Tinubu Jacks-up Media Team as Nigerian Economy Bites Harder

The president, on Monday, appointed five more persons to the Presidential Advisory Media Team, bringing the total number of such appointments to at least 11. The Premium Times has reports

Despite the bad state of Nigeria’s economy, President Bola Tinubu has appointed more persons to his media team, further bloating the size of government at a time of general clamour for cutting down on the cost of governance.

The president, on Monday, appointed five more persons, to the Presidential Advisory Media Team, 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 Ngelale, listed the new appointees as Fela Durotoye, who will serve as senior special assistant to the president on national values and social justice, Frederick Nwabufo, senior special assistant on public engagement, and Linda Akhigbe, senior special assistant on strategic communications.

Aliyu Audu was named special assistant on public affairs and Francis Abah as personal assistant to the president on special duties.

The statement also said Mrs Akhigbe, who was until her appointment the Senate correspondent for Channels Television, will also serve as the communications adviser to the President of the ECOWAS Commission.

In a blithe insensitivity to the current economic adversities of the country and the hardship the government’s removal of fuel subsidy has plunged millions of Nigerians into, an emerging attribute of the administration, the president’s son, Seyi Tinubu, recently flew in a presidential jet from Abuja to see a game of polo in Kano, at the expense of public fund.

In July, Mr Tinubu, who assumed office in May, made 20 new appointments of which no fewer than six were his media aides.

Among them were Tunde Rahman SSA (Media); Abdulaziz Abdulaziz (SSA Print Media); O’tega Ogra, SSA (Digital/New Media); Tope Ajayi, SSA (Media & Public Affairs); Segun Dada – Special Assistant (Social Media); Nosa Asemota – Special Assistant (Visual Communication).

In the same month, announced Mr Ngelale as his special adviser on media and publicity.

In September, among the 20 appointments the president made, some were media-related though the appointees were to serve in the office of the vice president.

The appointees were Stanley Nkwocha SSA Media and Publicity and Ahmed Ningi, SSA Digital Media and Emergency Management.

President Tinubu may have surpassed his predecessors in making appointments to the presidential media team.

This is besides the appointment of 48 ministers, secretary to the government of the federation, chief of staff and other special aides to assist the president in administering various sectors, including the economy, security, tax, health, SDGs, education, food and agriculture.

The president’s appointees are already running into hundreds.

Under his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, only two persons served as presidential spokespersons, which in itself was unprecedented.

Femi Adesina, former managing director of the Sun newspapers and a former president of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), served as the special adviser on media and publicity while Garba Shehu, another former president of the NGE was a special assistant on media.

A former editor of Nigerian Tribune on Saturday, Laolu Akande, was at the time 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, a physician, Doyin Okupe, joined Mr Jonathan’s media team as senior special assistant on public affairs. He had previously served former President Olusegun Obasanjo as special adviser on media and publicity.

With the fresh appointments, President Tinubu may be turning a blind eye to the calls to cut down on the cost of governance. No doubt the swelling number of presidential aides will fritter the nation’s economy and its lean resources.

The rising cost of governance takes a large portion of the national budget without leaving much for developmental projects. Overheads, personnel costs, debt servicing and other recurrent expenditures take a huge chunk of the federal spending.

Remarkably, since assuming power, the president and some of his aides have repeatedly pleaded with Nigerians to be patient with his administration, especially in the face of rising costs of food and services occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy on 29 May.

“I make my pledge to the country that no decision will be difficult for this administration to take for the prosperity and unity of this country. Economic reforms could be slow. Be patient a little more,” he once said while addressing some members of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

As recently as 1 October, Mr Tinubu, in his Independence Day anniversary broadcast, noted that his administration had embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilise the economy and direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation.

According to him, the reforms were aimed at encouraging production, ensuring the security of lives and property, and lending more support to the poor and the vulnerable.

He, however, acknowledged that the reforms may be painful but are needed to acquire a great future for Nigeria.

“We now carry the costs of reaching a future Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few. A Nigeria where hunger, poverty, and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever-fading past,” he said.

President Bola Tinubu’s Media Team

  1. Ajuri Ngelale (Special Adviser Media and Publicity)
  2. Tunde Rahman (Senior Special Assistant to the President — Media)
  3. Abdulaziz Abdulaziz (Senior Special Assistant to the President — Print Media)
  4. O’tega Ogra – (Senior Special Assistant (Digital/New Media)
  5. Tope Ajayi – Senior Special Assistant (Media & Public Affairs))
  6. Segun Dada (Special Assistant — Social Media)
  7. Nosa Asemota – Special Assistant (Visual Communication)
  8. Mr Fela Durotoye (Senior Special Assistant to the President — National Values & Social Justice)
  9. Mr Fredrick Nwabufo (Senior Special Assistant to the President — Public Engagement)
  10. Mrs Linda Nwabuwa Akhigbe (Senior Special Assistant to the President — Strategic Communications)
  11. Mr Aliyu Audu (Special Assistant to the President — Public Affairs)

 

Prime Times

Abdulrahman Aliagan is an Abuja-based seasoned Journalist with close to two decades of uninterrupted practice in Journalism, a PR Expert, a Development Coach and a Media Crisis Management Consultant.
A holder of Bachelor degree in History, a graduate of International Institute of Journalism, IIJ, Jahi, Abuja, he is well trained in various aspects of modern day Journalism including Digital Media and Solution Journalism.
Aliagan is a member of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and is currently the National Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ).

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