Abuja – The supremacy battle allegedly brewing between Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff to the President and Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Media and Communication is threatening to tear the thin fabric holding the already delicate Presidency apart, if not quickly resolved.
Both men have been at loggerheads since the inauguration of Tinubu’s Government over whose words should be law in the Presidency and who should have the President’s ears.
While they are both close to President Tinubu, which was why he gave them the appointments, Alake, allegedly feels superior to Gbajabiamila and indeed every other person in the Presidency. This is because his relationship with the President dates back to their NADECO days. He, therefore sees himself, as part of the ‘old brigade’, having served as Commissioner for Information while Tinubu was Lagos State Governor. To him, Gbajabiamila is not just a neophyte but an outsider.
According to informed sources in the Presidency, even before the announcement of Alake’s portfolio as Special Adviser, he was already throwing his weight around within the Presidency and representing Tinubu in talks with organized labour and other groups. As soon as his portfolio was announced, he asserted himself into the President’s itinerary each time he went on foreign trips and sat directly behind him . Alake’s actions are already relegating the Chief of Staff to the background, affecting his capacity to discharge the duties of his office.
Some of these duties include managing and advising the President, representing him in meetings, emails and phonecalls with internal and external stakeholders, managing the president schedule, controlling the flow of people and information into Aso Rock, etc.
Another important duty of the Chief of Staff is selecting and supervising senior staff members and their offices. This has been usurped by Alake. A clear example is the recent appointment of Ajuri Ngelale as Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity instead of Tunde Rahman, a much more experienced and seasoned communicator, who had worked with the President as his Personal Assistant on Media and Publicity, as a private citizen.
Gbajabiamila, on his own part is said to be fighting back, not willing to be a doormat, especially after being the country’s Number 4 citizen.