RUGA Comments: Buhari dumps Ita Enang, picks new N’Assembly Aide
A major online news source, Premium Times has announced the sack of Senator Ita Enang as President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide on National Assembly Matters (Senate).
A source in the Presidency said the final trigger of Mr Enang’s sack was his recent comments on the controversial Ruga project of the federal government.
Mr Enang, a former senator from Akwa Ibom state, was appointed a senior special assistant to Mr Buhari during the president’s first term.
He has continued to act in that capacity in Mr Buhari’s second term, even when his appointment, like that of several other aides, has not been renewed.
Ita Enang is said to have again angered the Presidency when he came out to stir the RUGA herdsmen controversy, despite a call for a ceasefire by the President.
The Buhari government was forced to suspend the programme after an outcry over the plan to set up grazing areas for cattle herders in states of the federation. Critics said it was an attempt to grab land from indigenous communities.
Mr Enang last week came out and called on states in southern Nigeria to support the initiative by making land available, saying N2.3 billion had been provided by the administration for its implementation.
Enang had lashed at critics, and denied that the programme’s intent was to “Islamise” or Fulanise” the country.
Our source said the Presidency was “very angry” with Mr Enang for making those comments. The source said the remarks were unnecessary since the nation had moved on from the Ruga controversy and the president had discarded the idea.
“It was seen as unnecessary and as insubordination,” the source said.
The president has reportedly picked Omoworare Babajide, a former senator from Osun state, as Mr Enang’s replacement, the source said.
The belief in the Presidency is that Mr Enang did not perform well in managing the relationship between President Buhari and senators in the eighth Senate, despite being a former senator himself.
The relationship between President Buhari and the Bukola Saraki-led Senate was characterised by deep animosity.
“He (Enang) didn’t have the temperament to deliver anything substantial,” the source said of Mr Enang’s performance as Mr Buhari’s aide.
“Despite the experience he has and the senators being his former colleagues, he could not resolve the frequent crisis the senators were having with the president.”
The new appointment is among those to be announced this week by the presidency.
No official comment has been issued on this by the presidency.