Battle over who takes over from the incumbent clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, appears to be getting out of hand as the Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission, Adamu Fika, has confronted the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on why the appointment of Mohammed Sani-Omolori cannot be reversed.
Saraki had, in a letter last week, asked the Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission to reverse the appointment of Sani-Omolori as the acting clerk of National Assembly.
He rather asked the Commission to consider, Benedict Efeturi, the deputy acting clerk of National Assembly, for the position.
However, in response to Saraki’s letter, Fika said reversing the decision of the Commission appointing Sani-omolori as the acting Clerk to the National Assembly cannot be tenable because it is against the Nigerian Public Service rule.
In a memorandum he submitted to the 440th meeting of the Commission held on April 20, Fika explained that Efeturi was not appointed to the position because he would proceed on retirement leave on August 2.
He said in conformity with the convention and practices of the service, no officer who has less than six months to retire would act in higher office.
“Mr. Benedict Efeturi, who presently acts as Deputy Clerk to National Assembly, will also proceed on his three months terminal leave on 2nd August, 2016, days before the end of the current Clerk’s terminal leave,” he said, adding: “It is neither expedient nor in conformity with convention and practices of the Service for an officer who has less than six months left to retire from service to act in a higher office.
“Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori, the present Clerk of the House of Representatives who therefore remains the next most senior officer in the services of the National Assembly will remain in service till 2021.”
Against the backdrop of reports that seven commissioners of the National Assembly service commission rejected Mohammed Sani-Omolori’s appointment as acting clerk of the National Assembly, one of the commissioners, Idi Adamu Ningi, has denied same saying he at no time rejected Omolori’s appointment.
Ningi, in a letter, had on April 19 declared support for Sani-Omolori’s appointment as acting clerk.
Also, the commissioner in a statement issued 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 from 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. I and one of my colleague’s – 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 colleague (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 name, 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 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.
“Moreso, 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 sellout,” the statement said.
AS it is now, the battle gets messier as both the political wing of the Senate and the commission is deep rooted in the battle of who will succeed Maikasuwa, Efeturi or Omolori?