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Daily Times Nigeria Thursday, June 14, 2018

5 News

3 years after, FG yet to post 3 perm secs HoS Oyo-Ita gives contradictory recommendations to Buhari Chief of Staff queries Oyo- Ita over trio Perm secs idling away at home without indictment Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja In what can be described as unprecedented, the Federal Government is yet to deploy three permanent secretaries since November 2015 when their postings were put on hold without any valid reasons. The situation is contrary to the change mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration that thrives on rule law while the affected permanent secretaries are idling without cogent reasons. The three permanent secretaries: Mrs. Fatima Bamidele (Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs), Mrs. Nkechi Ejele (Ministry of Culture and National Orientation) and Mrs. Ibukun Odusote (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) have been staying at home since 2015 and receiving salaries without offering services to the country, thanks to contradictory recommendations of the Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita to Buhari. The contentious issues began in November 2015 when Buhari- led Federal Government with its change agenda embarked on restructuring of permanent secretaries. The development led to the retirement of 17 permanent secretaries while 18 new ones were appointed, 16 from serving directors, two from private sector, leading to total 35 permanent secretaries. But in the process, the three permanent secretaries- Bamidele, Ejele and Odusote, were not deployed on the grounds that they were under investigation. These issues were contained in two contradictory letters by Oyo-Ita dated February 16, 2016 and March 17, 2017 and addressed to President Buhari. In the letter dated February 16, 2017, the HoS informed the President that the allegations against Bamidele, Ejele and Odusote were baseless,

Abba Kyari

saying no prima facie case had been established against them. She however introduced another dimension when she informed the President that though there were no issues against the three permanent secretaries, their places had been filled by another set of permanent secretaries from their states. The HoS further compounded the issues when she stated that the only option available to the Federal Government was to approve their retirement from service even though they are yet to attain retirement age. In what can be described as final action to seal the fate of the three permanent secretaries, Oyo-Ita informed the President that, “ Note that it would be difficult for me to recommend their reinstatement because their positions have been filled by the appointments of new permanent secretaries from their states. “Furthermore, their reinstatement would defeat Government’s policy of a lean service. “Finally, states that do not have permanent secretaries from their indigenes would complain such an action.” She then urged the President to take the ultimate action without any justification- “Approve the retirement of Mrs. Fatima Binta Bamidele, Mrs. Ibukun Abimbola Odusote and Mrs. Nkechi

Buhari

Ejele in the public interest”, But her recommendations did not go down well with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari. Abba Kyari later queried Oyo-Ita in a letter dated April 25, 2016 with reference No SH/COS/ 100/A/ 1437, asking her to provide basis for her recommendations. The letter reads in part: “From your submissions, it would appear that the three officers all of whom have been exonerated by the Investigation Committee are yet to meet the criteria for retirement either on length of service, age, or even the tenure principle. None of them would also seem to have fallen under approved criteria used in respect of their erstwhile colleagues. “You may therefore wish to provide basis for your recommendation for their retirement “in public interest” other than your explanations in para 5 and 6 of your letter under reference” But the HoS later wrote another letter dated March 17, 2017 to Buhari with reference number HCSF/911/ S.I/7/205 and tilled- Re: Memorandum on Composition of Federal Permanent Secretaries for the Restructured Ministries and Offices, and informed Buhari on the modalities for the restructuring. She further explained to the President that the investigations into allegations of serious misconduct against the three permanent

Oyo-Ita

secretaries had been reviewed by the Federal Service Management Committee (FSMC) under her chairmanship. Oyo-Ita also informed the President that allegations against Bamidele, Ejele and Odusote were baseless and unfounded, saying that no prima facie had been established against them.

She therefore urged the President to redeploy them. But in spite of these correspondences, the permanent secretaries are yet to be redeployed while they are at home expecting intervention of President Buhari. When contacted over the matter, an official in the office of Head of Service

of the Federation (HoSF) told The Daily Times that she was not aware of the development. The official, who sought anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, stated that only the HoS could speak on the matter. She added that the HoS would soon explain the circumstances surrounding the issues.

One year to go, court removes Kogi Senator Aidoko Continued from page 4 the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to swear in Alfa as the Senator representing Kogi East in the Senate. The judge said that Senator Aidoko was not qualify to have had his name submitted to the INEC for the election. But he colluded with some officials of the PDP to deny Alfa of the fruits of his victory at the primary election. He said that from the documents before the court it was clear that Alfa won the primary election with 129 votes while Aidoko had 101 votes and Hajiya Alfa 80 votes. He said that the 101 votes ascribed to Aidoko was even doubtful because at the point Aidoko disrupted the counting of his votes, he had only 10 votes. The judge further held that he believed the evidence of witnesses of both the defence and plaintiff that Aidoko disrupted the counting of votes when he realised that he would not garnered more than Alfa’s votes as the votes of six other contestants have been counted.

According to the judge, Aidoko upturned the table where the votes were being counted just as his police escort sporadically shot into the air while election officials and delegates scampered to safety and fled the stadium. “I have no reason to doubt the report of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Idah branch which stated that despite the disruption, the election results and material were intact” showing that Alfa scored the highest votes. Justice Kolawole also held that Saidu Idoma was the appointed returning officer for the primary, contrary to the submission of Aidoko that the returning officer was Malam Umaru Sanusi . “I have not found the result of primary or document signed by Sanusi”, the judge stated. Justice Kolawole also condemned the ways and manner in which the PDP subverted the results of it primaries with “rogue documents” after its National Working Committee waited in vain for three days for the report of National Appeal

Committee which never come. The judge also said that the fact that the sacked senator refused to call his agent at the primary election, Mallam Francis Adejo, left a credibility gap on the side of Aidoko. Justice Kolawole had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection by Aidoko, challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter. He described the preliminary objection as an abuse of court process employed by Aidoko to delay the trial. The judge further held that the challenge of the court’s jurisdiction was an abuse of court process because it had earlier been resolved both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme court against Aidoko. Consequently, the court awarded N750,000 costs against Aidoko and the PDP respectively. The Daily Times recalls that the matter which was filed in December 2015 went as far as the Supreme Court which in a judgment delivered on June 16, 2017 remitted the suit to the trial court for accelerated hearing.

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