By Rabiu Shamma
I watched a BBC Hausa video last weekend featuring Murtala Adogi Mohammed PhD, a development expert, who shared his thoughts on three important appointments that signal a government’s preparedness to achieve positive outcomes. According to him, the calibre of people appointed as the Chief of Staff, Spokesman and the Secretary of the Government respectively will give the impression of how serious a new government is. This is what made me to begin to think who would be the best fit for the Chief of Staff position in particular among the President Elect’s closest allies. Honorable Femi Hakeem Gbajabiamila, the current speaker of the Federal House of Representatives in Nigeria, immediately came to mind. Eventhough Femi has denied lobbying for the position, I cannot think of a better candidate among the people rumoured to be penciled for the job.
The role of Chief of Staff is a crucial one in any government, in Nigeria it was even more pronounced when the Powerful Abba Kyari of blessed momory held sway. The position involves managing the President’s affairs and ensuring that the government runs smoothly. With the upcoming inauguration of Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President of Nigeria, looking at his advanced age, the need for a competent and experienced Chief of Staff cannot be overstated.
Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has an impressive CV that speaks to his qualifications for the role. He attended Mainland Preparatory School for elementary education and Igbobi College in 1973, where he completed his secondary education. Subsequently, he enrolled at King William’s College on the Isle of Man, United Kingdom for his A-Level. He then went on to attend the University of Lagos, Nigeria, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) with honors in 1983 and was called to the Nigerian bar in 1984. He has also earned a Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in Georgia, USA, and passed the Georgian bar exam in 2001. He worked for the law firm, Bentley Edu & Co in Lagos before establishing his own law firm, Femi Gbaja & Co. He is also a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the International Bar Association.
Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2003 and has been the Speaker of the House since 2019. He has built a reputation as a principled and loyal lawmaker, as well as a mentor to young people. His Legislative Mentorship Initiative (LMI) is a testament to his commitment to building the capacity of the younger generation. Through the LMI, he mentors young people and builds their capacity, which is critical to the development of the country.
Despite being 60 years old, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila looks agile and seems closer to young people. He is a man of principle, religious, cosmopolitan, and creative. He is at home at various parts of Nigeria, his stint at the House of Representatives meant he has allies from all parts of the country, making him a bridge-builder and a man who can work effectively with different groups.
I follow Hon Femi Gbajabiamila’s Facebook page and am constantly impressed by his initiatives and the way he represents his people. He seems not to be a man of mediocrity, but one who is committed to excellence in all he does. His dedication to public service and his efforts to empower the younger generation make him a valuable asset to any administration.
Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has been very loyal to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which is evident in his unwavering support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its leadership. He has also been able to maintain a good relationship with other political leaders in Nigeria, making him a man of integrity, hard-work and someone who can work with different political interests without losing sight of the goal of good governance.
In conclusion, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila’s qualifications, experience, loyalty, reputation, and commitment to excellence make him a strong candidate for the position of Chief of Staff to the Incoming President of Nigeria, Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu. His expertise in lawmaking, mentorship, and building bridges across different groups would be invaluable in helping the incoming administration achieve its goals of ensuring good governance.
Rabiu Shamma is the Founder, Centre for Awareness on Good Governance and Development (CAGGAD).