Confusion as SGF withholds confirmation for Buhari’s nominee despite Senate confirmation

Acting SGF, Habibat Lawal [Photo: Vanguard]
Acting SGF, Habibat Lawal [Photo: Vanguard]

A female academic who was confirmed Resident Electoral Commissioner-designate by the Nigerian Senate has been plunged into a state of apprehension after the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation withheld her appointment letter without explanation.

Asmau Maikudi, Katsina State nominee, was amongst eight candidates confirmed by the Senate on June 20 following their nominations by President Muhammadu Buhari.

She was the only female of the 27 nominees that Mr. Buhari forwarded to the Senate in March.

Senators initially stepped down confirmation process for all of them in a fallout sparked by a string of constitutional disputes between the executive and the legislature.

But after weeks of negotiations, the lawmakers finally agreed to screen the candidates on May 2, confirming the first batch of 15 nominees on June 1.

Of the remaining 12 candidates, Ms. Maikudi, 55, was the first on the list of eight that scaled through on June 20. Confirmation for the remaining four was deferred indefinitely for reasons ranging from legal disputes to federal character.

After weeks of delay, the eight RECs-designate were asked to come for their appointment letters at the OSGF. But despite being the first on the list, Ms. Maikudi watched as her counterparts were called in for their letters, leaving only her out.

“When I asked for my letter, they told me it hadn’t been signed by the SGF,” Ms. Maikudi, a lecturer at Kaduna State Polytechnic told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday evening.

Her subsequent appeals for explanation fell on deaf ears, she said.

Ms. Maikudi said she suspected no specific foul, as she has worked outside politics all through her career.

“I have been an academic since I graduated in 1983,” she said, adding: “I have never had anything to do with politics and I believe the president’s decision to nominate me had no political connection.”

The OSGF declined comments to PREMIUM TIMES on the matter. Calls and texts messages to Bolaji Adebiyi, the department’s spokesperson, were neither acknowledged nor responded to Thursday night.

If the bizarre impasse lingered, the academic will not take part in the swearing-in ceremony for the candidates who have so far received their appointment letter, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, a spokesperson for the Independent National Electoral Commission, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Osaze-Uzzi said the event had been planned for next week Wednesday, but emphasised that only those who bear their respective appointment letters from the OSGF will take the oath of office.

Chris Ngwodo, a public affairs analyst, said the action of the SFG could threaten the integrity of electoral process, at a time INEC should be intensifying activities ahead of 2019 elections.

“This development could put the entire electoral process in jeopardy,” Mr. Ngwodo said.

“INEC is already behind schedule in terms of logistics, finances and other crucial plans that must be put in place going into a tedious process like what we’re going to have in 2019,” he added, noting that INEC Chairman Mahmud Yakubu had recently decried these shortcomings.

Mr. Ngwodo said the delay would inevitably cut into the time frame required for new appointees like Ms. Maikudi to settle down in office, thereby making it difficult for her to get familiar with the peculiarities of the state she would be posted to.

“This SGF’s office is clearly tampering with electoral process by preventing an individual who had been duly cleared by the Senate from resuming work to put new solutions in place ahead of the elections,” he added.

Mr. Ngwodo urged the Senate to intervene in the matter.

“I think it’s time for Senate to show interest in this matter and resist this clear attempt to compromise electoral process.”


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  • George

    Two government; one dead one fighting.

    Sai baba Nigerians got what they wanted.

    • Uzoma John

      Loser. Keep mourning. What is happening is not peculiar to Nigeria. It has nothing to do with your ranting about PMB. What can you say about Trump and his appointees in the US – one week, one trouble?

    • Arabakpura

      When you speak this way, you portray yourself as a sore loser! We have since passed that stage! When you lose, accept your loss and wait for the next contest; don’t mourn forever!

    • Man_Enough

      election was 2 years ago. another one is in 2 years time. no use crying over spilled milk forever.

  • Sab Osuji

    If it were the Senate that withheld her appointment, some paid e-rats here would have crucified Saraki and his Senate colleagues saying they are sabotaging PMB. but now it is SGF that is pulling PMB down and back.

  • Gary

    Religious-inspired gender discrimination…brought to you by the same mindset that introduced Sharia in the North.
    Same reason women aren’t in some state legislatures nor allowed to hold supervisory positions over men; no matter their education or qualifications.
    If you think only Boko Haram wants an Islamic State in Nigeria, well…think again. We already have Islamists in the corridors of Aso Rock. They can deny all they want but their actions show them up.

  • thusspokez

    After weeks of delay, the eight RECs-designate were asked to come for their appointment letters at the OSGF. But despite being the first on the list, Ms. Maikudi watched as her counterparts were called in for their letters, leaving only her out.

    Confirmation by the Senate doesn’t mean that the candidate automatically gets the job. The employer, i.e., the federal government can still change its mind.

  • thusspokez

    …a lecturer at Kaduna State Polytechnic told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday evening.

    The federal government must stop appointing lecturers and professors to these posts. Outside academia, they are hopeless and unfit for these jobs.

    For example, being academic or pedagogic, they would know the names of all the recipes for okra soup but no clue how to cook it. And we have seem evidence, over and over again, of this unfitness for jobs outside academia.

    BTW I must say that Ms. Maikudi is a beautiful woman, but my argument still stands.

    • A few years back I wrote an article on Nigeria Village Square about the regular us of professors in government and its agencies and how it has not helped the country in any way. Nigeria did very well economically between 1960 and 1966 when there was no one professor in government and very badly between 1980 to date when there are so many professors in government. It is telling!

      • thusspokez

        I too have written a few articles for the Nigeria Village Square — in its heyday, but to avoid not getting a response, don’t ask me about them. Hehehehe!

        Anyway, in other parts of the world, lecturers would often take sabbatical and go and get their hands dirty in the real world — in a manner of speak. Yet others would combined employment in the private sector with their ongoing teaching career. This exposes them to the real world. But as any university graduate have found out to their surprise, there is a wide knowledge/skill gap between academia and the real world, and it often take years for the graduate to catch up.

        Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, the minister of health is one example of an academic who knows all the recipe for okra soup but has no clue how to cook one. Hundred of Nigerians are dying each month from diseases such as lassa fever and yet all he does is produce statistics to show how many Nigerians have died from these diseases, instead of coming up with solutions. The man should have been sacked for gross incompetence long time ago, yet he remains in his seat because he is s professor?

        • ’70

          Most of our Professors are just copy-and-paste academics. Sit them & have a one on one conversation, you will be shocked…

  • mbewalu ogodo

    Which SGF again, Abi Babachir grass cutter done return thru backdoor?