In response to a leaked memo implicating Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila, in financial transactions with suspended Minister Betta Edu, a presidential aide has come forward to dismiss the allegations.
The leaked memo, dated December 18, 2023, revealed President Tinubu’s approval of N3 billion from the COVID-19 Palliative Fund to verify the National Social Register.
Speaking anonymously, the aide stated that the leaked memo is part of a larger plot by individuals within and outside the Presidential Villa seeking to connect Gbajabiamila to the ongoing controversy surrounding Edu’s suspension.
The aide clarified that the Chief of Staff’s role is to convey the president’s approval or disapproval to Cabinet members and institutions, following established procedures.
“The CoS did not convey his own personal approval. He conveyed approval of his boss; it’s the practice with Abba Kyari and others that the Chief of Staff conveys approval or otherwise of the President to Cabinet members and institutions that might have requested one or two things from the president.
“The current Chief of Staff has not faced twenty per cent of the attacks one of his predecessors, Abba Kyari, got over the wrong allegations. President Tinubu’s verdict on his Chief of Staff’s integrity is known to public.
“The latest memo that came out was just an attempt by some persons within and outside the Villa to tie Gbajabiamila to the Betta Edu investigation.
“Thankfully, one of the official spokesmen of the President, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, has clarified that, indeed, the N3bn was approved by the president himself and not by Gbajabiamila.
“For the sake of clarity, it is not out of place for the president via his chief of staff to raise a memo to approve N3bn for verification of 11 million people inherited from the social register of the last administration based on official request from the minister.
“N3 billion divided by 11 million means each person was verified at about N273 only. So the media trial of the President and his Chief of Staff is of no effect”.
“It is left for the humanitarian affairs ministry to prove the exercise was indeed conducted.
“However, the intention of those who released the memo was to soil Gbajabiamila’s name. The president will rely solely on the outcome of the investigation team he already set up on the Humanitarian ministry.”
President Tinubu, during a Federal Executive Council meeting on October 30, 2023, had expressed unwavering confidence in Gbajabiamila and passed a vote of confidence in him.
“I have absolute confidence in my Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila. So, all campaign of calumny, the buck stops here! If I make mistakes, I’ll own up to them,” the president had said.