Jonathan’s bloated list of aides – PUNCH

“Let’s face it, the increase in fuel price, by whatever name called, is aimed at increasing the revenue base of government at all tiers. And why do the government need more funds? One reason is to be able to meet its obligations. Much of that unfortunately is to sustain the humongous governance structure made up of unnecessary list of political offices and officers created and appointed to settle the inept ruling/political class.

Let’s start by looking at the list and designations of aides in the Presidency and see if they are necessary at all. President Goodluck Jonathan in June 2011 sought and obtained the approval of Senate to appoint 20 advisers to assist him in running his government. However, the President has, in apparent breach of the number of aides approved for him, gone ahead to appoint at least 24 advisers as at the last count.

Beyond exceeding the number, the designations of the appointees also raise serious questions as to the necessity of the appointments. Let’s consider a few.

Dr. Tunji Olagunju, Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD and Dr. Pius Olakunle Osunyikanmi, Special Adviser to the President on International Relations. Apparently, these two offices could have been handled by a single person. Besides, why do we have to appoint a special adviser to the president on these when there is a ministry of foreign affairs with more than one minister, permanent secretary, directors and possibly a department in charge of NEPAD?

Mr. Oronto Douglas, Special Adviser to the President on Research and Strategy. Sentiments aside, what exactly is the role of this office and couldn’t it have been carried out by a permanent employee in the Presidency?

Prof. Abubakar Sambo, Special Adviser to the President on Energy. Really? What distinctive ‘special advice’ is the President expecting from the incumbent here that the ministers for petroleum, energy and power cannot give?

Mrs. Sarah Akuben Pane, Special Adviser to the President on Social Development. One is too stumped to even comment on this. Mrs. Sarah Jibril, Special Adviser to the President on Ethics and Values. What a joke! Who even monitors what, if any, work some of these appointees have been carrying out?

Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs. What would the minister and the minister of state for the Niger Delta ministry be doing and what about the head of the Niger Delta Development Commission?

Prof. Dan Adebiyi, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties and Senator Isaiah Ballat, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties (Office of the Vice-President). Could someone please unpack this designation for us. Same request suffices for Nze Sullivan Akachukwu Nwakpo, Special Adviser to the President on Technical Matters and for Mrs. Asma’u Abdulkadir, Special Adviser to the President on Gender Issues. What on earth amounts to ‘technical matters’?

And there are also Yakubu Abdullahi, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters (Office of the Vice President); Mr. Bashir Sufyan, Special Adviser to the President on Legal Matters (Office of the Vice-President).

Professor Nwanze Okidegbe, Economic Adviser to the President. What economic advice would this officer give the President that the National Economic Management Team members including the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Planning cannot?

Senator Ben Obi, Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs. There is absolutely no reason to appoint a special adviser for just this function, when there is Ahmed Gulak, Political Adviser to the President just as the designation of Dr Mariam Ali, Special Adviser to the President on Inter-governmental Affairs.

Perhaps the most curious is the Special Adviser (New Media), Reno Omokri. In clear terms, he is special adviser on Twitter and Facebook matters! This is aside the fact that there is a Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity. Strangely, the ‘Twitter and Facebook special adviser’ is not attached to the office of the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity but to the Special Adviser, Research and Strategy.

By the way, these special advisers would ordinarily have their own personal assistants and other aides.

•Obo Effanga is Governance Coordinator, ActionAid Nigeria,”
What are you thinking?

One Response to “Jonathan’s bloated list of aides – PUNCH”

  1. Mr Egiga Innocent says:

    We can understand with the President as a culture and tradition buys as you can see,its becoming an issue of National concern that we have decided to feed people with our oil moneys for doing nothing and up till date people don’t see anything wrong with all those style of governance.
    Well its time that has come and governance will soon be reduced to a functional size with high return on investment.
    Mr Egiga innocent
    DG-Nigeria for Goodluck


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