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Inside the Presidency

A Sacking Spree?

Posted: May 3, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

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The gale of sacks ordered by the President Goodluck Jonathan in the past few days is obviously raising eyebrows. The development is significant since it comes after he lost the presidential election and now has less than six weeks to hand over to a new government.

The first major casualty was the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, who was ‘tweeted out of office’ by the Presidency. That is the term coined by State House correspondents when the news of the sack of a senior government official is first made public via the social media (Twitter) handle of the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

Ordinarily, a press statement announces such news. But when Abati prefers to tweet the ‘breaking news’ first, then the journalists consider the affected official to have been ‘tweeted out’! That was the fate of Suleiman Abba.

Others were ‘luckier’ as their sack was ‘dignified’ with a press statement. These include the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Femi Thomas, and the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Habib Abdullahi.

While some Nigerians wonder why the President was on a seemingly sacking spree in the twilight of his administration, Presidency officials are quick to tell you that it further shows that a failed re-election bid notwithstanding, Jonathan indeed remains the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces until May 29, 2015.

The Presidency stressed this point on Wednesday when the Federal Executive Council (FEC) reacted to the terms of reference of the transition committee put in place by the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari. The President and his cabinet frowned at what they considered an unusual mandate Buhari gave his men to go poking into the businesses of some government ministries, departments and agencies before the formal handover date.

Making these reservations public, Minister of National Planning, and transition sub-committee chairman of the Presidential Inauguration/Handover Committee, Abubakar Suleiman, warned members of the incoming government against comments and actions that portray them as running a parallel administration before being swore into office.

With a warning to heads of government agencies to remain loyal to the Jonathan government until May 29, Suleiman declared that “the magnanimity of Mr. President should not be taken to be cowardice!” A few hours later, the President sacked the NPA boss. The connection may not be so obvious but at least, it is not in doubt who the President of Nigeria is for now.