Seven members of the National Assembly Service Commission have rejected the appointment of Mohammed Sani-Omolori as the Clerk to the National Assembly, backing Benedict Efeturi instead.
Messrs Sani-Omolori and Efeturi are Clerk to the House of Representatives and Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly respectively.
Mr. Sani-Omolori’s appointment was announced through a letter by the chairman of the Commission, Adamu Fika, last Wednesday.
But the Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly, Bukola Saraki, in a letter to Mr. Fika argued Mr. Efeturi should have been considered for the position since he (Efeturi) is currently the deputy clerk.
However, in a memorandum, he submitted to the 440th meeting of the Commission held on April 20, Mr. Fika explained that Mr. Efeturi was not appointed to the position because he would proceed on retirement leave on August 2.
He said in conformity with the regulations of public service, no officer who has less than six months to retire would act in a 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.
In a dramatic twist Thursday, the seven commissioners rejected Mr. Sani-Omolori’s appointment in a letter to Mr. Fika.
They said the appointment was made unilaterally by Mr. Fika.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, they recalled that in November 2014, Mr. Fika had unilaterally appointed Mr. Sani-Omolori as Deputy Clerk before the appointment was reversed following opposition of the commissioners who wrote the then Senate President, David Mark.
Then, Mr. Efeturi was appointed Deputy Clerk as “the most suitable candidate”, they said.
The letter reads in part: “As it were history has repeated itself. From the foregoing it would appear that you have become overwhelmed by the personal interest to the detriment of the Commission’s integrity.
“Note also that at the 403rd meeting of the Commission, held on the 20th and 21st November 2014, eight (8) Commissioners voted in favour of the memo presented by the Senior Staff of Committee for the appointment of Mr. Ben Efeturi as Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, one (1) Commissioner abstained and non-voted against it. At the next meeting the minutes were adopted and extract to that effect and appointment letter issued. Till date that appointment has not been challenged nor nullified in any form and remains valid. Please find attached minutes of the meeting, memo presented by the Senior Staff Committee and a copy of the extract.
“By that appointment, the issue of seniority between Ben Efeturi and Sani Omolori has since been laid to rest. We make bold to say that any letter emanating from you (Dr. Adamu Fika) at this time is an individual effort on your part without the consent of the Commission and has not followed due process.
“We the under signed Commissioners disassociate ourselves from the letter appointing Mohammed Sani – Omolori as the Acting Clerk to the National Assembly and affirm that Ben Efeturi is the rightful person to assume that office based on seniority.
“Although you are Chairman of the Commission, you are not the Commission. For the above reasons, we cease to have confidence in your leadership and Chairmanship of the Commission.”
The commissioners who signed the letter were Abubakar Rufai (North West), Idi Ningi (North East), Joseph Oru (South South), Paul Oweh (South South), Stephen Yapwi (North Central), Oluwafemilola Lamuye (South West) and Abel Chukwu (South East).
The Commission consists of 13 members, including 12 commissioners and a chairman.
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