By Titilope Fadare
OrderPaperToday– As the politics of 2019 begins President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, have embarked on a major rejigging of their teams as both men have disengaged tens of aides in recent times.
OrderPaper.ng gathered that Ekweremadu had a few weeks made the first move when he dismissed about 100 aides who have served with him since 2015 on the ground that the ‘spoils’ of office needed to be spread to other beneficiaries.
Although the Deputy Senate President brought back a few, it was gathered a majority of the dismissed aides, many of whom were political operators did not make their way back by the time he reconstituted his team.
Only on Thursday, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President of the Senate, Yusuph Olaniyonu, was forced to react to a media report of mass sack of aides by his principla by saying it was a staff review exercise to improve on service delivery.
Olaniyonu made this known in a press briefing on Thursday after a tension was raised that 98 aides of the President of the Senate were sacked.
This action by both presiding officers of the Senate would leave the dismissed aides thrown into the labour market as their ex-bosses are busy planning and strategizing for the politics of 2019.
Mr. Olaniyonu however told journalists at a press briefing:“I am here to discuss this issue of restructuring in the office of the Senate President. Some of our colleagues called me to clarify what happened.
“It is has been known since four months ago that a comprehensive staff review exercise was going on in the office of the senate president. It was just concluded a few days ago and the purpose of the exercise is to reposition the office to improve on service delivery, improve on his ability to deliver on the agenda of the 8th Senate.
“We have served for two years and this is a long time enough to determine who is good enough to continue in the last phase of the service. You know the senate has just about 22 months to its expiration.
“It is an exercise that has now been concluded and we can determine who is good enough to continue, who needs to give way and who may likely come in.”
He added that there are three categories of affected aides thrown up by the decision taken: “Some members of staff who by their performance in the last two years have been deemed fit to continue and those ones are still there.
“There is also a second category of people who were seconded from the National Assembly Service Commission to the office of the Senate president and in this exercise some of them were told to revert back to bureaucracy where they were from the beginning.
“Then there is a third set who have been removed obviously maybe because they were found not to have met the expectation of their offices or who not helping enough in the function of the office.
“So you see that actually it is appositive one not a punitive measure. It was meant to reposition the office to show that the office is more strengthened. That is the summary of the whole exercise and it is possible that a new set of people will be joining the exercise will be coming in.”
Speaking on the specific number of people affected, Olaniyonu said; “I don’t have the detail on the number of persons affected, those retained and those likely to be recruited. I may have to revert back to you on the specifics to you are asking for. I am just addressing the general principles of what has happened.”
On whether some of the affected aides were inherited from the former President, David Mark, he said that; “it is good for a public official like the Senate President to have given everybody the opportunity to serve in that office and he has done that retaining everybody and he had done retaining everybody, carry on the entire team for two years, even more than two years.
“The two years was sufficient enough to determine who is doing well, who needs a little push and who cannot really fit in entirely and within the two year the assessment was made and the decision was taken. So nobody committed any sin. It was at the discretion of the Senate president. He has been able to determine within this period those that had helped in his agenda and so on.
“This is important for the efficiency of the office. When a man comes in, he has the right to ask everybody to go but he did not. People have been given two years to perform on the job. Some of the people that have been affected are people he even employed. Most of the people he inherited will only revert back to their offices.”