President’s key men emerge
• David Lawal named SGF • Abba Kyari becomes Chief of Staff
• Ibrahim Ali is Customs boss • Abeshi heads Immigration Service
EIGHTY–nine days into his administration, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday named key officials who will assist him in the complex task of governance.
In the announcement made on the 30th anniversary of the overthrow of his military
government by Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Babachir David Lawal emerged the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), thereby laying to rest the speculation about who would occupy the exalted position.
Similarly, an erstwhile Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Alhaji Abba Kyari has been appointed as Chief of Staff (COS) to the President.
In the same vein, the President appointed the former Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) as the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). He replaces Abdullahi Dikko Inde, who retired two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has commended Buhari on the appointment of Lawal and Kyari.
Ali’s appointment, just like that of Lawal, yesterday unsettled many analysts because until the pronouncement, he had been mentioned as the next Chief of Staff, having played similar role in the
Buhari Campaign Organisation prior to the March 28 elections.
Besides, this is the second time the service has had a non-customs officer as its executive. The first time was during Babangida’s administration, when Dr. Bello Mohammed Haliru, the present Acting Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was named the director, as it was then.
Also before yesterday, the National Chairman of the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) and first elected Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, had been mentioned as the SGF. The name of Lawal was never mentioned in any media speculation.
Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi was named the Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), succeeding Mr. David Paradang, who was recently suspended.
Senator Ita S.J. Enang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business in the Seventh Assembly from Akwa Ibom State, was named Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on National Assembly Matters (Senate).
Also, Suleiman A. Kawu, former Minority Whip in the Seventh Assembly is to serve as Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said all the appointments took effect from yesterday.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, yesterday, Dogara said the appointments were based on merit.
While congratulating them, Dogara charged the new SGF to use his office to push for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery of the violence ravaged North East region.
Lawal, the new SGF hails from Hong Local Council, Adamawa State. He graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree and worked with the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and Data Sciences Limited before establishing his own ICT and Telecommunications consulting firm in 1990. He is also a member of the Nigeria Computer Society, the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.
Kyari, the new Chief of Staff to the President from Borno State, holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick in Law and Sociology. He has worked with the New Nigeria Development Company, New Africa Holdings, African International Bank, United Bank for Africa, Unilever and Mobil in various capacities over the years.
The new Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ali holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Criminology. He was military administrator of Kaduna State from 1996 to 1998.
Abeshi hails from Nasarawa State. He joined the Nigerian Immigration Service in 1989 as an Assistant Comptroller. His educational qualifications include a Masters Degree in Public Administration.