President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, expressed his unreserved faith in his Chief of Staff, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
President Tinubu, who spoke just before the commencement of the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting inside the Council Chambers, State House, also set the ground rules for the attendance of the meeting.
President Tinubu passed his confidence vote on Gbajabiamila about 48 hours after some interests, whom the President has identified as those waging a campaign of calumny, insinuated that the Chief of Staff might have fallen out of favour with his boss.
A group had gone to the media to claim that the Chief of Staff had been involved in appointments’ racketeering, saying he had been “trading off appointments in the government of President Tinubu to the highest bidder”.
Those behind the said campaigns had cited the recent discrepancies that arose in the process of naming new Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), claiming some names replaced were as a result of some shady plays.
However, responding to the development in a brief speech before the commencement of the week’s Council meeting, President Tinubu expressed his confidence in Gbajabiamila, just as he noted that making mistake, referring to the reason why names had to be changed and replaced, is human and he already notified Nigerians that he is bound to make mistakes, which he will always be bold enough to correct.
“First of all, let me reiterate to all of you the fact that a lot of stories are going around about what is happening. I’ve told everyone in this country that I can make mistakes, they’re bound to air them out and correct them.
“Perfection is that of God almighty. I have absolute confidence on the integrity of my Chief of Staff. All campaigns of calumny and insinuations should stop, the buck stops here.
“If I make mistake I’m ready to own up to it and we’re all joining hands to fight corruption and we want to enforce the law along with you”, he said.
The President further spoke to issues he had observed and had not been comfortable with, including unauthorized persons gaining access into the Council Chambers of the State House.
To the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume and the Head of Civil Service, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, he said: “Last week, I noticed the undue access of people sneaking in and out of this Council. I will announce to you those people who are supposed to be here.
The President mentioned his Special Advisers on Policy Coordination, Hadiza Usman; Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga; Principal Private Secretary, Hakeem Muri-Okunola and Private Secretary, Damilotun Aderemi.
“Those are people who are granted exception to be here when we’re conducting the business of the nation. Unless I sent for you, don’t come, make it clear. Secretary to the Government and Head of Service, please take note.
“Unless your staff that are included, no one is privileged to have access sitting in this (Council Chambers), except those four that I’ve announced to you”, the President warned.
Also, President Tinubu rated the bilateral and business meetings held on Sunday with visiting German government and business officials, led by the Chancellor of the Republic of Germany, Olaf Scholz, very highly.
The President thanked his ministers for availing themselves at the meeting, charging them to think outside the box to hasten the reforms required to attract investors.
“Yesterday, we had an outstanding show and I thank all of you for sharing your Sunday to attend the national event. The visit of the Chancellor of the Republic of Germany was, to me, a success.
“We needed more time, but we were able to cover a lot of ground and must take our reforms seriously; the investors are interested in us… As I said, investors and investment are cowardly; they don’t follow conflicts. Think outside the box, how we can do things better,” Tinubu said.
Also, the Council, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), toasted to President Tinubu’s recent victory at the Supreme Court, lauding his contributions to leadership in the country, particularly highlighting his time as governor of Lagos State.