THE face-off between the Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, and his estranged Personal Assistant, Hon. Rasaq Olubodun, over unpaid 23 months accumulated salary is getting messier as the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Victor Oluwadamilare, on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 said that Tajudeen Kareem, who claimed to be the Minister’s Media is not officially known in the Minister’s office, and hence, does not have the mandated authority to defend the minister on allegations raised by the estranged Personal Assistant.
Oluwadamilare, who was being careful in responding to requests for clarification by journalists said Tajudeen Kareem is “an interloper who does not understand the facts of the case between the PA and the Communications Minister, hence he misrepresented the minister.”
“Importantly, there is no designation of Media Adviser in the office of the Communications Minister, where I have worked for 23 months as a Special Assistant on Media,” he added.
Tajudeen Kareem, while reacting to the frosty relationship between the minister and his erstwhile PA had earlier debunked Olubodun’s claims by saying: “The claim that he is being owed 23 months accumulated salary is null and void, though he has since abandoned his work six months ago.”
Issues raised by the SA Media clearly shows that all is not well in the camp of the minister whose aides could be described as not being in good term with the minister and also, with one another.
Investigations revealed that there is really a crack in the camp.
Oluwadamilare added that the issue at hand “should not be a vague attempt to advertise one’s ego or settle old scores, particularly when the issue at stake is between two brothers,” apparently referring to Kareem, who has not been comfortable coming around the minister whenever Olubodun is around.
Reliable source also had it that aside the PA, a couple of the minister’s aides and associates show disdain for Kareem, who served a former Minister of Communications, late Alhaji Haruna Elewi, as media aide for wanting to usurp their functions.
He was said to have, on different occasions, infringed on the official territory of Oluwadamilare by performing functions strictly meant for the office of the Special Assistant on Media.
The Media Adviser to the Minister explained that, “Mr. Razaq Olubodun was appointed Personal Assistant to the Minister by a letter dated 23 November, 2015. Paragraph 3 of the letter signed by the Minister, reads: ‘Your monthly emolument will be decided in line with the existing practice.’
“The extant rule on the salary of PA to the Minister is contained in the Minister’s letter of appointment issued by the Secretary to the Federal Government.
“In this wise, the letter issued by the SGFs office in November, 2015 reads in part: item J, “Personal Assistant Allowance- 25% of Annual Basic Salary to enable you to employ a Personal Assistant of your choice.”
“The Salary of a PA to the Minister is calculated as follows: Minister’s annual basic salary is N2,026,400. 25% is N506,600, being annual salary of the PA. The monthly salary of a Minister’s PA is N42,216,66 multiplied by 23 months amounts to N970,983.33.
“Olubodun’s legal entitlement before resignation at the end of October, 2017 is N970,983.33.
“Records at the Minister’s office shows that he was paid a cumulative sum of N1.5 million as salary.”
This raised a question of why the Minister have paid his estranged PA N1.5 million which is an excess of N529,017 to the claimed N970,983.33.
Giving an insight into efforts by good spirited people to broker peace between the minister and his aide, the SA Media, Oluwadamilare said: “When issues like this arise, as they are bound to happen in human relationships, attempts must be made to effectively manage the disagreement which is already on course by well-meaning individuals minister and his erstwhile PA to douse the tension generated by the furore”.
Further investigations revealed that Olubodun was not the first aide to fall out of favour with the minister as his erstwhile SA Special Duties, Abdullahi Binuyo, has abandoned his appointment more than six months ago when he could no more retain his working relationship with the minister. He was said to have returned abroad to look after his business.
Another dependable ally of the minister called Oyaremi also parted ways with the minister unceremoniously and it was learnt that the man may not work for the realization of the gubernatorial ambition of the minister in Oyo State. He and Olubodun are believed to be working at cross purposes with the minister’s political camp.
Other two aides of the ministers who seem to be calm at the moment are believed to be waiting for an appropriate time to take the minister to the cleaners for unpaid salaries and alleged abandonment ‘in the scheme of things’.
This precarious situation, it was further learnt, has made it expedient for concerned people who are sympathetic to the course of the minister in the whole imbroglio to mediate between the minister and his aggrieved aides, by cooling frayed nerves as this is not an auspicious time for the minister to incur ‘enemies’ who might negatively impacted on his political ambition.