Gbaja: That Cat With Nine Lives

NV News

By Okanga Agila

Since the advent of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, one name has been in the news. In some quarters, it has been speculated that he is the defacto president. Some have also postulated that he has his hands in all government deals. Some have also said that most government appointees hold their allegiance to him. Consequently, I wondered about this individual that has become a recurring decimal in this administration. 

It got to a point where the president publicly stated that he had 100% confidence in his ability and loyalty to his administration. This individual is Femi Gbajabiamila, the president’s chief of staff. He is that cat with nine lives because he has continued to weather the storm daily. 

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There must be something about the Chief of Staff. He is such a character who exudes confidence daily. And he is not new to controversies, even from his days as speaker of the House of Representatives. In all of these, one thing stands out. He understands the game of politics, and being a lawyer helps him in no small measure. 

The plot against him has thickened again recently—this time, its momentum is strong. But guess what? Those behind the move need to be made aware that the chief of staff to the president tested the murky water of politics very early. And he is always ahead of his game. 

I must state here that I don’t hold brief for him; my analysis is based on his trajectory in politics, and I am not convinced that such an individual who at some point rose to the number four leadership position in the country would be careless in his actions. That is a no-brainer. 

Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila means different things to different people. But only a few have taken the time to understand what makes him unique. They only scratch the surface, leaving the depth. And that is his joker. The more you see, the less you understand. And why he has continually weathered the storm. This is not lucky. It is strategy. You can only survive the terrain if you watch your back without getting your hands messy. This has been his stronghold, but only a few know this attribute in him. And why the public space is inundated with allegations against him and why he always comes out clean. 

Given the stories that ensued, I will assume the chief of staff adjusted his belt upon his appointment. And he hasn’t stopped doing his best to discharge his responsibilities. Interestingly, his work ethic is not appraised by public opinion. The president and commander-in-chief appraise it. This says it all. 

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The chief of staff is a man of great intellect. His ability to make political projections is second to none. He keeps his books clean and leaves no traces behind. Only when this is realized will those agitating for his downfall continue chasing shadows? 

You can link all the scandals to him; he takes such in good stride. You can also ascribe greed to his personality; that is an opinion, not a statement of fact. In all, what you can’t ignore is his passion and loyalty to his boss. What else matters in this circumstance? 

When you are nobody, nobody talks about you. But when you are somebody, everybody talks about you. This is the case and why some of us are not surprised by the avalanche of diatribes that have become synonymous with his name. Whichever way you want to look at it, one thing stands sacrosanct. He is a strategist and the master of the game. 

The president didn’t err in his choice of Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as his chief of staff. That position is not meant for politically naive individuals because it serves as the engine house in the country’s governance. I am tempted to say that the chief of staff position should be reserved for lawyers. This is my opinion because of the technicalities of the position. The ability to argue for and against and err on the side of caution must be emphasized. 

Remember that one of the responsibilities of the Chief of Staff is to protect the president’s political interests. It meant that the chief of staff was not to be loved but despised because he always acted to protect the president’s political interest. Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila can’t work otherwise. That is why he is paid his wages.

I often laugh when I read negative stories about him in the media. The irony is that people have a way of blaming others for their misfortunes. They always find a scapegoat. But this is proving a herculean task in this dispensation. And the chief of staff has trudged without hindrance. 

The cat with nine lives aptly describes the chief of staff. It doesn’t seem like he has exhausted his first life. The implication is that the plot against him might end up a wild goose chase—my two cents.

Okanga wrote this piece from Agila, Benue State.

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