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President’s key men emerge






• David Lawal named SGF • Abba Kyari becomes Chief of Staff
• Ibrahim Ali is Customs boss • Abeshi heads Immigration Service

EIGHTY–nine days into his administration, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday named key officials who will assist him in the complex task of governance.

In the announcement made on the 30th anniversary of the overthrow of his military



government by Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Babachir David Lawal emerged the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), thereby laying to rest the speculation about who would occupy the exalted position.

Similarly, an erstwhile Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Alhaji Abba Kyari has been appointed as Chief of Staff (COS) to the President.

In the same vein, the President appointed the former Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) as the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). He replaces Abdullahi Dikko Inde, who retired two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has commended Buhari on the appointment of Lawal and Kyari.

Ali’s appointment, just like that of Lawal, yesterday unsettled many analysts because until the pronouncement, he had been mentioned as the next Chief of Staff, having played similar role in the



Buhari Campaign Organisation prior to the March 28 elections.

Besides, this is the second time the service has had a non-customs officer as its executive. The first time was during Babangida’s administration, when Dr. Bello Mohammed Haliru, the present Acting Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was named the director, as it was then.

Also before yesterday, the National Chairman of the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) and first elected Governor of Abia State, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, had been mentioned as the SGF. The name of Lawal was never mentioned in any media speculation.

Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi was named the Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), succeeding Mr. David Paradang, who was recently suspended.

Senator Ita S.J. Enang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business in the Seventh Assembly from Akwa Ibom State, was named Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on National Assembly Matters (Senate).

Also, Suleiman A. Kawu, former Minority Whip in the Seventh Assembly is to serve as Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina said all the appointments took effect from yesterday.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, yesterday, Dogara said the appointments were based on merit.

While congratulating them, Dogara charged the new SGF to use his office to push for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery of the violence ravaged North East region.

Lawal, the new SGF hails from Hong Local Council, Adamawa State. He graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree and worked with the Delta Steel Company, Aladja, Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and Data Sciences Limited before establishing his own ICT and Telecommunications consulting firm in 1990. He is also a member of the Nigeria Computer Society, the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.

Kyari, the new Chief of Staff to the President from Borno State, holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick in Law and Sociology. He has worked with the New Nigeria Development Company, New Africa Holdings, African International Bank, United Bank for Africa, Unilever and Mobil in various capacities over the years.

The new Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ali holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Criminology. He was military administrator of Kaduna State from 1996 to 1998.

Abeshi hails from Nasarawa State. He joined the Nigerian Immigration Service in 1989 as an Assistant Comptroller. His educational qualifications include a Masters Degree in Public Administration.

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  • Okey

    Excellent ! If there is any uproar at all, it is a totally misplaced one. For one, the President neither shocked the South South nor the South East. How about Prof. Itse Sagay who has been appointed, Chairman, National Commission on Confessions; Engineer Joe Igbokwe, Attack Dog-General of APC; Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Lecturer/Seminar Talk-shop-General of APC; Sen. Osita Izunaso, Social Event Organizer-General; Dr Ngige, Events Analyzer-General of APC; Prof. Pat Utomi, SeeNothingWrong-SayNothingWrong-General of APC; and, a host of other solid appointments to APC members in the SS and SE.

    Secondly, there are still the constitutionally guaranteed “minimum 5%” appointments (i.e., one (1) Minister from each State), which luckily in this dispensation is the Maximum for the 5%ter zones that gave Mr President less than 5% of their votes. From this Minimum/Maximum, such lucrative and juices Ministries like Minister of Culture and Tourism shall be reserved for the South East. Certainly, any uproar from anybody at this stage is shortsighted and misplaced.

    • Nazerine

      You forgot to mention one Osita Okechukwu, the Igbo-Attacker of APC.

  • Francis Uwaechi

    I will like to trust Mr president’s judgement in these initial appointments. The hardwork starts now, quarter of the year is already spent!

  • Yasin

    PMB/APC: We told you when you started with these appointments. PMB you are turning out to be our most ultra-tribal president to date. It did not end well when GEJ did this. It is not likely to end well if you continue this way.
    All power is in Allah’s hands, but I do not see you coming back after 2019.
    We will Never forget.

    • Nazerine

      He will rig himself in. Do you think Buhari is Jonathan who allowed free election to hold?

      • Iskacountryman

        no election is free…

  • AriseNigeria


    “One Nigeria,” we have seen how Buahri sees it or rather understands it. A president that does not promote national unity is a failed president, because more than anything else, Nigeria has been a divided nation since independent, and the woes of this nation has been the attempted domination and subjugation of other Nigerians by Hausa/Fulani that led to Gideon Orkar Coup, and the reason for the Nigerian civil war, and that gave rise to the rise of ethnic militancy in Nigeria. Buhari has failed even before he started. THIS IS THE DANGERIOUS CHANGE WE FEARED WILL HAPPEN


    Good change is all we need no tribal sentiment.

    • Nazerine

      Good change include fairness to all sections of Nigeria.

      • Iskacountryman

        please find and publish the names of 3 honest eboe men or women…

  • POSA

    We should be happy and thankful that PMB is creating new set of leaders. We cannot keep recycling the same set of old fools who brought Nigeria and Nigerians on their knees neither should we be rejoicing or celebrating acclaimed political leaders who see nothing wrong in their leadership style since sixteen years. If they truly worked hard, they should be tired by now. So let them go and rest.

    What value does it bring us to have this later leaders in power? Would they come in to block a visionary leader whose aim is to bring joy and hope to the commoners? Do you want them to be brought back to use your money and my money to serve their insatiable quest for money, big cars, private jets etc? No. God forbid. Enough is Enough.

    As for me, PMB is the man we need and a net set of leaders to lead our great nation. Total change or no change.

  • AriseNigeria

    When Buhari said “change” many of his southern political associates did not understand he meant the return of absolute power to the Fulani caliphate where the born-to-rule mentality is fully entrenched. The divisive Buhari’s leadership will have a long term negative effect on our quest for nation’hood and national integration. With the appointment of his sister in-law as acting INEC chairman, we should expect the end of democracy. In the end, I blame former President Jonathan who thought democracy has come to stay when indeed he was handing over power to a despot and dictator, and a man of extreme religious and tribal instigator and an agitator of Fulani political dynasty.

  • AriseNigeria

    Who crosses our nation’s boarders (custom)=controls by an Islamist
    Who grants power to as who come, who stays and who leaves (immigration)=controls by an Islamist
    who records secret meetings and transactions of the inner-chamber meetings=controls by an Islamist.
    who controls the outcome of election (INEC)=controls by an Islamist
    who is the commander in-chief of the Nigerian armed forces=controls by Buhari an unrepentant Islamist

  • New Nigerian

    These are experienced sages….we are in safe hands. One pattern is clear, those who have proven to be incorrigible in their youth are being called upon to coach the next generations of leaders in their wisdom-laden-elderly years….whatever God loves He makes plentiful in the land…God loves Nigeria and Nigerians.

    Memo to the youth of Nigeria – stay upright, ethical, principled and hard working and God would bestow leadership on you, and then He would watch you to see what you do with it – this is His promise (and you can see it in President Buhari and VP Osinbajo…and these appointments), and now God would watch them all, even as we watch them too, to see what they all do with the opportunity they have been given. I am hopeful they’d meet all expectations – May God help them with it, of their sakes and ours.

  • curtis uwuigbe

    Fairness, equity, quality should be the watch wards.

  • james richardson

    NIGERIANS,stop the mindset of my brothers, my sisters,my families or from North,from East,from West,from South instead of using the excellent people.In abroad,the best man for a job is being used for the job.Were is GOD in the lives of NIGERIAS?

  • AriseNigeria

    If Buhari indeed is looking for the best there be no single spot left for the north, that is a fact. The best and tested brains are saturated mainly in the South-East, but we know its all about religion and ethnicity.

    • PolyGon2013

      You mean the best rogues and 419ers are from SE. I totally agree. As long as your people continue to think the way you wrote, you get a big problem. By the way, why worry about Nigeria? Focus on Biafra and leave Nigerians alone.

  • Offor

    The complaints are understandable because of the make-up of Nigeria as a nation as well as for the sake of democracy. However, if PMB will ensure that every tribe, people, constituency and citizen is treated well and equally in Nigeria (financial shares/entitlements, infrastructural developments, employment opportunities, individual and community security and the rest of them….) all should be well. But people are worried because of their past experiences in the country after such appointments that appear lopsided. Under normal circumstances, people should not bother just as it happens in the US, Britain, France, and other great nations when “lopsided” appointments are made. But we are yet to see if circumstances are yet okay in Nigeria. Opportunists DO THEIR THINGS ANYWAY, that is the problem and still remains a problem. Could you believe that in Nigeria after some names of Law Enforcement Agents (police officers) were recommended for probe regarding what they know about the kidnap and murder of Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba in Anambra state, the police is busy assigning those named police officers to states as commissioners and AIG’s while an unsuspecting family is still languishing over the loss of their loved one. Mr. Udemba was kidnapped since 2012 and perhaps murdered “under the watch” of at least two police officers who are today and yesterday (in the midst of this minor chaos) promoted to both ABUJA (Mr. Ballah Nasarawa) and BENUE ( Mr. Dipal Yakadi). They were both commissioners and deputy commissioner in Anambra state when this good Nigerian was kidnapped and now we hear that he was also murdered even after a ransom was paid to save his life in 2012. Did the IGP look properly at the list before approving it? Would such a thing happen in any civilized nation in the world? Of course not. I learnt that the recently discovered corpse of this man is still in the mortuary, with his wife and children still mourning and agonizing asking for help from higher quarters to get to the bottom of what happened to their loved one. But deployments and “thank you” of those officers keep going on anyway. Have these officers along with about three others mentioned been questioned and cleared? Have the masterminds of this good citizen of Nigeria’s kidnap and murder been scooped up? Has autopsy and honest forensic analysis been carried out to determine what happened to this good man, how and possible clues as to who might have done that? Has anything been done to help a still suffering family? No body gives a damn. How would the safety of lives and property be assured at Abuja and Benue where these officer are being assigned? Which way Nigeria?

  • olu

    lets not dissipate much energy on the appointments since there are more to come. One thing we should not forget to do is put this government on notice of their promise to revamp the economy and to redress the exploitation of the majority of our people by the few elites in our midst. It is time that the dividend of democracy percolate down to the less privilege among us.

  • Sunshine

    Change Change , Change! It has come and Nigerians are moaning. The hand writing was on the wall but ignored it.

  • paul udedibia

    if buhari will give us results with only the daurais let him be all we need now is results nomater how it comes afterall dubai was transformed one family ond everybody is now ejoying it there we need result