For appointing media aides from the House of Representatives Press Corps, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the Green Chamber of the National Assembly, took the shine off the President of the Senate and Chairman of NASS, Ahmad Lawan.
Political analysts and other stakeholders in the media were expecting Lawan to follow the footsteps of his predecessors like David Mark and Bukola Saraki, who appointed their media aides from the Senate Press Corps.
This expectation was, however, not forthcoming as none of the appointments so far made by Lawan is from the Senate Press Corps. Some appointments had even caused controversy and uproar, making people to raise eyebrows.
Some political watchers have questioned the position reserved for the Senate Press Corps, which stood with Lawan in the buildup to his emergence as President of the Senate.
Aside Gbajabiamila, the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, appointed Mohammed Umar Puma, the Chairman of House of Representatives Press Corps as his Chief Press Secretary and the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, also appointed the Chairman of Senate Press Corps, Ezrel Tabiowo, as his Chief Press Secretary.
This demonstration from other National Assembly principal officers in appointing media aides from the press corps, questioned the relationship between Lawan and the Senate Press Corps, which is always ready to fight the interest of the lawmakers.
Gbajabiamila had appointed six media aides, including Lanre Lasisi of Channels Television, who was appointed as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.
Also appointed as aides were reporter of Daily Trust, Musa Krishi (Chief Press Secretary); and The Nation, Dele Anofi (Special Assistant on Print Media) who was, until his appointment, Secretary of the House of Representatives Press Corps.
His statement read: “I am pleased to inform the general public of the appointments of the following members of my media team. These appointments take immediate effect.”
The action of Gbajabiamila had earned him the commendation of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The NUJ, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Correspondents’ Chapel, had commended Gbajabiamila and his deputy, Wase, for appointing its members as media aides.
In a statement in Abuja by its Chairman, Philip Nyam, and Secretary, Jide Oyekunle, NUJ said by the appointments, Gbajabiamila and Wase had confirmed their confidence in the Nigerian media.
“We commend you for appointing Lanre Lasisi of Channels TV Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Abdullahi Krishi of Daily Trust as Chief Press Secretary and Dele Anofi of The Nation Newspapers as Special Assistant (Print Media).
“We also appreciate Wase for appointing Mohammed Umar Puma of Peoples Daily Newspaper as Chief Press Secretary.
“It is our hope that these journalists, imbued with experience, will contribute towards the achievement of your policy agenda of nation-building.
“Appointing journalists who report the House of Representatives as their aides is an indication that both officers appreciate the media and the exploits of those they have chosen,” the statement reads.
The chapel noted that Gbajabiamila was the first speaker in the history of the Nigerian parliament to appoint three journalists covering the same beat as media aides simultaneously.
“This is a masterstroke and we believe that with these appointments, the ninth House will have a seamless working relationship with the media,” it added.
Although appointment of aides by the principal officers, including the President of the Senate is still ongoing, some political analysts are of the opinion that Lawan may still look the way of the Senate Press Corps to create a cordial and seamless working relationship.