JONATHAN REVIEWS APPOINTMENTS OF YAR'ADUA'S AIDES
PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN
Indications emerged on Thursday that President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had been reviewing the appointment of staff of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua.
A source in the presidency informed our correspondent that the review was being done 'on a case by case basis,' which meant that some may be relieved of their duties.
Most of the late former president's aides, including Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants, are still reporting to their duty posts, even after Jonathan had resumed in the President's office.
The development is posing a tricky challenge in the presidency. This as Jonathan has his own personal aides who have been working with him from when he was vice-president, and later, Acting President. These aides perform functions and occupy offices that are equivalent to those of their counterparts on the late Yar'Adua's staff.
It was gathered that most of the aides who worked with Jonathan in the Vice-President's Wing would move with him to the President's Wing, a situation which might necessitate creating spaces in the affected offices for them.
Jonathan's aides need to move with their principal to his new office was further made imperative by the fact that the incoming Vice-President will also come with his own set of personal aides, who are expected to take up the current offices they occupy in the Presidential Villa.
However, speaking on the condition of anonymity to our correspondent, the source described the review as strictly 'an administrative matter without any political or ulterior motives attached.'
The source informed our correspondent that the review was necessitated by the fact that Jonathan 'intends to work with the right set of people, in order to make concrete impact as soon as possible.'
Continuing, the source explained that the records of the aides' output since they were brought on board the presidency would play a crucial role in the outcome of the review exercise.
Explaining further, the source said the review exercise 'is not meant to witch-hunt the people that worked for the late President, but was necessitated by the changes in the presidency.'
Our correspondent could not confirm indications that the roles played by Yar'Adua's aides in the crisis that ensued after the late President travelled to Saudi Arabia for medical attention could also determine their fate.
Another major factor in the review exercise is the fact that Jonathan, even while he was the Vice-President, and later on, Acting President, had aides who had similar functions to those of their counterparts on the late Yar'Adua's staff.
The situation is further compounded by indications that Jonathan's aides are going to move with him to the President's Wing, and as a result, would take over some offices currently occupied by the late President's aides.
Already, some of the late President's aides have quit on their own volition, particularly the former Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi.The former spokesman handed over the position of presidential spokesman to Niboro on Wednesday at a brief ceremony in the State House.
He is billed to proceed to Harvard for a fellowship programme.
Another high-profile presidential aide who had not been seen in the Presidential Villa since Yar'Adua passed on a week ago is his former Chief Economic Adviser, Dr. Tanimu Yakubu.
Yakubu was perceived as one of the closest aides of the late President, and was also touted as one of his most trusted associates.
Yakubu had been absent from his office in recent times, prompting suggestions that he might have quit on his own volition.
Presidential aides whose appointments might be affected by the review include the Principal Secretary to the late President, Mr. David Edevbie; the Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji; the Chief Physician, Dr. Salisu Banye; the Senior Special Assistant on Aviation, Capt. Shehu Iyal; the Senior Special Assistant on Protocol, Alhaji Inuwa Baba; and the Senior Special Assistant/Secretarial Speech Writer, Mr. Mathew Aikhionbare.
Others are the Senior Special Adviser on SERVICOM, Mr. Ad-Obe Obe; the Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters, Senator Polycarp Nwite; and the Special Assistant on Political Matters, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi.
Also likely to be affected are legal advisers, various security and household aides and several others.
Many of the aides were inherited from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who had personally nominated both the late Yar'Adua and Jonathan, as the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2007 presidential poll.
Some of this category of aides, however, work in the Vice-President's Wing, notably the Special Assistant on Youth Programme Monitoring and Implementations, Mrs. Moremi Soyinka-Onilaja.
However, the source also disclosed that some aides in the late President's staff were lobbying to be retained in the government; and in doing this are advancing the argument that 'a seamless transition could be worked out, whereby Jonathan inherits them, while the incoming Vice-President takes over the aides that worked with Jonathan while he was Vice-President, and later Acting President.'
This argument is unpopular and seemed not to be gaining any grounds, it was learnt.
'The weakness of their position is underscored by the fact that the coming VP would still come with his own set of personal aides,' the source said.
Jonathan had, while holding the position of the Acting President during the late Yar'Adua's admission at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, integrated the late President's personal aides with his, to assist in the discharge of advisory, administrative and logistic functions in the Presidential Villa.
The integration was then partly necessitated by a need to douse tensions between the perceived pro-Yar'Adua and pro-Jonathan factions in the presidency.