Leadership (Abuja)

12 February 2014

Nigeria: Oghiadomhe's Removal - President May Scrap Chief of Staff Office

Photo: Leadership
Mike Oghiadomhe

Amidst uncertainty trailing the appointment of a new chief of staff following the forced exit of the former, Mike Oghiadomhe, President Goodluck Jonathan is considering scrapping the office, LEADERSHIP has learned.

The idea to scrap the office of the chief of staff is reportedly propelled majorly by the various intrigues that have characterised the naming of Oghiadomhe's replacement.

According to an impeccable source in the Presidency, the unfolding drama of intrigues has opened a new vista of divergent opinions amongst loyalists of President Jonathan.

But as the new thinking, whether or not to scrap the office is being propped up, some leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the South-West are pushing for Oghiadomhe's replacement to come from the zone.

In contention for the position from the zone are former justice and later defence minister, Adetokunbo Kayode, and chairman of the board of the Federal Emergency Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Ezekiel Jide Adeniji.

LEADERSHIP gathered that President Jonathan's men have split along three major schools of thought, barely 24 hours after the forced exit of the Edo State-born politician from Aso Rock.

"So many interests have set in and this understandable; if the president would listen to some of us as we have rightly pointed out, he can save himself another round of cries of marginalisation and injustice.

"Clearly, this is the thinking by some: that since the last chief of staff hailed from Edo State, his replacement must come from there.In the thinking of some us, that is not an issue because, in the first place, the office is at the discretion of the president, it is not on zonal basis.

"Another group equally feels the president should be allowed to pick whoever he feels he can work with, and effectively too, as chief of staff; and you know when all these forces combine to present their preferences, you will discover that dilly-dallying will set in and you know such can give rife speculations.

"That is the reason a few of us are of the opinion that Mr President should do away with the office because it is not a must to have it; there are so many offices within the villa that are attached to the office of the president that can be effectively utilised to serve such purposes as delivered by the chief of staff. I think we will be better off that way because the way the last occupier handled the office was a sad reminder of the office itself," he said.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the immediate-past national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, is leading those favourably disposed to retaining the position in Edo State. He is said to be rooting for media magnate Raymond Dokpesi as the next chief of staff.

But South-South leader Chief Edwin Clark has refrained from discussing the issue of who becomes President Jonathan's chief of staff. He reportedly turned back some prospective candidates who wanted his blessing for the position. The Second Republic senator, it was learnt, had cautioned some close allies of the president to allow him pick his preferred choice as chief of staff.

Curiously, another group ostensibly working for a powerful technocrat in the villa is arguing that the president did not need to have a chief of staff. They said that President Jonathan's predecessor, the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, operated without one.

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