Vice President, Kashim Shettima has appointed the National Director of Publicity of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed as new Special Adviser on Political Matters.
The appointment which was made public by the NEF spokesman himself, Monday, has elicited shock in the country, considering that Dr. Baba-Ahmed is the older sibling of the Vice Presidential running mate of the Labour Party (LP) at the 2023 elections, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Both Hakeem and Datti hail from Kaduna State, South-West region of the country, while Vice President Shettima is from Borno State, in the North East.
Making public the appointment via his X (former Twitter) account (@baba_hakeem), Monday, Dr Hakeem explained that his appointment is also time to be ‘useful in turning the country round.’
According to him, it is no longer ‘the time for fence-sitting or criticism.’
Dr Baba-Ahmed has been a staunch critic of the ruling All progressives Congress (APC), an in particular, the party’s chieftain and former President, Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration he has described as ‘a waste of eight years.’
“It is time to make it public that I have accepted the call to serve as Special Adviser (Political) to the VP, @KShettim .This is not the time for fence-sitting or criticism when you can be useful in turning the country round. I am honored and humbled. Please pray for me & Nigeria.”
Dr Hakeem is a former permanent secretary in the Federal Civil Service has severally refused to openly declare support for his younger brother, Yusuf Datti in his political campaigns as running mate of Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Dr Hakeem’s position is also shared by other chieftains of the NEF who it was rumoured had pitched their tent with the political ambitions of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar.
Hakeem’s appointment as political aide to the VP, Shettima has continued to be trailed by shock among Nigerians among reactions that have been expressed on the social media handles, including X, as many expressed for Mr Obi over the reliability of his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed in the pursuit of reclaiming their mandate at the judiciary, which began with the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT).
The challenge now moves to the Supreme Court as the litigants continue to challenge the declaration of President Bola Tnubu as winner of the February 25 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 1, 2023.
Dr Hakeem’s appointment will be the second time the Presidency is poaching from the camp of Yusuf Datti after the appointment of Professor Tahir Mamman as the Minister of Education.
Professor Mamman, before his appointment, was the Vice Chancellor of the famous Baze University, Abuja, incidentally owned and operated by Yusuf Datti.