[Press Release] Prominent pro-Democracy and civil rights advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has raised the alarm that certain powerful political forces from Lagos linked with their political loyalty to President Bola Tinubu but who are not part of the current administration are peddling false, unsubstantiated and toxic rumours against the person of the Chief of staff to the President, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila with the subterranean objective to demarket him before the President.
HURIWA has also carpeted religious and ethnic bigots who are spreading false information and fake news about the person of the minister of FCT Mr. Nyesom Wike whom they say that as a Christian from the South, he shouldn’t be entrusted with the task of being the minister of the Federal Capital Territory under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration but that President Tinubu should pick a Northern Muslim as FCT minister. HURIWA said those opposing Wike because of his religious affiliations or his ethnicity are religious and ethnic bigots whose words belong to the dustbins of history.
HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko alongside key officials of the civil Rights body addressed a mammoth crowf of journalists and stated thus:
“We, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), have convened this press conference today to address the recent and unsettling allegations surrounding Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu. These allegations suggest that Mr. Gbajabiamila has been engaged in the trading of government appointments, including the alleged replacement of appointees chosen by the President with individuals who may have offered financial inducements.
HURIWA is committed to presenting a comprehensive perspective on these allegations, illuminating the complexities involved, and setting the record straight.
First, it is essential to provide clarity regarding the role of a Chief of Staff in the office of a political leader. The Chief of Staff serves as a pivotal figure, closely collaborating with the President to manage numerous aspects of the administration. These responsibilities encompass coordinating appointments, scheduling, and acting as a liaison between the President and other government officials. Importantly, the Chief of Staff does not wield unilateral authority in dictating appointments; the process invariably involves multiple stakeholders.
We must also acknowledge the stature of President Bola Tinubu. He is a seasoned and astute political leader who is profoundly cognizant of the appointments made within his government. The President possesses the agency to approve or disapprove of any nominations, and it is indeed improbable that any manipulation of these appointments could occur without his knowledge and consent.
Therefore, the allegations swirling around Mr. Gbajabiamila are not to be taken lightly, for they are fraught with implications. Accusations of manipulating government appointments can erode public trust in the democratic process and the leadership of the nation. They can also tarnish the reputations of individuals targeted by such allegations.
The allegations that Mr. Gbajabiamila collects money to manipulate appointments are not supported by concrete evidence. They appear to be driven by personal interests and political infighting rather than a genuine concern for the welfare of the nation. In fact, these allegations appear to be a distraction from the significant issues currently facing Nigeria, including ongoing litigations and the need for stability and good governance.
We emphasize that President Tinubu, having recently triumphed in a significant legal battle that spanned over 200 days, now requires the opportunity to focus on governance rather than being embroiled in political infighting and attempts to tarnish the image of key figures responsible for steering the administration.
Furthermore, we understand that there are individuals close to President Tinubu, often referred to as “Lagos boys,” who aspire for official government positions. It is vital to acknowledge that not every close associate of a political leader can or should be appointed to government positions. Appointments should be made based on merit, qualifications, and the capacity to contribute to good governance.
These individuals may be frustrated about not receiving appointments, but blaming Mr. Gbajabiamila without concrete evidence is neither productive nor fair. We believe that their allegations are driven by personal grievances and political maneuvering.
We want to remind everyone that President Tinubu is a discerning leader, and he pays attention to the appointments made within his government. He would not blindly accept substitutions without questioning the changes. President Tinubu has been vigilant and engaged in the governance of Nigeria, and there is no reason to believe he would allow any manipulation of appointments to go unnoticed.
In conclusion, we urge the public and the media to be cautious of individuals who may be pursuing personal interests by fueling these allegations against Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila. Nigeria is currently facing critical challenges, and it is essential to focus on issues that truly matter, such as development, security, and governance.
We advocate unity and collaboration among Nigerians to address these paramount concerns and to avoid being distracted by unfounded allegations. Let us extend our support to the government’s endeavors aimed at improving the lives of citizens and fostering national development.
We further call on the media and the public to exercise caution when reporting on unverified allegations and ensure that the information is based on credible sources, in addition to prioritizing constructive discussions on the pressing issues facing Nigeria, such as economic development, security, and good governance.
More so. We urge all stakeholders to promote unity and discourage divisive tactics that can undermine the nation’s stability. Encourage the government to focus on its mandate and address the urgent needs of the people. In these trying times, we must work together to build a stronger and more prosperous Nigeria.”
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)
October 30, 2023.