- 5 commissioners reject Omolori as acting Clerk
- Probe Fika now, groups urge EFCC, ICPC
Controversy trailing the appointment of Mohammed Sani-Omolori as acting clerk of the National Assembly continued yesterday with most of the commissioners of the National Assembly Service Commission, NASC, rejecting the elevation of Sani-Omolori to the office.
However, one NASC commissioner, Idi Adamu Ningi has said that he endorsed the appointment and would not renege on it.
These are coming just as groups have called for the resignation or out-right sack of NASC chairman, Adamu Fika.
Ningi had in a letter made available to our correspondent in April 19 declared support for Sani-Omolori’s appointment as acting clerk.
Also, the commissioner in a statement issued yesterday explained the circumstance which led to his signature being among those who rejected Omolori’s appointment.
According to him, the signatures of commissioners on the list taken were from an attendance sheet of a meeting which held between the commissioners and Senate President Bukola Saraki at his residence.
He said: “On Tuesday, 26th April, 2016, I was informed of a meeting of the commission with His Excellency, the President of the Senate in his house at 7pm of that day. Myself (sic) and one of my colleague – Alhaji Rufai Tuta arrived after 7pm, having missed our way trying to locate the Senate President’s house.
“On arrival, we met four of our colleagues already seated – Elder Yepwi, Funmilayo Lamuye, Paul Oweh and Joseph Oru. About five minutes later, His Excellency, the Senate President walked in and after exchanging pleasantries, he spoke about the way the issue of the appointment of the acting clerk to the National Assembly was handled by the commission and essentially expressed displeasure about it.
“My colleagues, who all spoke before me, recalled their contributions at the meeting of the commission where the decision on the appointment was taken. I spoke last and only offered apologies to His Excellency as it was apparent that he was not happy with the commission, assuring him that we cannot annoy him intentionally.
“Mid-way into the meeting, the Deputy Senate President walked in and joined us. While I was speaking, one of my colleagues (amongst the four we met at the residence) walked towards my seat with a sheet of paper which he gave to my colleague sitting close to me, Alhaji Rufai Tuta, to sign and thereafter gave it to me. I noticed the paper was merely to write our names, the zone we represent and signature to indicate our attendance at the meeting and I signed accordingly.”
Ningi continued: “I am therefore shocked and surprised to learn that I signed a document. No document was presented at the meeting and I did not sign any document but an attendance sheet.
“I could not have signed any document dissociating myself from the decision of the commission as I had earlier (on the 19th April, 2016) in a hand written note – attached – expressed my support for the appointment of Alhaji Sani Omolori as the Clerk to the National Assembly in Acting capacity.
“Let me seize this opportunity to express my deep and sincere respect and loyalty to His Excellency, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the Deputy President of the Senate, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, and to pledge my unflinching loyalty to and confidence on the executive chairman of the commission, Dr. Adamu Mohammed Fika.”
But in a swift reaction, six out of the commissioners who attended the meeting with the Senate President lambasted Ningi, saying he lied.
The commissioners in a counter statement issued yesterday described as unfortunate Ningi’s denial, adding that they were disappointed at his inability to stand by his word.
The statement read: ”It has come to our attention that a member of the commission, Idi Adamu Ningi, has denied rejecting the appointment of Mohammed Sani-Omolori as acting clerk of the National Assembly.
“It is unfortunate that he could speak from both sides of the mouth, an action which speaks of how much of a liar and traitor he is.
“We expect that a man of his age and standing should know better than to publicly deny a position he had earlier taken in the last meeting which held between us and the Senate President in the interest of the commission which has been brought to disrepute owing to the crisis rocking the commission.
“More so, to think that Idi Ningi could fall so cheap for financial inducement shows that he is not one to call a dependable ally, neither is he in anyway worthy of confidence. His recant demonstrates a lack of maturity that glaringly tells about his character. He is a betrayer and sell out,” the statement said.
Probe Fika now – Group
In a related development, a group yesterday called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate the alleged administrative misconduct of the NASC chairman, Alhaji Adamu Fika.
The group, under the aegis of Association of Parliamentary Writers, APW, which also wanted the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, to carry out another separate investigation on the chairman, demanded his resignation over his role in the crisis that has enveloped the commission and National Assembly in general.
Fika had a couple of weeks ago appointed Muhammed Sani-Omolori as acting clerk without the approval of commissioners serving on the NASC.
The development, which attracted the attention of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, led to the rejection of Sani-Omolori’s candidacy on grounds that he was not suitable for the job.
Taking side with the Senate president on the matter, seven commissioners out of 12 also last week rejected Sani-Omolori’s appointment in a letter signed and addressed to the commission’s chairman.
Though five commissioners abstained from taking any sides between who should be appointed between Ben Efeturi and Omolori, only one commissioner endorsed Fika’s appointment.
The commissioners stated in the letter that based on civil service rules, Efeturi was a better candidate for appointment as clerk of the National Assembly.
The APW, while reacting to the crisis rocking the NASC, said Fika, through his conduct in attempting to foist illegality in the bureaucracy of the National Assembly, had become an embarrassment to the Nigerian parliament and its bureaucracy.
The association in a statement issued yesterday by its director of publicity, Edward Banigo, said the actions of Fika could not be tolerated by patriotic Nigerians who deserved progress.
The association while urging anti corruption agencies to investigate Fika’s administrative conducts, said “it is imperative that the leadership of the National Assembly and members irrespective of the chambers they belong or political divide to take drastic actions towards ensuring that Adamu Fika does not go free after bringing the National Assembly and the Commission to undue negative publicity.”