Despite the dire state of Nigeria’s economy, President Bola Tinubu has appointed more people to his media team, further inflating the size of government at a time of clamor to cut administrative spending.
The President on Monday appointed five more persons to the Presidential Advisory Media Committee, bringing the total number of such appointments to at least 11.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelele, listed the new appointees as Fela Durodoye, who will serve as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Values and Social Justice. Engagement, and Linda Akigbe, Senior Special Assistant on Strategic Communications.
Aliyu Audu was appointed as Special Assistant on Public Affairs and Francis Aba as Personal Assistant to the President.
The statement added that Mrs. Akigbe will also serve as the Communications Adviser to the Chairman of the ECOWAS Commission pending her appointment as Senate Correspondent for Channels Television.
In a bitter insensitivity to the hardships of the country’s ongoing economic crises and the government’s removal of fuel subsidy that has engulfed millions of Nigerians, a growing characteristic of the administration, the president’s son, Seyi Tinubu, recently flew in the presidential jet from Abuja. To see the game of polo in Kano at the expense of public funds.
In July, Mr Tinubu, who took office in May, made 20 new appointments, including no less than six of his media aides.
Among them are Tunde Rahman SSA (Media); Abdulaziz Abdulaziz (SSA Print Media); O’tega Ogra, SSA (Digital/New Media); Tope Ajay, SSA (Media and Public Affairs); Sekun Dada – Special Assistant (Social Media); Nosa Asemota – Special Assistant (Visual Communication).
In the same month, he announced Mr Nkelele as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.
In September, mid 26 nominations Although the appointees are supposed to work in the vice president’s office, some are related to the media, the president said.
Stanley Nkwocha SSA Media and Publicity and SSA Digital Media and Emergency Management Ahmed Ningi were appointed.
President Tinubu may have surpassed his predecessors in making appointments to the Presidential Media Group.
It has appointed 48 Ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff and other special assistants to assist the President in managing various sectors including economy, defence, tax, health, SDGs, education, food and agriculture. .
Presidential appointees already number in the hundreds.
Under his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, only two persons served as presidential spokespersons, which was unprecedented.
Femi Adesina, a former Managing Director of Sun Newspapers and former President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), served as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, while Garba Shehu, another former President of NGE, was Special Assistant on Media.
A former editor of the Saturday Nigerian Tribune, Lawolu Akande, was the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the then Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Ima Niboro and Reuben Abati served at different times as Special Advisers on Media to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2012, Toyin Okube, a doctor, joined Mr Jonathan’s media team as Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs. He previously served as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
With the new appointments, President Tinubu may be turning a blind eye to calls to cut administrative costs. There is no doubt that the proliferation of presidential aides will strain the country’s economy and its fragile resources.
Rising administrative expenditure consumes a large portion of the national budget without allocating it for development projects. Overheads, personnel costs, debt service, and other recurring costs take up a large portion of federal spending.
Notably, since assuming power, the President and some of his aides have repeatedly appealed to Nigerians to be patient with his administration.
„I assure the country that any decision taken by this administration will not be difficult for the prosperity and unity of this country. Economic reforms may be slow. Be a little more patient,” he once said while addressing some members of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
As recently as October 1, Mr Tinubu, in his Independence Day annual broadcast, noted that his administration had undertaken several public sector reforms to stabilize the economy and direct fiscal and monetary policy to combat inflation.
According to him, the reforms were aimed at promoting productivity, ensuring safety of lives and property and providing greater support to the poor and vulnerable.
He, however, acknowledged that the reforms may be painful but necessary to secure a better future for Nigeria.
„We now bear the costs of achieving a future Nigeria where the nation’s abundance and benefits are common to all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty and hardship are relegated to the shadows of an ever-fading past,” he said.
President Bola Tinubu’s media team
1. Azuri Nkelele (Special Adviser Media and Publicity)
2. Tunde Rahman (Senior Special Assistant to the President – Media)
3. Abdul Aziz Abdul Aziz (Senior Special Assistant to the President – Print Media)
4. O’tega Ogra – (Senior Special Assistant (Digital/New Media)
5. Tope Ajay – Senior Special Assistant (Media and Public Affairs))
6. Segun Dada (Special Assistant – Social Media)
7. Nosa Asemota – Special Assistant (Visual Communication)
8. Mr Fela Durodoye (Senior Special Assistant to the President – National Values and Social Justice)
9. Mr Fredrick Nwabufo (Senior Special Assistant to the President — Public Engagement)
10. Mrs Linda Nwabua Akigbe (Senior Special Assistant to the President – Strategic Communications)
11. Mr Aliyu Adu (Special Assistant to the President – Public Affairs)
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