By Eric Teniola
THE situation continued during the illness of President Yar’Adua and his sad death on May 5, 2010. Since then every President has appointed a chief of staff.
In May 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed his friend and deputy governor colleague, Chief Mike Aiyegbeni Oghiadomhe (63) from Fugar in Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo State as chief of staff. On February 8, 2014, President Goodluck replaced Chief Oghiadomhe with Brigadier General (retd) Jones Oladeinde Arogbofa (66) as chief of staff.
Brigadier Arogbofa, who is from Oka in Akoko South Local Government Area of Ondo State was former military assistant to Brigadier General (retd) Raji Rasaki, former military governor of Lagos State.
The present chief of staff, Mr. Abba Kyari was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 27, 2015. He is a product of University of Cambridge, University of Warwick, Nigerian Law School, International Institute for Management at Laussane, Switzerland and Harvard Business School.
From 1988 to 1990, he was editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna. In 1990, he served as commissioner for forestry and animal resources in Borno State. From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited. Abba Kyari was executive director, management services, United Bank for Africa Plc, UBA, and was later appointed managing director and chief executive of the bank.
He was appointed a director of Unilever Nigeria Plc in 2002 and is a director of Exxon Mobil Nigeria. In addition to his appointment as chief of staff to the President, Mr. Kyari was appointed to the board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 4, 2016.
The growth of the power and influence of the office of chief of staff depends on the President. Only the President can decide the relevance of that office and powerful it could be. He is the one and the only one who can delegate authorities and power to that office. For all powers flow directly from him. Let’s take a look at the schedule of the office as at 1999.
Responsibilities of the chief of staff are 1- Coordinating the activities of all principal staff officers of the President; 2- conveyance of all directives and decisions of the President, to the SGF, CDS, members and other top functionaries of government; 3- formation of ad-hoc bodies as well as stipulating their terms of reference in conjunction with SGF; 4- chairing of meetings of principal staff officers to the president; 5-monitoring and coordinating the day to day activities of the President; 6- clearance of all official military and civil matters as well as preparation of executives summaries on official issues; 7- arrangement of all official appointments and engagements of the President, in conjunction with SCOP and ADC to the president; 8- arrangement and convening of all meetings sanctioned by the President as well as coverage of such meetings, including provision of secretariat services; 9- organising Federal Executives Council meetings in conjunction with the cabinet secretariat and advising the President on schedules of the meetings to approval and eventual communication of same by the COS to the Cabinet Secretariat; 10- attendance of National Defence and Security Council meetings; 11- coordination and attendance of the annual council/boards of Defence, NA, NN, NAF, NWC, CSC, NDA and NDF as well as following up all decisions reached at the meetings; 12- serving as a link between the President and the Service Headquarters; 13 – vetting of all draft speeches for the President, in respect of services functions; 14 – management of correspondence to and from the President, including the circulation of enrolled legislation, proposed executive orders, decision memoranda, speeches and other Presidential documents to relevant State House functionaries for clearance and comment; 15 -ensuring that any document being forwarded to the President is in suitable condition, technically and substantively for President review and action; 16 – maintenance and control of the President’s projects and welfare accounts; 17 – authorisation of use of Presidential Air-fleet by Government functionaries.