Buhari To Appoint U.S Based Journalist As Osinbajo’s Spokesman (Photo)

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President Muhammadu Buhari is set to name a former North American
Bureau Chief of The Guardian, Laolu Akande, as a Senior Special
Assistant to lead the media and communication unit in the office of Vice
President Yemi Osinbajo, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report
today.

People familiar with the president’s plan said Mr. Akande’s appointment
would be among several others to be announced Monday or Tuesday.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that under the present arrangement in the
presidency, there would be only one presidential media and
communication office but that individual appointees would be given
separate responsibilities.

Mr. Akande would be deployed to work with Mr. Osinbajo, our sources
said.
It is not clear whether the journalist has returned to Nigeria to take up
the appointment. He could not be reached on his U.S. telephone on
Sunday.

He was however in Nigeria in May to cover the inauguration ceremony
for his media agency, Empowered Newswire. He returned to the U.S.
shortly afterwards.

Mr. Akande, a pastor, was a former editor of Saturday Tribune. He cut
his journalism teeth at The Guardian in 1989, and was a foundation staff
of The NEWS magazine.

He moved to the United States in 1997 after agents of then dictator, Sani
Abacha, began harassing him over perceived critical stance of his paper
(Saturday Tribune) to the administration.

According to his brief bio on the website of the CANUSA, a Christian
organization for which he works as executive director, Mr. Akande is
regarded as “the longest serving African correspondent at the United
Nations, and the only Nigerian journalist so far to have interviewed a
sitting American president in the White House when he interviewed
former President George W. Bush.

“He has also exclusively interviewed American folk hero, General Colin
Powell, as well as billionaires like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and
Donald Trump and several African leaders and presidents.”
An adjunct college professor, Mr. Akande worked with leading
American newspapers including the Philadelphia Inquirer, and New York
Newsday.

He worked briefly at the United Nations as a press officer and later as
advocacy consultant between 2002 and 2004.

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