Steve Oronsaye under fire over “shameful” antics to discredit Ribadu panel report

Stephen Oronsaye, former Head of Service
Stephen Oronsaye, former Head of Service

Nov. 4 (PREMIUM TIMES) — Furious reactions have continued to trail the acrimonious altercation between members of the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force during the formal submission of their final report to President Goodluck Jonathan  Friday.

Some Nigerians, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, described the open disagreement and rejection of the report by the deputy Chairman of the committee, Steve Oronsaye, as not only “shameful and irresponsible”, but also an “attempt to undermine President Goodluck Jonathan’s determination to fight corruption and entrench transparency and accountability in the country’s petroleum industry.”

Mr. Oronsaye, deputy Chairman of the Committee and former Head of Service of the Federation, and Bon Otti, a member, openly discredited the report submitted by the Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on grounds that the process adopted in its compilation was flawed, as all members were not alloweds to see the final draft before submission.

In his reaction, Mr. Ribadu revealed that Mr. Oronsaye and Mr. Otti’s decision to reject the report stemmed from their angst after their desire to tone down the recommendations, which they described as “too harsh”, was turned down by other members.

According to Mr. Ribadu, Mr. Oronsaye had abandoned the assignment in pursuit of his personal ambition to be appointed into the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, while Mr. Otti was distracted following his appointment as director of finance of the NNPC in the course of the assignment.

But the National Coordinator, Publish What You Pay, PWYP, Nigeria and member, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Board, Faith Nwadishi, said the Federal Government should not, under any guise, use the misguided disagreement and confusion to rubbish and throw out the report.

“The Federal Government should not be misled into thinking that because Mr. Oronsaye allowed himself to be used to rubbish the report that the recommendations should not be considered,” Ms. Nwadishi said.

“Every letter of the recommendations must be considered and implemented. Government should forget about going in circles with all these probes and begin to take more serious interest in the various NEITI audit reports since 1999 if it is serious about checking corruption and promoting transparency in the petroleum industry.

“If the President said that another committee will be constituted to consider the Ribadu report, that should not be done in isolation of NEITI audit reports, and others, like the KPMG and other probe reports on the industry.

“The Ribadu report is not saying anything different from what either the Farouk Lawan Committee Subsidy Report said, or what the NEITI audit reports have been saying over the years about corruption in the petroleum industry. It might be saying the same thing in a different language.”

Ms Nwadishi, who noted that Mr. Oronsaye showed the lack of seriousness most senior citizens exhibit when entrusted with serious national assignments, said he should have been asked to resign from the committee and sanctioned seriously, including being made to refund whatever allowances he might have received as member of the committee if indeed he did not participate in the meetings and deliberations as expected.

“How can a deputy Chairman of a serious committee like that not attend meetings and participate in deliberations where decisions were taken only for him to show up a day before the presentation of the report to complain about process.

“For such lack of seriousness, he should be sanctioned and asked to refund all allowances he may have been paid. It is the very height of irresponsibility for a supposed former Head of Service of the Federation to behave so shamefully.

“If he did not participate in the deliberations of the committee, it is a shame that he still showed up on the day of the report presentation to publicly ask questions and condemn the report. Clearly, Oransaye lent himself to be used to rubbish that report. But, what they should understand is that Nigerians would not allow that report to be rubbished under any guise.”

Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Awwal Rafsanjani, who said there was nothing the Ribadu committee said that is new to Nigerians, noted that  Mr. Oronsaye not only “ridiculed himself by his conduct”, but he was also “clearly undermining President Goodluck Jonathan’s authority and resolve to fight corruption in the country’s petroleum sector.”

“Describing the recommendations of the committee as harsh and demanding that it should be toned down after accepting appointments into the Board of the NNPC and as the Director of Finance, NNPC shows that Mr. Oronsaye and Mr. Otti were serving their selfish interests and not the interest of Nigeria, as they were desperate to justify those appointments,” he said.

For the Chief Economist, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ozo Esan, it was unfortunate that the members of the committee could not work together to deliver on their mandate, pointing out with the conduct, the “unnecessary controversy appears to have detracted from whatever recommendations they had made in the report, such that instead of facing the real issues of serious corruption and lack of transparency in the petroleum industry, the committee is now debating the disagreements.”

Though he said it was not compulsory that members of committees must always agree, the Labour leader said it was important that they buried their differences and work together, adding that if the differences cannot be resolved, some members may chose to present a minority report that would be presented along with the majority.

“To have come out in public to argue against each other at the point of presentation the way the Ribadu Committee members did was shameful and irresponsible,” Mr Esan said.


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  • Adetunji Adebowale

    This to me points out again d lack of knowledge and emotions Nigerian bring into issues. For me I think d issue should be looked into critically because I believe Orosanye, if u know Ribadu very well then you will undastand Orosanye, which corruption is Ribadu fighting, we’ve just been so blinded by window dressing…

    • bono

      Dont people like Orasanya have the right to agree to disagree with ribadu-when it concerns the opposition they say its freedom of expression-so they use that tag to abuse the president-but when great minds like Orasanya say no-they are called names. Was ribadu not described as a bribe taker and a thief when Jonathan appointed him-now some smelly brains are beatifying ribadu sainthood-having forgotten that they used the same foul language on ribadu just hrs ago–look this fuel subsidy scam is 25 yrs old-it did not start with Jonah but with IBB and Obj

      • Left-Wing Nigerian.

        Bono, it’s people with fish brain like you that are the problem of Nigeria.

    • NAGODI


    • Left-Wing Nigeiran

      Another bigot with internet access, it is you and your likes who are blinded.

      • Sharafa Dauda

        Adetunji Adebowale is indeed an ethnic bigot. If Orasanya was right, why did he not dispute Ribadu’s claims about his “missing in action” and his lobbying and subsequent appointment as a member of the NNPC board? Also, how could the President appoint Orasanya to be a member of a board he is investigating? These people are just fooling themselves; and not us. Their cups will be filled to the brim someday.

        • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

          Are you well at all? Adentuji criticizes his own brother and you say he is an ethnic bigot? You see why i don’t care what some of you say here, because you are nuts.

          • Pure

            And how is Ribadu Adetunji’s brother Mr. Mpitikwelu Biko? Abi u no read him post well? Adetunji is a bigot, I concur.


      sentiment!!! Bigots!!!! So, you’d rather be left to die as a result of corruption in the country than to admit to some facts. Wahala dey, with your likes we will continue retrgressing.



  • igbiki

    The committee was specifically set up to sooth frayed nerves following the removal of the so-called fuel subsidy.

    They’ve outlived their importance.

    Its report is just by the way, it has no significance as long as our current crop of rulers are concerned.

    • NAGODI


  • It is inconceivable that a normal Nigerian can support Oransanye. A normal person would see his antics 4 what it is.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    This disagreement shows how independent this committee were allowed to do their job without interference. i give a lot of kudos to Mr President. He has consistently shown his resolve to aggressively fight corruption by not interfering in the fight as we saw on cecilia Ibru and others. It is unfortunate that this particular committee could not work together. it was the job of Ribadu to carry his members along and Mr president is not allowed to take sides.

  • Eddy.

    Ozo Esan is speaking from both sides of his mouth. The normal deceptive NLC way of tackling issues involving government. Neither here nor there.

  • kolabo

    There was set up during ote/faruk case a similar Scenerio is playing out here mark u

  • V

    i am sure ur one of those jonathan boys that are bieng paid in the presidency to sit and start comenting,,,,,, it is either that or u are jobless



    How to kill the civil service [I]
    by Adamu Adamu Friday, 04 November 2011 05:00

    In a democracy like ours, the three arms of government are
    supposed to check each other in order to eliminate abuse of power. But even if they
    perform their functions, there won’t be accountability in the democracy without
    the enforcement of proper procedure by the civil service. With its informed
    advice that may not be refused, the civil service keeps the executive arm in

    To be able to perform its role as an effective check on an
    executive to whom it must also be loyal, the civil service needs to have be
    merit-based and not a system of spoils; it must be politically neutral and not
    politicized; it must be loyal to, but not intimidated by, the government,
    because it must always retain the right to be able to advice fearlessly and
    insist that proper procedure be followed by power.

    This is something that today’s civil service is no longer
    able to do; and that is the great feat that Mr. Stephen Osagiede Oronsanye has
    achieved as Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; and that is the task
    he is trying to finish with the powers of the new job he is desperately
    lobbying for—the chairmanship of the Federal Civil Service Commission.

    we forget, Oronsaye was brought into government by former finance minister,
    Anthony Ani in 1995 as a personal assistant on salary grade level 12. A
    grandiose salary package for Oronsaye prepared by Ani was rejected by General
    Sani Abacha; and Oronsaye was given GL 12 on a take-it or leave-it basis—and he
    took it. Later, as he dilly dallied trying to find a niche to hang on to,
    he was sent away by then Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji
    Gidado Idris.

    He was brought back when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo came into
    office and, as a president wanting to find fault of predecessors, was looking
    for someone who knew what had been going on in the Ministry of Finance. On
    being told that only Ani and Oronsaye knew what had happened, Obasanjo
    appointed Oronsaye his Senior Special Assistant. He was later made Principal
    Secretary to the President; and when the list of new Permanent Secretaries was
    sent to Obasanjo for approval, it was said that the former president inserted
    Oronsaye’s name in biro. Later, President Umaru Yar’adua, himself for
    want of advice, made Oronsaye the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

    Perhaps, by his own reckoning, he went to work; but in the
    reckoning of those who knew, it was on a rampage that he went. He succeeded in
    creating much uncertainty and was himself enveloped by uncertainty of the worst
    kind, what with questions to answer on his purported qualifications.

    More than a year ago, a non-governmental organization,
    Coalition for True Transparency and Good Governance in Nigeria, charged that
    all Oronsaye’s additional qualifications were fraudulent and called for an
    investigation into the matter, asserting that he didn’t have the B.Sc. or MBA
    or the ACCA that he claimed he had. Since then Oronsaye hadn’t been able
    to say from which schools and universities he obtained these qualifications or

    Records at the Career Management Office at the Office of the
    Head of the Civil Service of the Federation show that he had claimed that he
    had a B.Sc., an MBA and ACCA; but in filing his Record of Service Form,
    Oronsaye seemed to have forgotten that he had the B.Sc. because he didn’t list
    it; and instead of ACCA, he listed ACA, and obviously these are by no means the
    same. He had to date not been able to produce even a photocopy of any of the

    To our knowledge, no investigation has been made into these
    allegations by the government; and the only response Oronsaye cared to make
    over these grave allegations by the coalition was to say, through one Tope
    Ajakaiye, then a deputy director of public relations in his office, that the
    accusations were just too ridiculous for him to respond.

    So, let us see just what exactly it is that was too
    ridiculous for him to answer. He claimed to have a B.Sc. The nation
    would like to know in which discipline he got the bachelors degree and from
    which institution and in which year. The only university he claimed to
    have attended—as per his Staff Record Form—was the University of Calabar in
    1993. You couldn’t get a Bachelor of Science degree after one year’s
    study; and if he received his B.Sc. in 1993, when did he get the MBA that he
    listed in 1995? Which one did he have in 1995: the ACCA of UK or the ACA
    of Nigeria or does he hold both?

    Checks in the ICAN Membership Year Book up to 1998 show that
    there are only two Oronsayes with ACA in the country—one Victor Edosa Oronsaye,
    with Membership No. 9878 who graduated on April 25, 1996, and Stevenson
    Idele Oronsaye with Membership No. 11428 who graduated July 30, 1998. There is
    no Stephen Osagiede Oronsaye on ICAN register. Oronsaye should please come out
    and tell the nation from where he got his ACA and the answers to those other
    questions. If he doesn’t, it is not the queries that will appear too ridiculous
    to answer; it is his silence that, in the circumstance, will be most ludicrous.

    Besides this, Oronsaye’s problems are essentially two: that
    he was given a job he wasn’t qualified for and which he couldn’t possibly do;
    and that he came into the office of the head of service with an agenda that was
    anti-North. And if he said there was no such agenda, its effect alone would
    prove its existence; for, by their fruit shall you know them. Of the 115 directors retired in the first phase of
    Oronsaye’s tenure system, 91 were from the North, and to date 120 of them have
    been retired since the exercise started in 2009. It is a precedent that
    has stuck: in the most recent promotion of 47 directors, only 17 are from the
    North; and of 103 assistant directors promoted to deputy directors only 17 are from
    the North.
    in the process of pursuing the first agenda, he would also be achieving a
    second—that of destroying the civil service, with the bitterness of a
    disinherited malcontent and the fury of an aggrieved and malevolent outsider.
    And he is almost there now.

    Since Obasanjo is no longer in office, perhaps it should now
    be the turn of President Jonathan to tell the nation whether his own goal also,
    in tandem with that of Oronsaye, has all along been to destroy the civil
    service on the one hand and empty it of Northern presence on the other.
    Jonathan’s long and loud silence over the litany of atrocities committed by
    Oronsaye would signify consent; and his decision to create a committee for
    Oronsaye after he had absconded from an earlier and even more important one
    would indicate official endorsement for all the bureaucratic atrocities that he
    had been perpetrating. Not even ignorance of proper procedure could be an
    answer or acceptable excuse for the government, much as it was now obvious to
    all that they had no experience in running a government or anything as complex
    or sophisticated. If he had or cared about the unity of this country, Jonathan
    would have long ago censured Oronsaye.

    But instead of censuring him, Jonathan appointed him a
    member of the Adamu Fika-led Presidential Committee on the Review of the Reform
    Processes in the Nigerian Public Service. From the committee’s terms of
    reference, this was not an assignment to which Oronsaye could meaningfully
    contribute; and, not surprisingly, he hadn’t attended even a single session of
    the committee; and he hadn’t thought it necessary to tell anyone why. If he
    feared exposing his ignorance of service matters before a giant like Adamu
    Fika, the proper thing would have been to honourably resign.

    And after this episode, no serious government would have had
    anything to do with Oronsaye; but instead of censuring him for the destruction
    of the civil service then and for insubordination now, the government took out
    the most important term of reference of the Fika committee that he refused to
    attend and created another committee—Technical Committee to Restructure and
    Rationalize Federal Government Parastatals and Agencies for Optimal Management
    of National Resources—around it and made Oronsaye chairman.

    Again not unexpectedly, this assignment of restructuring and
    rationalizing the nation’s parastatals too is not being carried out with
    knowledge of service matters or with experience or with openness or with
    accountability, much less understanding that what he is supposed to be doing is
    part of a greater whole. This is because he doesn’t know and those who put him
    there know less and don’t care.

    to kill the civil service [II]

    by Adamu Adamu Friday, 11 November 2011 05:00

    And that is why he is able to pave the way to rationalize
    and restructure parastatals with threats and intimidations. Supervising
    ministers are invited along with the chief executive officers of their
    parastatals, and they have to line up and wait for their turn to see the
    Oronsaye, whose office is in the Villa, and tell him why they should exist, as
    if they created themselves in the first place. Next, threats of mergers with other
    parastatals or outright scrapping are issued by him, and chief executive
    officers, who didn’t want their agencies to disappear, knew what to do. When a
    minister protested the decision to scrap a parastatal under him, Oronsaye
    retorted: “Honourable Minister, we have already made up our minds!”

    You were not surprised that their minds were made up; you
    were surprised that they had minds to make up at all. And while he could make
    that mind up, he couldn’t make up his mind to go. Section 151 of the constitution
    provided that the office of a Special Adviser to the President “shall cease
    when the President ceases to hold office.” Instead of going with either Ani or
    Obasanjo who brought him in, Oronsaye tarried awhile and contrived to be made a
    director in the Federal service. It is never done to bring in a complete
    outsider, not even from a sister, state civil service, at the director level,
    not to talk of a plain political appointee without even a day of civil service
    experience. In quick succession, it was appointment, regularization and
    confirmation as Director [Special Duties], a post that doesn’t exist in the
    civil service, based on certificates that he claimed to have. As he will
    discover, the civil service is not about academic degrees which, in any case he
    doesn’t seem to have; and whose mere possession will not have made him a civil
    servant, much less a good one and even less so a permanent secretary, not to
    talk of heading the entire civil service.

    No doubt, the appointment of Oronsaye to head the nation’s
    civil service is the height of the contempt that the country’s temporary
    leaders have for the nation’s permanent civil service; and, with that as a
    precedent for him, he has been busy acting out his own fantasy with so much
    contemptuous indifference to the fate of the system. The government ought to
    have seen the necessity for laying down policy safeguards against adventurers
    coming into the service and disrupting age-old institutions with half-baked
    ideas in the name of reform.

    The truth is that you can recruit but you cannot promote
    officers on the basis of a pass in an examination, because the civil service is
    not a secondary grammar school. Civil servants should be promoted based
    only on their competence and evaluated performance. Anything short of
    this is going to be an unadulterated disaster that will sound the death knell
    for the service and for good governance in a land so much in dire need for it.

    The service must always be defined by its ethos and by the
    values of integrity, merit and impartiality. The goal of any reform should not
    be to alter these values but to protect, adopt, adapt and make them more
    relevant to the times. This nation must not be intimidated by pretended merit
    or overweening ignorance, no matter how sophisticated or extensive either is
    made to appear, and no matter as what it has succeeded in masquerading itself.
    Basking on them, Oronsaye succeeded in destroying the service with the
    bitterness of a disinherited avenger and the fury of a malevolent outsider.

    That was when the nation expected Ambassador Ahmed
    Al-Gazali, the chairman of the FCSC who retired ten days ago, to put his foot
    down and stop Oronsaye; but apparently the chairman had no foot to do this;
    because, by appending his signature to a proposal that couldn’t have originated
    from his own considered thinking, a proposal that damaged civil servants and
    the service, Ambassador Ahmed Al-Gazali abdicated his responsibility to shield
    and protect the service from political interference of the most fraudulent and
    most opportunistic kind as represented by Oronsaye and Obasanjo, and the
    precipitate, self-opinionated know-all-ness of the late Umaru ‘Yar’adua ; and
    he also failed to protect civil servants from the vagaries of an adverse change
    in the condition of service to their detriment.

    And as to Oronsaye’s so-called reforms, he ought to know
    that he couldn’t possibly reinvent the wheel of the service: the duo of
    Stafford H. Northcote and C. E. Trevelyan had been there before him, and their
    prescription had stood the test of time—and, no doubt to his chagrin, it was
    all so unlike double-entry bookkeeping. And if he was desperately trying to
    mimic the well-thought-out package in British New Labour service reform, in
    imitation of which his committee’s term of reference seemed to have been
    framed, it would be delightfully surprising if he really understood what that
    attempt was trying to achieve. Its tenure was an extension of merit, and not a
    tool just in order for others to be made permanent secretaries.

    But, in the circumstance, the government’s own incompetence
    and the incompetence of some of its more important appointees have effectively
    been shielded by a press that, in this, has proved sectionalist, media
    professionals who are predatory and a citizenry that has, for this very
    purpose, been divided along ethnic and religious lines.

    Meanwhile, the rumour has already started hat, having
    realized the folly and mistake that it is, the government may reverse the
    tenure policy. But it would not be enough to reverse what had been done just
    like that. Scrapping the policy would be good and would also prove that the
    policy was indeed designed against the North; and, now that it had achieved its
    intended objective, it was time to discard it and revert to the status quo

    But in order to be fair to all, those affected by it must be
    reinstated back into service with all lost salaries and allowances paid up
    after they returned the pensions they were forced to collect; and those who
    will by now have exceeded the mandatory 35 years in service or have attained 60
    years of age should be suitably compensated. In reversing or otherwise altering
    the policy or replacing it with something more sensible, the goal should be to
    achieve, reflect and preserve the nation’s Federal character as demanded by the

    Now, Oronsaye, the architect of this misfortune, has been
    lobbying to be appointed the new chairman of the Federal Civil Service
    Commission, FCSC; and two among the most prominent traditional rulers in the
    North have reportedly endorsed him. But for sure, such an endorsement is
    without merit: the civil service is no parade ground in which the one, a former
    officer in the Nigerian Army, can claim familiarity; and nor is it a
    construction site where the other, a civil engineer, will be on home territory.

    Certainly, this nation cannot hope to run itself by
    conducting government business on the basis of the impunity of this new
    sombrero-Bourdillon mentality, no matter by who aided, that sees and treats the
    nation’s patrimony—resources and appointments—as booty that should be
    commandeered and appropriated home. The FCSC is no ordinary government agency;
    it is set up to recruit, promote and discipline civil servants and protect them
    from political interference and the highhandedness of politicians.

    Ideally, therefore, the FCSC should only be headed by a
    public-spirited person who knows the civil service backwards, preferably a
    retired Federal permanent secretary—the archetypal bureaucratic mandarin—who
    sleeps and wakes up with the service on his mind. The constitution is very
    clear about the type of person required, and has provided that: “The Federal
    Civil Service Commission shall comprise the following members—a chairman; and
    not more than fifteen other members, who shall, in the opinion of the
    President, be persons of unquestionable integrity and sound political

    For Oronsaye, the qualifications needed are clearly not in
    evidence. And unless he produces his certificates and comes clean with the
    nation about his parastatal committee work, the question of unquestionable
    integrity will remain in question; and if he still believes the tenure system,
    as designed by him, is OK, then it is obvious that his short stay in the
    service hasn’t taught him even the rudiments of bureaucratic competence; and if
    he still insists that the way he has implemented this policy is the right one,
    that only goes to betray a most abject lack of political judgment. And as far
    as protecting civil servants is concerned, he is a non-starter; because, when
    he headed the service, he didn’t conduct himself like the military commander
    who is expected to protect his troops—the civil servants. Instead, he opened
    fire on them. So, how can he now hope to head the commission that is supposed
    to protect them?



  • orbuka

    Its time members of the defunct (teamRibadu) are told to leave Oti and Orasanye alone. Its Ribadu who is the culprit-a traitor to the core! Why should Nigerians not support Orasanye? Are we not in a democracy where all are free to air their view? Is it not Ribadu who have been using the media to discredit them. Orosanye has had only one interview since the event. But count the number of times ribadu has spoken to the press? Its Ribadu and his godfather in ACN who are scheming to score cheap political point with the report. Orosanye said Ribadu did not follow due process period. What is wrong with that? He did not quarrel with the content of the report-but the process. Was It Orosanye who leaked the report to the press? When Ribadu took up the job with the president and NNPC, it was the ACN that distanced itself from ribadu. They said Ribadu was on his own. Now they want to identify with the very man they claimed they did not want to have anything to do with him-that is Nigeria for u-a land filled with parasites and vultures

  • Dan Kasa

    The civil society in Nigeria must wake up once again. It was their action at the beginning of the year that forced the FGN to set up investigative committees that led to so many revelations about the scale of corruption in the petroleum sector. The Farouk Lawan Committee report is already dead and buried and now the Ribadu report is on its way to the cemetery. Is that what the CSOs asked for on behalf of fellow Nigerians in January? Where are they – the NLC, Save Nigeria and hundred of other groups big & small. For any patriotic Nigerian this is the time to demand corrective action from the Govt and insist that no transformation can take place under such a terribly corrupt situation.