NASS Clerk: Commission Defies Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki

CHAIRMAN of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Dr Adamu Fika, on Tuesday, refused to carry out the order of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, to reverse the appointment of Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori as acting clerk to the National Assembly, insisting that the Senate president was ill-informed on the matter.

Fika, in a leter dated April 26, 2016, a reply to Saraki’s letter dated April 21, 2016, said the Senate president was ill-informed about the development, adding that Omolori happened to be the next most senior clerk.

He stated that the decision to appoint Sani-Omolori acting clerk to the National Assembly was taken at the commission’s 440th meeting held on the April 20, 2016, adding that the commission discovered that the incumbent deputy clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Ben Efeturi, would proceed on pre-retirement leave on August 2, 12 days before the outgoing clerk, Salisu Maikasuwa, would be due to retire.

According to him, the implication of that development was that “Efeturi is time barred for the acting appointment.”

He also stated that the choice of Omolori was to ensure continuity in the system.

But the appointment of Omolori as acting clerk appeared to have polarised the National Assembly, as sources revealed that it was a slap on the seniority and order of civil service.

It was also revealed that some forces in the NASC had ganged up against Efeturi for sometime now and only used the appointment of Omolori to get at him.

A source in the Assembly insisted on Tuesday that the rules were very clear on who should take over from the outgoing clerk, insisting that it would be a violation of the international norms which would not be applicable to the NASS.

The source warned that the appointment of Mr Sani-Omolori was capable of injecting bad blood into the bureaucracy, as it was contrary to civil service rules which recognise order of seniority in the appointment and which favours Mr Efeturi ahead of Omolori to succeed the outgoing clerk.

Fika’s letter to the Senate president read in part: “I wish to kindly invite your attention to the reason alleged in your letter to have been used to deny Mr Bene Efeturi from being appointed as the acting clerk, being that he was not duly appointed as deputy clerk of the National Assembly.

“It is necessary to place on record the career progression of the two officers in the hierarchy of the National Assembly as follows:

“Deputy Director: Mr Efeturi 1st January 2004, Mr Sani-Omolori 1st January 2003; Director, Mr Efeturi 1st January 2008; Sani-Omolori, 1st January 2007.

“Acting Clerk, Mr Efeturi, 4th February 2010; Sani-Omolori, 4th February 2010; substantive clerk, Mr Efeturi, 25th March, 2010; Mr Sani-Omolori, 25th March 2010.

“It should be noted that in the Nigerian public service, seniority is determined at the time of consideration for promotion and career progression chart leading to it.

“Seniority has never and is never decided by the date of appointment to the service nor date of retirement from service or indeed the number of years spent in the service.

“From that above analysis, denying Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori appointment as deputy clerk to the National Assembly in 2014 was improper, being that he was senior to Mr Benedict Efeturi.”