From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
The Presidency yesterday said contrary to an online speculation that the Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghiadomhe, was sacked due to fraudulent activities in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), he actually resigned to pursue political ambition.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, confirmed Oghiadomheâ€™s resignation, describing the online speculation as callous and unreasonable.
Abati said the Chief of Staff merely heeded President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s directive to cabinet members and political appointees two weeks ago, that those with political ambition should resign or come to him for discussion.
The Presidentâ€™s spokesman said: â€œI can confirm to you that the Chief of Staff has resigned from his post and it has nothing to do with the speculation that one online portal is trying to put out.
â€œThe president received the letter today and the letter is titled letter of resignation. â€ŽAnd it says, â€˜I wish to pursue other political necessitiesâ€Ž within our great partyâ€™.
â€œYou will recall that about two weeks ago, when the president travelled to Ethiopia, he told council members that if there was any member of the cabinet or any major political appointee who wants to pursue some political roles, that he has been hearing some rumours that some people want to pursue some political roles in whatever capacity, that if such people are going to be engaged heavily in political activities, that they should let him know.Â And if they see that they are going to be really busy, and such activities may occupy their time extraordinarily, they should please step aside or come and see him for discussion.
â€œThat, you can confirm. It happened in the open floor of the council. And you can see what I have pointed out as the reason for the chief of staffâ€™s resignation is in line with that. So, we find the speculation particularly by some of the online platforms callous, completely unreasonable considering that this is a man who has served and who has given time and energy to the pursuit of the good interest of our country.
â€œMr. President appreciates his contributions and he would like to put on record that indeed he was a man who discharged his responsibilities diligently and the country is very grateful to him and the president personally would like to wish him well in his future endeavours.â€
Abati said no replacement had been named.
But Presidencyâ€™s explanation seemed to be a soft landing for the former deputy governor of Edo State, as sources stated that he was given the option of being sacked or resigning honourably following alleged poor organization of the presidentâ€™s recent visit to Sokoto State, where he led the reception of former governor of the state, Attahiru Bafarawa who recently defected to the PDP.
The Sokoto State Governor, Magatakarda Wamakko, was said to have complained to President Jonathan at the end of the visit that he was not officially informed about his visit, but Oghiadomhe had written to his Deputy, Muktar Shagari, notifying him of the visit, saying it was a breach of protocol.
Wamakko was said to have gone ahead to prepare for the presidentâ€™s receptiopn including the accommodation of the presidentâ€™s advanced team and other logistics.
He was, however, not present at the airport to receive the president when he touched down in Sokoto.
The Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, despite having defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), was present at the Maiduguri airport to receive the president, when he visitedâ€Ž the Adamawa State capital for the commissioning of the Air Force Comprehensive Secondary School.