•Exercise not targeted at inherited staff, says Senate president
From Fred Itua, Abuja
Seven months after The Sun exclusively reported that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had given nod to the sack of about 100 of his staff, the Kwara born lawmaker yesterday finally made the announcement.
Saraki explained that the sacking of about 100 out of over 200 aides working with him within the last two years was to ensure efficient service delivery and not targeted against inherited staff.
Some of the sacked aides were inherited from the immediate-past Senate President, David Mark. More than half of them had no portfolios, but received monthly salaries from the National Assembly bureaucracy.
The running cost of Saraki’s office and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, including salaries of aides, Daily Sun gathered, is over N1 billion monthly. It was also gathered that Saraki decided to overhaul his cabinet to give room to his close allies and friends to come in.
A source, who spoke to Daily Sun, said over 90 percent of Saraki’s aides were appointed through referrals and added that the Senate president wanted to placate some people who played roles in his emergence.
Daily Sun further learnt that Saraki was also uncomfortable with the attitude of some of aides, who are either currently facing trial or in running battles with security agents.
The Director of Protocol, Arthur Ndiwe, who has spent a total of 10 years on the position, having served Mark for eight years before continuing with Saraki in June 2015, was among those affected.
Saraki in a clarification made by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, at an emergency press briefing, disclosed that the sack affected both inherited and personally appointed staff.
“The restructuring that has just taken place on the workforce in the office of the Senate President was meant to reposition the office for service delivery, the outcome of which has affected three categories of staff in different ways.
“The first category are those that have been found capable and competent to continue with their job like all the entire members of the media unit.
“The second category are those earlier seconded from the National Assembly bureaucracy to serve in the office of the Senate President, but now directed to go back to their civil service jobs like the head of Administration, Mrs Folashade Adigun.
“The third category are those whose services within the last two years were not all that satisfactory in the eye of the committee set up by the Senate President to carry out the repositioning exercise of his office,” he explained.
The affected aides, 80 percent of which were largely believed to be inherited staff, were issued sack letters through the office of the Chief of staff, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
There are still over 50 aides of the Senate President who were not affected.