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(OPINION) Chief of Staff to the President: The Cap Fits Gbajabiamila

By Hon. Francis Ottah- Agbo
At the 60th birthday celebration of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, commended the leadership qualities of the Speaker and thanked him for his support over the years.

The President-elect, who had then just won the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket, added that the support given him by Gbajabiamila and his Deputy, Hon Idris Wase, helped him to win the APC presidential ticket.

The relationship between the President-elect and the Speaker goes a long way as the Asiwaju also acknowledged that right from when he was governor of Lagos State, he has been consulting Gbajabiamila on all critical decisions, one of which he said was the payment of WASCE/SSCE fees for Lagosians who were in their final year in secondary schools.

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This level of trust and friendship that exists between the two men, coupled with the competence of Gbajabiamila and his over 20 years of legislating for good governance, puts the latter in a good position to serve a central role in the Tinubu administration.

Gbajabiamila is intelligent, smart and connected to the people and institutions of government, and has what it takes to be the Chief of Staff to Tinubu, the sixth Executive President of Nigeria.

First elected to the House of Representatives in 2003 to represent Surulere 1 Federal Constituency, the Speaker, who hit the ground running as a Federal legislator, was able to make an impression on his constituents who kept voting and returning him to the House.

This is because he listens and attends to them in every area of need and has been able to attract projects to the constituency like no other has done.

Not surprisingly, he won election to represent his people for the sixth time in the 10th Assembly and can any time readily repeat the feats that have seen him coming back to the Green Chamber.

But as Tinubu is looking for someone with experience and leadership acumen to give technical support to his administration, attention has shifted to the Speaker to serve as his Chief of Staff because it is given that he has the capacity to coordinate effectively for the President.

With excellent human relations skills, Gbajabiamila has been able to preside over the House effectively, making it to function smoothly without rancour while performing its functions effectively as a legislature.

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His ability to reach out to each member in the 360-member strong parliament has confirmed his talent as an efficient manager of human resource, which will be needed to coordinate affairs for the Presidency.

With contacts in all parts of the country and good knowledge of how things work in each arm of government, there is arguably no better person to serve in the capacity of Chief of Staff than Gbajabiamila.

With his background as a lawyer, and experience as a Federal legislator and one who rose through the ranks from being a member to be the minority leader, majority leader and later Speaker, he has seen it all in terms of experience, tact, courage, diplomacy, partnership, patriotism and wisdom.

Before he became Speaker, he had convinced both his colleagues and constituents that he stands for the unity and progress of Nigeria.

Many recall how as a legislator of the progressive hue, he was able to stay true to the cause in entrenching democracy when he fought against the third term agenda of the Olusegun Obasanjo era.

He is sociable, accessible, approachable, and ready to attend to people, and is one of those who gave their all to the APC at a time nobody gave the party a chance to make a headway.

Since Gbajabiamila became Speaker, the quality of bills and motions passed has been enhanced and is tailored towards serving the citizenry.

It was due to his leadership of the House that the Reps intervened and called in the Executive arm of government to rise up to the occasion about the security situation in the country in view of the threats it was posing to citizens.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the House again, through his leadership, worked out many palliatives, including financial packages that alleviated the suffering of the masses.

The House again waded in strongly when citizens were experiencing hardship due to the redesign of the naira and caused the CBN Governor to appear before it.

The Speaker also intervened in the ASUU strike and it was his intervention that made the lecturers to soft-pedal and return to the classrooms.

He was also in Ghana and South Africa when Nigerians and other foreign nationals were threatened.


With such excellent records, brilliance, proven integrity, reach and commitment to duty, it will be a privilege having such a hardworking and committed individual on board.

The next administration requires people with deep experience and vast knowledge of governance to work as the expectations of people of the administration are high. And Gbajabiamila snugly fits that bill.

What is more is the fact that he commands the respect of the legislators as Speaker, has earned the respect of the judiciary as a lawyer of international repute, and has deep understanding of the executive with his interactions with heads of government, ministries and agencies.

With people like Gbajabiamila around the President, the administration’s commitment to a smooth take-off would be enhanced and its stability guaranteed.
Hon. Agbo is the Chairman of the Narcotic Drugs Committee and Spokesman of the Minority Caucus of the 9th House of Representatives