With the current tension between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, one would think the relationship between them has gone sour to the point where their loyalists would be bearing some of the brunt. But it scarcely appears so.
On Thursday, Buhari wrote to the National Assembly to seek confirmation to his appointment of Musiliu Smith as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) to replace Mike Okiro. The letter also contains the names of five other people whom the presidency proposed for other positions in its administration.
Smith was first appointed as the Inspector General of Police by Obasanjo in 1999. He was in that position until 2002 after the Nigerian Union of Policemen commenced a nationwide strike, an action considered as mutiny, due to mistrust. He later went to work for the then Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and his successor Babatunde Fashola.
Meanwhile, Okiro, the outgoing PSC Chairman, was appointed IGP in 2007 by Obasanjo to take over from Mustapha Balogun, and he left the position when he retired from active duty in 2009. Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan subsequently appointed him PSC Chairman in 2013.
Outside the Police Force, a few Obasanjo hands look to be in Buhari’s good books, too. Earlier in the month, Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), was appointed Director, Strategic
Communication for the President’s re-election campaign. Keyamo was the lawyer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the early days of the anti-graft agency when Obasanjo was President.
Are more appointments for Obasanjo’s men on the way? Or now that the Buhari-Obasanjo cold war has snowballed into a public dispute, can Obasanjo’s former/current loyalists count themselves out of public-office appointments from now on?