If you are not ready to support Tinubu’s govt, step down – Matawalle to northern appointees

The Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, has advised all northern appointees to either support President Bola Tinubu or leave.

Matawalle’s call came after Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, former Northern Elders Forum spokesperson and current Special Adviser on Political Matters in the Presidency, criticized the Minister’s defense of Tinubu’s administration.

On Saturday, the minister chastised the NEF for admitting that it regretted supporting Tinubu in the 2023 general election.

He saw the NEF’s efforts as a political burden for the North.

This response, however, did not sit well with Baba-Ahmed. He stated Matawalle was ill-advised in his X post on Sunday, saying that a better defense could have been provided.

He wrote, “Scathing criticism of NEF by a junior minister of defence, Matawalle, is ill-advised. He could have done a better job for this admin if he identified the contributions of especially northern ministers and other appointees like me to improving security and reducing poverty in the North.”

However, in his defence, Matawalle in a statement on Monday, said as an appointee of the current administration, Baba-Ahmed needs to work towards its success and protect it from unwarranted criticism rooted in ethnic or narrow interests.

“Consequent to my position on the recent attack on the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR by a spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, it has come to my attention that Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed who once served as the Spokesperson of the group and currently a Special Adviser on Political Matters in the Presidency took to his page on it to express a different position.

“According to Dr Baba-Ahmed, my stand against the unjust and spurious attack against the new administration of President Tinubu which is working very hard to reposition our country and economy for the better is ‘ill-advised’. He suggested I could have done a better job in my defence of the administration where I have the rare honour of serving as a Minister.

“Dr. Baba-Ahmed’s relationship and affinity with the NEF is well-known. The fact now is that he is an appointee of the administration as Special Adviser and it is incumbent on him to work for the success of the government he is part of, protect and defend the government against unjust and vicious attacks from those who hide under ethnic and other primordial interests to heat the polity for myopic reasons

Matawalle emphasised that every appointee under Tinubu carries a significant responsibility to promote and highlight the government’s achievements across all sectors.

He stated, “It is pertinent to state that every appointee of President Tinubu including Dr. Baba-Ahmed owes the government a copious duty to promote, elucidate and advance the good works and commendable efforts of the government across all sectors.

“As appointees of the government from the North, we must all take a stand, be unequivocal and be counted in the roll of honours for our support and work for the success of the administration we are serving.”

The minister warned that this is not a time for silence or acquiescence in the face of intimidation or misrepresentation but rather an opportunity to demonstrate loyalty or make way for others who will.

“This is not the time to keep quiet in the face of intimidation and misrepresentation of the efforts and achievements of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR. We must stand up to be counted for being on the part of the government or take our exit,” he added.


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