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‘Appointee’s rejection’: Laolu Akande urges president to designate authority to quell chaos

Former Presidential spokesperson, Laolu Akande, has called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of urgency rein in the blocking of his appointees by…

Former Presidential spokesperson, Laolu Akande, has called on President Bola Tinubu to as a matter of urgency rein in the blocking of his appointees by empowering either his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila; or Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume; to immediately arrest the chaotic situations affecting the smooth running of government.

He also said when the Federal Executive Council (FEC) decides to meet should not be an issue, only that it must not be a rubber stamp of the President though constituted as the “President’s cult” to play an advisory role, instead, it should be all engaging as the National Economic Council (NEC), which is also an advisory body of the government, a former presidential spokesperson.

Akande who condemned the recent developments in the Ministry of Works seeing to a shouting match between the Minister and staff members, likewise at the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), when the sacked Postmaster General announced his reinstatement against the presidential order, said, such chaotic approach to public administration must be frontally addressed by the President.

The renowned journalist and social commentator gave his views while featuring on Channels TV’s news documentary programme, “State of the Polity” on Tuesday morning, contending that as much as a discipline should be infused into the system, the government should also look at the areas of job security and welfare of the civil servants.

Speaking on FEC, and its recent decision to meet irregularly on Mondays, Akande said, “The FEC is the President’s cult and if you look at the constitution, it is essentially an advisory body. It says there has to be a regular meeting, but it doesn’t say it has to be weekly, it didn’t dictate the frequency. There is no specific stipulation that it has to be weekly, Monday or Wednesday. The President has chosen to do it on Mondays and he may not be interested in doing it weekly.

“FEC is different from NEC, if you sit in both meetings, you will know that in the the NEC, you see a bit of crossfire, governors who have the executive powers in their states coming together to meet with the representatives of the Federal Government, the Vice President, the CBN Governor, Finance Minister and they are always free to say what they have to say because they are also executives in their own right. In the FEC, you have people who work for the President and oftentimes such meetings are very dull. Very few people even dare to disagree with their colleagues not to talk of the President.

“To the extent that it is advisory, from my experience, I’ve not seen a lot of spark in FEC compared to NEC especially when you have a President that is almost larger than life and everybody is just happy to say well done, sir. Though I have seen ministers who have shown courage and some seriousness, by and large, FEC is just a place where everybody comes to say well done, sir,” Akande said, answering a question if FEC should be the President’s rubber stamp.

But while speaking against the condemnable work ethics in civil service, he said, “What I find interesting is the latitude that people get in public service which you will never talk about in the private sector. It doesn’t even matter that you have 24 hours to prepare a memo, you just go out and do it. This idea that you say you need two days, four days, look, the work of public service is serious sacrifice and only people who are willing to commit seriously should be there.

“Whether it is Monday or Friday or you get whatever notice if you are there you are supposed to serve. When you are in government, you serve. It is not a situation that you say I need all the time. We have dire challenges in this country and that is why we keep on saying that it is important to keep the government on its toes.

Calling on the President to infuse the firepower to the civil service, Akande said, “There is quite a bit of chaos going on and the president has to come in and rein in on this in a very firm way. This just has to stop,” as he wondered on whose authority the sacked Postmaster General, went back to work at the weekend after a presidential statement had announced his removal, while a successor was named, “to get NIPOST handle to say he has been reinstated and he got a crowd welcoming him after a presidential statement has gone out.”

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