Appointment of Chief of Staff: The Daura Option

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Muhammadu Buhari

Jonah Okah, legal practitioner and public affairs analyst suggests that President Buhari should do the needful by appointing Mr. Lawal Daura as his Chief of Staff

The sad and untimely demise of Mr. Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari in the wake of the dreaded Coronavirus attack, has not only thrown the nation into mourning but has also thrown up raging controversy on whose leg can fill the big shoes of the late Chief of Staff.

Only few days after Kyari’s death, politicians who are known for their power thirsty nature rather than seeking genuine intention to serve the nation, have rolled out their lobby machinery to take over the exalted office of Chief of Staff to the President.

Already, many names are making the rounds, while Nigerians are watching with keen interest over the presidential decision of choice. No doubt the office of Chief of Staff to the President of any country is a no mean position in the political calculus over the success of the President.

The appointment to that office is the number one personal staff of the President. Therefore, the choice and appointment is a matter of the right and privilege of the President. The office is not only a gate keeper but also represents the true meaning of feedback mechanism for Mr. President.

The person so chosen to serve in that capacity must as a matter of fact be loyal, honest and confidant of the President, because it is the seat of power and authority and the occupier must be seen to be acting in the overall interest of the country. The Chief of Staff to the President should be ready at all times to receive bullets on behalf of Mr President.

Though, late Mr Abba Kyari displayed all the carriage required but was grossly misconstrued across the country, but the aftermath of his death later showed evidently that he never betrayed the confidence lavishly reposed in him by his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari. Some even called him surrogate president in the course of defending and protecting the President with all sense of responsibility and altruistic purposes. According to one of his friends of 43 years and the current Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama,

“Abba was a man of unimpeachable integrity absolutely incorruptible… Abba was loyal to a fault. He decided he was going to protect his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, at all cost and will take any number of bullets for him and he did… He was very intelligent, well-read and varied professional experience. He held strong opinions and did not yield to positions easily, but once he believed in someone or a cause, he will fight with everything he had. Abba believed completely in the Nigerian project… Nigerians will look back in years to come and see that he was truly the best man.”
The person to replace Abba Kyari must have the above characters, strong constitution and mien for national interest.
One is constrained to weave this piece for several reasons:

One, God will not forgive me if I refuse to suggest a name to Mr president in his overall interest to succeed in his second tenure and in the interest of Nigeria in general.

Two, this is a trying time for the President and the nation where another opportunity has presented itself to Mr President to take this all important decision to appoint a new Chief of Staff.
Three, any wrong choice of people with lots of baggage will send a strong signal to the country, the international community with negative consequences on the image of Mr President.

This is where the name Mr. Lawal Musa Daura will continue to ring in my conscience as a fit and proper person to occupy the exalted office of Chief of Staff to the number one citizen of the country.

Mr Lawal Musa Daura grew through the rank of State Security Service; he served as Director in several states across the six geo-political zones in the country and rose to the peak of his service as Director-General of the secret service of the country from 2015 to 2018.

Apart from his vast educational qualifications, his non tribalised disposition is an added advantage to handle administrative matters for the good and stability of the country.

Mr Lawal Musa, all through his service proved himself to be a dependable character, a man of impeccable integrity and commands wide respect by his colleagues over his sense of dedication to national service, honesty of purpose, incorruptible and who cherishes team work in public service.

If he is given the opportunity to serve in the capacity of Chief of Staff to the President, it will send a glimmer of hope to Nigerians as one of the best decisions will take at this critical moment, as the right choice of a round peg in a round hole, such that it will command the respect of the international community based on his enviable track record of service to the nation.

Some may wonder why the choice of Mr Lawal Musa Daura who was relieved of his appointment by then Acting President, now Vice President Prof Yemi Osibanjo over the controversial take-over of the National Assembly while President Buhari was out of the country for medical concerns.

It is well known in the intelligence community that Mr Daura is a thorough bred professional, whose removal from office was done as a grave error of judgement, as he did act in national interest.

The operatives sent to the National Assembly were to observe and forestall any untoward action from some of the senators about to meet. This must have been based on intelligence at the disposal of security agency as they did not even talked to anybody nor did anything unlawful against the members of the National Assembly. Upon the return of Mr President to the country, he accepted Mr Daura’s removal with equanimity in the spirit of collective responsibility, in spite of the mixed feelings about the injustice of the removal of Mr. Daura. He was simply a victim of power game.
A source in the intelligence community who spoke in anonymous condition said;
‘‘If Mr President appoints Daura as his chief of Staff, rest assured, he has taken the best decision. He will never betray him or let him down. He will give the office an unparallel sense of direction and will above all guard against unnecessary controversy. He has the local and international exposure which the country can be proud of anywhere anytime he is saddled with responsibility.’’
Mr Daura who is widely regarded as a stabilizing factor, will bring his wealth of experience to build synergy among the various interest in governance. A pragmatist, friendly, broad minded, well exposed, humble, unambitious, selfless and patriotic in all ramifications. He is one of the few national assets that can be relied upon at any given time his service is needed.

One is not saying that there are no other qualified Nigerians, Daura’s pedigree is one of the top few which is earnestly needed in our quest for national rebirth, whose wealth of experience will serve as a huge catalyst for positive governance and will certainly build the necessary bridges across the Niger.

When one read some of the names making the round, for appointment into that office one could not hold back the tears of pity for Nigeria. The passionate suggestion of Lawal Musa Daura for the office of Chief of Staff is borne out of conscientious conviction to guide the success of Mr President against political bootlickers and prince jesters who are angling for nothing but in pursuance of their self-serving agenda.

What the time demands is for Mr President to do the needful by availing himself of this historic opportunity to appoint the man whom the cap fits; Mr Daura will certainly add invaluable impetus in giving the Buhari administration a positive sense of direction in the overall interest of Nigeria. This clarion call is not only well placed but a genuine love for Mr President to succeed as the supreme judgement of history is beckoning. This view represents the vast majority of ardent believers and followers of Mr President over the years and the time to act is now.