On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari announced through his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, that Tolu Ogunlesi has been appointed as the Special Assistant on digital/new media to President Buhari. Tolu’s appointment comes days after Bashir Ahmad was made the Personal Assistant on New and Social Media to the president. According to reports, Bashir will be assisting Tolu Ogunlesi.
His appointment doesn’t come as a surprise to many because he is one of Nigeria’s most active Twitter users and was clearly in favour of Buhari during the 2015 presidential elections. Ogunlesi’s appointment is seen by many as a laudable move by the president to include the youth in his administration. However, questions have been raised concerning why Buhari has decided to appoint the youth for his media team alone.
Tolu will be tasked with the role of ‘social media anchor’ for Buhari’s administration, a role played by Reno Omokri for the former president, Goodluck Jonathan. Here is what you should know about Ogunlesi:
He is a renowned Nigerian journalist, born 1982.
He has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
He worked in an Analyst Resources Operating Group with Accenture, was a guest writer for the Nordiska Afrikainstitutet and also worked as a Public Relations Officer, with Visafone Communications Limited.
He has worked with several publications including: Ventures Africa, NEXT Newspaper, CNN.com; guardian.co.uk; Africa Confidential, The Economist (Baobab Blog), Arise, The Guardian (Nigeria), Think Africa Press, 3 Quarks Daily, London Independent, Harvard Africa Policy Journal, Wasafiri and Farafina.
He is a two-time CNN award winning journalist (2009 and 2013). His 2013 CNN/Multichoice journalist of the year award was for his article featured on Ventures Africa Magazine titled “Eko Atlantic City: A Mammoth New Development on the Coastline of Lagos.” He was also shortlisted for the inaugural PEN/Studzinski literary prize.
Ogunlesi describes himself as a poet, photographer and fiction writer.
Prior to his appointment, he was the Strategic Communications Adviser to Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.