examinations and opened another successful law business till he returned to Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila entered partisan politics on the Alliance for Democracy platform and was elected six times to represent Surulere 1 Federal Constituency of Lagos in the National Assembly.
The CoS always supported truth and justice, reflecting his citizens’ wishes. He was Chairman of the 2007 House movement that ended Olusegun Obasanjo’s “third term agenda” during the “third term debate.”
Gbajabiamila sponsored the most National Assembly bills during his second stint as Minority Whip.
Gbajabiamila advocated stricter National Award nomination standards by amending the 1964 National Honours Act. He became the youngest Nigerian to reject National Honours after late Chinua Achebe and Prof. Grace Alele-Williams.
Gbajabiamila ran for 8th House Speaker in 2015. He almost lost that election. On June 12, 2019, he was decisively elected 9th House of Representatives Speaker.
Gbajabiamila chaired the Conference of African Parliament Speakers.
Akume, from Wannune, Tarka Council Area, Benue State, was born on December 27, 1953.
He earned a Bachelor of Sociology in 1978 and a Master of Industrial and Labour Relations in 1986 from the University of Ibadan.
Senator Akume was Minority Leader from June 2011 to June 2015.
From May 1999 to May 2007, he was Governor of Benue State and Senate Committee on Army Chairman.
The Action Congress of Nigeria re-elected Akume as Benue North-west Senator in April 2011. He was re-elected in 2015 but lost to Peoples Democratic Party Senator Orke Jev in 2019.
Buhari appointed Akume Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs in 2019.