The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, is a man whose heart is close to the hearts of many Nigerians, especially the youths. Musa Abdullahi Krishi writes.
His love for youths
Unarguably, the Nigerian youth never had it this good with any previous speaker of the house since the return of democracy in 1999.
Though he already approaches his advanced age, 57, the speaker considers himself as a young man. In fact, he told to his newly appointed media team last Saturday that “I’m a young speaker with a young media team.”
That is a statement of fact. Indeed, using the speaker’s recent appointments including even his Chief of Staff (CoS) Alhaji Sanusi Garba Rikiji, majority of them are youths.
Indication to that effect came to the fore when he first appointed 51-year old Rikiji, a former speaker of the Zamfara state House of Assembly as his Chief of Staff on June 11.
The next set of appointments the speaker made was that of members of his media team. Gbajabiamila had done this as part of his belief that Nigeria will sooner or later be led by young people, and so he appointed four very young people, out of the 6-member media team.
For the avoidance of doubt, the head of the media team and Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi is 46, the Chief Press Secretary, Musa Abdullahi Krishi is 33. The Special Assistant on Print Media, Dele Anofi, who is the oldest in the media team, is 52.
The special assistant on broadcast/electronic media, Kunle Somoye is 26, while the man in charge of new media, Bukola Ogunyemi, is 32, with the special assistant on visual communication/official photographer, Ayo Adeagbo, 25. This is the first in history of this country these crop of young persons have been assembled to assist the number citizens in the discharge of his responsibilities. Little wonder the speaker himself was excited.
Their appointments did not come by accident, the speaker himself, fully in the know of what he wanted, personally conducted searches on each of the members of the media team before appointing them all.
Eye for vibrant youths
But as Nigerians were expressing excitement about the composition of the media team, a bigger excitement that endeared the speaker more in the hearts of the citizens came on Tuesday, July 16 when he announced appointments of additional aides that would assist him in his leadership of the lower chamber of the NASS.
From the latest appointments, his Special Adviser on Political Matters Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart is 33, the Special Adviser on Special Duties Badmus Olufunmi is 37.
The speaker’s Senior Legislative Aide, Adim Akpapunam, is 24, while 30-year old Hadiza Abubakar Talba is the Special Assistant on Employment and Job Creation, and brining the rear is 32 years old Fatima Kakuri that occupies the position of the Special Assistant on Gender Equality.
Additionally, Tuesday’s appointments indicated that the Special Assistant on Inter-governmental Affairs, Adaku Apugo, is 33, even as the Special Assistant on Policy and Inter-Parliamentary, Princewill Tabia, is 30 years old.
The speaker’s Special Assistant on IDPs, Hamza Baba Ibrahim, is 39 with Ibrahim Alli-Balogun, who is 40, as the Special Assistant on Youth Matters. The Special Assistant on Executive Relations, Hon Ibrahim Mohammed Baba, is 42 years old.
The appointments also showed that the Special Assistant on Budget and Finance, Lukman Oyewole Lawal, is 43, while the Special Assistant on Legal Matters, Osazee Melody Ogundijie, is 46.
That is not all. The Special Assistant on Members’ Affairs, Dunkwu Nnamdi Chamberlain, is 48. Similarly, the Special Adviser on Administration, Odofin David Seun is 50.
The new appointees’ list equally had 47-year old Hon Ayodeji Joseph as the Special Assistant on Political Matters (South West), and 49-year old Abdulsalam Idowu Kamaldeen as the Special Assistant on Special Needs/Equal Opportunities.
Competence and performance driving force
With the above appointments, it is glaring that the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, is a true lover of the Nigerian youths. He believes in the competence of the Nigerian youth to handle national issues, especially at the legislative level. Though the appointees above 40 may not be categorised as real youths as such, they are still youth at heart.
The development undoubtedly confers on the speaker the title of ‘The Lover of the Nigerian Youths.’ What now remains is for those appointed to justify the confidence reposed in them by the speaker to deliver on their mandate and assist him in his ‘Nation Building: A Joint Task’ project, which the 9th House of Representatives seeks to pursue vigorously in the next four years.
Musa Abdullahi Krishi is the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, House of Representatives.