Up to 22 former members of the House of Representatives are presenting themselves for jobs to serve as aides to the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yusuf Lasun, The PUNCH learnt on Tuesday.
Investigations showed that at least six of the ex-lawmakers had been handed letters of engagement to serve as special advisers to Dogara and Lasun.
The majority of the job seekers were part of the 2011-2015 batch, members whose tenure at the National Assembly rounded off on June 5.
A senior member of the House disclosed to The PUNCH on Tuesday that some of the ex-members were “very supportive” in the run up to the election of the presiding officers of the House on June 9.
“The jostling for jobs here started long before now. Some of them worked in the speaker’s team before the election.
“This is like compensating them for the roles they played, but there are others who truly requested to serve as aides to Dogara and his deputy.
“Only a few have been confirmed really; there is no possibility that everyone will be on board. Many are still on the waiting list,” the official added.
However, one of the engaged aides, a former Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Mr. Cyril Maduabum, was carried over from the 7th Assembly where he had served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker at the time, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha.
Findings indicated that among those Dogara and Lasun had engaged so far were a former Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Mr. Jerry Manwe, who was appointed as Chief of Staff to Dogara.
He was allegedly considered for the job ahead of another former younger ex-lawmaker on the grounds that Manwe was “more experienced in administrative matters”, besides being a very close friend.
The younger former member, who once served as the deputy chairman of a popular House committee in the 7th Assembly, is said to be among those still on the awaiting list.
On his side, Lasun had appointed a former member from Ekiti State, Mr. Bimbo Daramola, as his chief of staff.
Daramola was formerly the Director-General of the campaign organisation of a former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, in the last governorship poll.
Similarly, a former Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology, Mr. Abiodun Akinlade, is the Special Adviser on Special Duties to the deputy speaker.
Another former Chairman on Youth Matters, Mr. Kamil Akinlabi, is also a special adviser to Lasun.
But, when contacted, some of the members described as “erroneous” any impression that they were scrambling for the positions.
For example, Akinlade told The PUNCH that their services were needed as experienced legislators to help the presiding officers to stabilise the House.
“This is not even about saying we are looking for jobs or something. That is not correct.
“Some of us have up to 12 years of experience in the House; so, the experience will help the system.
“If you go to the Senate, you will see a similar trend of keeping some experienced hands behind”, he added.
The Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, did not comment on the issue when his reactions were sought.
However, the Chief Press Secretary to Lasun, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, defended the decision of his boss to hire ex-members as his aides.
He told The PUNCH that Lasun merely kept a tradition of retaining some ex-members to serve as advisers to presiding officers.
“This is not new; since the days of (Aminu) Masari, some former members do serve as advisers or work for the presiding officers,” Oladimeji stated.
A source at Dogara’s office also claimed that about six ex-members served as aides to the immediate past Speaker of the House, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal.
One of them was Mr. Sada Soli, who served as Tambuwal’s chief of staff.