Senate President Dr. Abunakar Bukola Saraki may have thanked his staff and wished them well in their future endeavors, but it had always been at the back of mind to send them packing, an insider told everyday.ng .
Even Thursday, the exact number eased out was a subject of controversy. While many media houses claimed they were over 90, Saraki’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyomu, was vehemently denying the figures. He could not provide the exact number because, according to him, he was not privy to it and his bosses, who know, were out of Abuja.
a National Assembly staff confirmed that most of those said to have been sacked were bureaucrats returning to their desks in the National Assembly. “Many had been there since the days of David Mark,” he added.
Two months ago when speculations were rife, a staff in the office of Saraki explained that the number three citizen was considering the move because he could no longer bear to keep people who were of no strategic significance to his office.
“Some of them were people who were pushed down his throat at a time he was trying to find his feet and understanding the workings of his office; but now, two years down the line, he finds that they were receiving pay for no meaningful contribution or strategic significance to his office. He will, of course, let many go, but whether they will be replaced is what I do not know,” he said.
Another put it more bluntly: “It was a period of job for the boys, but now that he has consolidated they have to give way to others.”
It was gathered that those who got their letters this week from the Office of the Chief of Staff, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, had known for some time that they were pencilled for sack. “Many took it in bad faith, naturally; but others were glad they were given the opportunity to enhance their bio-data.
Saraki’s spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu, denied the figure of 96 being bandied around in the media asking rhetorically, “how many are we that 96 have to be let go.”
He admitted that a staff review exercise was carried out. Its objective, he said, was to ensure better efficiency and help the Senate President deliver on his promises to the country and his colleagues when he was coming in.
According to him, it was not a job loss for many sent home because they were seconded from the civil service. “They have merely returned to the bureaucracy where they came from.
On the exact number of those sent home, he disclosed that only the Senate President who has traveled out of the country, and the Chief of Staff can speak authoritatively on it. “But the figure in the media is not the correct one because I attend meetings of staff held in a room, and people are usually not left standing.”