Bayo Onanuga, the Director of Media and Publicity for the Bola Tinubu Presidential Campaign Council, has said rumours that the president-elect has selected the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, as his chief of staff remain mere speculation until Tinubu confirms it on his return from France.
“I don’t know about that. The president-elect will soon be back in the country. It is nothing new. We know it has been trending in the last couple of days. Of course, it is still in the realm of speculation until the president-elect says otherwise,” Onanuga told our correspondent when contacted on the rumours.
Speculations have intensified in the camp of the president-elect that Gbajabiamila will be announced as the next chief of staff after the May 29 inauguration of Tinubu.
The development is coming three weeks after Gbajabiamila denied lobbying for the position.
The absence of the Speaker during the presentation of certificates of return to elected members of the 10th House of Representatives at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, had lent credence to the report.
But the lawmaker, who represents the Surulere I Federal Constituency in Lagos, had told reporters that he knew nothing about the reports linking him to the job.
He had stated,
I don’t know anything about that chief of staff thing. All I heard was that I didn’t come here last week to pick up my certificate and for that reason, somebody conjectured that it must be about something about the chief of staff.
I was in Lagos and I could not leave Lagos because I was campaigning for my party. That’s number one.
Again, it’ll interest you to know that I was not here four years ago to pick up my certificate, because I couldn’t make it. I don’t think it is anything significant.
A reliable source within the president-elect’s camp, however, reiterated that people close to Tinubu had read his body language and his recent trip to France in company with the Speaker as enough reason for the speculation.
It is no secret that Gbaja has remained one of Asiwaju’s trusted lieutenants and political protégés. We know he (Tinubu) is comfortable with exchanging ideas and sharing certain secrets with him more than other members of his camp.
You saw him with Asiwaju at Chatham House, political rallies and some nocturnal meetings with him. He always seems relaxed in Gbaja’s presence. Therefore, it is no surprise to us that he has always been by the president-elect even as he is having his vacation in France.
In fact, as far as we are concerned, the speaker has resumed his duty as chief of staff to Tinubu already.