President Bola Tinubu has recently made several appointments to his media team in Nigeria, despite the struggling state of the country’s economy.
This decision has led to an increase in government size, which has sparked public concern regarding the need to reduce the cost of governance. The President appointed five individuals to the Presidential Advisory Media Team, bringing the total number of appointments to at least 11.
Among the new appointees are Fela Durotoye, who will serve as senior special assistant to the president on national values and social justice, Frederick Nwabufo as senior special assistant on public engagement, Linda Akhigbe as senior special assistant on strategic communications, Aliyu Audu as special assistant on public affairs, and Francis Abah as personal assistant to the president on special duties.
The statement also mentioned that Mrs Akhigbe, who had previously worked as the Senate correspondent for Channels Television, will now also be serving as the communications adviser to the President of the ECOWAS Commission.
In a disregard for the current economic difficulties faced by the country and the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidy by the government, an emerging trend within the administration is the president’s son, Seyi Tinubu, using a presidential jet to travel from Abuja to attend a polo game in Kano, funded by public money.
In July, Mr Tinubu, who took office in May, made 20 new appointments, including six members for his media team.
They included Tunde Rahman as SSA (Media); Abdulaziz Abdulaziz (SSA Print Media); O’tega Ogra as SSA (Digital/New Media); Tope Ajayi as SSA (Media & Public Affairs); Segun Dada as Special Assistant (Social Media); and Nosa Asemota as Special Assistant (Visual Communication).
Mr Ngelale was announced as the president’s special adviser on media and publicity in the same month. In September, the president made a total of 26 appointments, some of which were media-related positions.
However, these appointees were meant to serve in the office of the vice president. Among the appointments were Stanley Nkwocha as SSA Media and Publicity, and Ahmed Ningi as SSA Digital Media and Emergency Management.
President Tinubu’s media team may be considered larger than those of his predecessors, especially when taking into account the numerous other appointments made to various sectors such as the economy, security, tax, health, SDGs, education, food, and agriculture.
The number of appointees made by the current president has already reached into the hundreds. This is quite a contrast to the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari, where there were only two individuals who served as presidential spokespersons, which was unprecedented.
Femi Adesina, a former managing director of the Sun newspapers and president of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, held the position of special adviser on media and publicity, while Garba Shehu, another former president of the NGE, served as a special assistant on media.
Laolu Akande, a former editor of Nigerian Tribune on Saturday, also played a role as the senior special assistant on media to the then vice president, Yemi Osinbajo. In the past, Ima Niboro and Reuben Abati served as special advisers on media to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Additionally, in 2012, Doyin Okupe, a physician, was appointed as senior special assistant on public affairs, having previously worked as a special adviser on media and publicity for former President Olusegun Obasanjo.