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Mixed reactions have trailed the decision of the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to retain five aides of his immediate past predecessor, Bukoka Saraki.
While supporters and sympathisers of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) who took to social media on Wednesday, wondered why Lawan could not get ‘loyal hands’ from the party, others applauded him for his bipartisanship in appointments.
A statement on Wednesday by Babagana Muhammad Aji, Chief of Staff to the President of the Senate, had listed the retained appointees to include: Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Mohammed Isa and Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola.
Others are: Betty Okoroh, Special Assistant on Administration; Tope Olowoyeye, Senior Legislative Aide on Publicity (Photographer) and Ogechukwu Nwankwoh, Senior Legislative Aide on Schedules & Events.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) also expressed surprise at Tuesday’s appointment of Festus Adedayo as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Senate President.
In a statement signed by BMO Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, the group expressed surprise at Adedayo’s appointment, citing his antecedent and ‘undisguised contempt’ for the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“In fact, we are surprised that Adedayo would consider, let alone accept, an appointment under the APC after all he had done to denigrate and diminish the party before, during and after the February elections.
“This was a man who railed unceasingly at the APC and its Presidential candidate. This is the prophet of doom who predicted the imminent disintegration of Nigeria and that Buhari might be the last President of Nigeria”, the group said
BMO recalled that the new SA Media to the Senate President had served two People Democratic Party (PDP) governors in the South-west and South-east and wondered when he became a “born-again progressive”.
BMO advised the media aide to demonstrate his loyalty and commitment to the governing APC by immediately going to his Ward to register with the party and become a card-carrying member.
Commenting on the matter on Facebook, an APC sympathiser, Abubakar Suleiman, asked the Senate President to immediately reverse the appointments and bring in media professionals from the APC family.
“We reject this appointment outright and urge the Senate President to withdraw it immediately. We have more than enough over qualified media professionals in the APC family who have stood by the party and the Senate President. This is an outright impunity and high-handedness exhibited by the Senate President against APC faithfuls,” he posted on a Facebook thread.
Obi Trice Emeka shared the same sentiment, even as Redeem Adebayo wondered why the nation’s Number Three Citizen would appoint people from the ‘enemy camp’.
But a journalist, Fredrick Nwabufo defended the appointments, arguing that competence should override party loyalty in making such appointments.
“The job of Senate President is an onerous one that requires a highly-skilled and competent team, and not some internet infestations.
“Critical offices should not be outsourced on the basis of loyalty, but on competence. This was Buhari’s mistake in the era of change. I hope it is corrected this time,” he posted on his Facebook page.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja