A coalition of four NGOs have countered the conspiracy theories, unsubstantiated allegations and red herring that have been mounted against the National Assembly Service Comission over the appointment of a new Clerk for the National Assembly.
This is coming against the backdrop of sponsored reports that there are moves by some political heavyweights to influence the appointment of a new clerk by the commission.
The current clerk of the National Assembly, Amos Olatunde Ojo, is set to retire but the reports alleged that there are clandestine moves to influence members of the commission to appoint a non-legislative cadre as replacement.
Such appointment, the report said will likely distort the hierarchy within the wider civil service and bring the service to disrepute.
Countering the said report in Abuja on Sunday, the coalition which is made up of, Center for Public Accountability and Transparency, (CAP), Peoples Alliance for Indegenous Rights (PAIR) Society for Peace and Gender Equity (SoCEGE) and Partnership for Good Governance (PGG) issued a statement that was jointly signed by their leaders said the reports were fabricated with no element of truth
The statement was jointly signed by Okonkwo Emman, Boniface Clement Jovita Jude and Kaujal Awan.
The group also indicated that there were attempts to subvert the process for the appointment of a Clerk of the National Assembly
“The process becomes a feast for conspiracy theories, unsubstantiated allegations, red herring.
“As stakeholders in ensuring good governance, accountability and transparency, we feel obliged to urge the media not to overheat the polity and cook up stories that have no empirical basis.
“The National Assembly Service Commission as we know will always carry out its functions in a credible manner by following due process stated by the Head of service of the Federation giving clearance on pre-retirement leave of a retiring civil servant.”
According to the statement pre-retirement leave as provided for in the Public Service rule 100, 238 stated that “Officers are required to give 3-month notice to retire from service before the effective date of retirement. At the commencement of the 3 months, officers should proceed immediately on the compulsory one-month pre-retirement workshop/ seminar.
“For the remaining 2 months, retiring officers are expected to take necessary measures to put their record straight so as to facilitate the speedy processing of their benefits.
“Going by the provision it is compulsory for the retiring officer to give a notice of 3 months prior to his/her retirement.
“Among other intents, this provision is to enable MDA to arrange a replacement in good time for the officer as provided in the rule and where organized, the retiring officer will attend a one-month pre-retirement seminar/ workshop.
“He/ She is expected in his/her own interest to gather his/her records from various MDAs he/she must have served. Thus, it is to facilitate the process of his retirement benefit.
“It is therefore not out of order if the officer chooses to work in office during the period.
The statement indicated that the CNA, Arc. Amos Olatunde Ojo has already given a notice of 3 months to embark on retirement leave on February14, 2023 in accordance with the rules of the civil service of the Federation.
“We strongly believe that the story flying of “plans to influence members of the commission to appoint” a certain individual is planted by those afraid of going through the process.
“The job of the Clerk to the National Assembly includes: a chief adviser to both the president of the senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives and also, to communicate to all state Houses of Assembly, matters relating to the concurrence of the parliament in the tiers of government in Nigeria.
“So, the idea that only certain categories of staff can perform this duty has no basis in law. It is expected that Anyone who has risen to the levels of director and permanent secretaries should be well abreast of parliamentary operations and should be able to effectively run the office of the CNA.
“If it were, these people building monuments of falsehood and disaffection would have shown where it is stated. The idea being planted that a certain region should be excluded in the appointment is dangerous and against the federal character principle.
“It should be based on seniority, competence and geo political zones and allowed in the interest of national cohesion, establishment effectiveness and inclusion. The National Assembly Service Commission should be well abreast of public service rules.
“The National Assembly Service should be seen to be fair, transparent in interpreting the rules of the commission in discharging its responsibilities
“The Current CNA has worked to ensure promotions are gotten as when due, entitlements paid as at when due, training and retraining of staff, ensuring improved working facilities, Conducive environment, Cordial working relationship with the legislators and plans underway to ensure improved salaries as approved by the salaries and wages commission
“We wish to categorically state that the CNA should be allowed to finish his tenure as stated in the service rules and interpreted by the Head of service whose role in interpreting the National Assembly service age in 2020 cannot be forgotten in a jiffy.
“February 14th, 2023 is by the corner; hence, we call on all hands to be on deck in contributing their quota to see that the Clerk to the National discharges its duty in the interest of the country.
See Justice beyond prisms of geo-political lines – Rtd Justice Ajileye
***Urges Judiciary to ask itself how and why did it allow things to degenerate.
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye, retired judge of Kogi State High Court has admonished Nigerians to to refrain from perceiving justice along regional or geo-political lines.
Justice Ajileye who was speaking at the 9th Annual Week of the Badagry branch of the Nigerian Bar Association spelt out the dangers inherent in seeing judges and the judgments they deliver from the prisms of religion, region or race.
He said that such perception would not only erode public trust and confidence in the Judiciary but make a mockery of the hallowed principles of the Rule of Law on which the Judiciary and the dispensation of Justice as a whole rest.
His Lordship Omolaye-Ajileye, a Nigeria’s foremost authority on the Law of Electronic Evidence, titled his lecture, “Leveraging Emerging Legal Challenges to the Rule of Law in the Prevailing Socio-economic Realities in Nigeria.”
He said: “Distinguished gentlemen of the Bar, whether we accept it or not, the truth remains that the public is watching what is going on in our courts and regularly and deeply questioning the rationale behind certain decisions, and rightly so.
“If there was ever a period where we expected the public to blindly trust the Judiciary, it is long gone. The trust necessary for the public to accept judicial decisions and court orders is fundamental to the Rule of Law.
“The Judiciary must continually ask itself, how and why did it allow things to degenerate to this level? This is because the Nigerian Judiciary had undoubtedly enjoyed high levels of trust in the past.
“The Judiciary must take this decline in public trust seriously. It cannot afford to be complacent. It is dangerous for it to assume that trust is ever-present. It must address this trust deficit.
“The public should and must be able to trust in the individual judges and the judiciary as an institution which wields immense power on its behalf.
“As Alexander Hamilton famously said, unlike the Executive and Legislature, the Judiciary has no influence over either ‘Sword or the Purse’ and ‘may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment’.
“Armed with only the power of judgment, the Judiciary requires the legitimacy gained from public trust to function effectively to make the rule of law blossom. The general acceptance of judicial decisions, by citizens and by governments, is essential for peace, welfare, good government and the rule of law.
The corollary is also true. To distrust the judiciary is a ready recipe for anarchy. This is because citizens who trust the judiciary are more likely to engage with the legal system to address their legal issues and to co-operate with its processes”, he said
Justice Ajileye, who is currently with the Baze University, Abuja, also commented on the controversy surrounding the composition of the apex court’s presidential appeal court panel.
He said: “Still on the issue of trust, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Dattijo Muhammad, JSC (Rtd), recently made a statement at his valedictory that raises a jurisprudential question on securing public trust and justice.
“I quote Him: ‘To ensure justice and transparency in presidential appeals from the lower court, all geo-political zones are required to participate in the hearing.
“It is, therefore, dangerous for democracy and equity for two entire regions to be left out in the decisions that will affect the generality of Nigerians’.
“The grouse of His Lordship here is that both the North Central and South East geo-political zones were not represented in the panel of Justices of the Supreme Court that decided appeals that arose from the Presidential Election Tribunal to the apex court recently”, he said.
Ajiley said the jurist had held that the development was ‘dangerous for democracy and equity’ adding that His Lordship’s focus was on the absence of Justices from the North Central and South East geo-political zones in the panel.
“It was easy for social media commentators to quickly draw attention to the fact that the South West geo-political zone that parades the Chief Justice of Nigeria and two other eminent Justices of the Supreme Court was also not represented in the panel.
“According to the commentators, it was also in order to ensure ‘transparency and equity.’ The issue is neither here nor there.
“My humble position here is, it is better that the Judiciary, including the Supreme Court, be perceived as a homogeneous entity that serves the interest of all. It is dangerous to the society to perceive justice from the prisms of tribes, religions or geo-political divisions.
“Justice ought to remain an integral whole that does not admit of partition along tribal or geo-political bifurcation.
“It is also more dangerous if the impartiality of the Supreme Court is to wait for people to see the extent to which they have been represented by Justices who come from their geo-political zones.
“Secondly, with due respect, to perceive justice from geo-political lines is to trivialize justice. Justice is far more important than that.
“If we accept the intrinsic worth of every human being, then, justice becomes the minimum debt we owe to him, for if we deny him justice, we have declared him worthless.
“The dispenser of justice should, therefore, be a person that is even-handed, blind to all social distinctions and disparities in wealth, religion, tribe, status and no respecter of persons, just as justice itself should be.
“If a nation cannot look at their judges and see men and women who are upright enough to uphold the principle of the rule of law and do Justice to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, then, I will simply say that nation has lost it”, he said.
It would be recalled that Retired Justice Ajileye was noted for his high sense of honesty, integrity and hard work while on the Bench. (Ends)
Gov Namadi appoints ex- NAWOJ Zonal Chairperson to Lead Media Affairs
By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
Jigawa state governor Malam Umar Namadi has approved the appointment of former zonal chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ) Hajiya Zainab Shuaibu Rabo Ringim as his Senior Special Assistant on Media affairs and 116 other Assistant.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Malam Bala Ibrahim which was made available to News Men in Dutse.
Hajiya Zainab a veteran Journalist was a former staff of Radio Jigawa, a correspondent Of Radio Germany (Deutsch Welle) and former zonal vice chairman of the National Association of Women Journalist ( NAWOJ).
With her appointment, Zainab has become the first female to be appointed as media aid to any Jigawa state governor since the creation of the state in 1991.
The statement has also conveyed the approval for the appointment of other 116 Special Assistants and Senior Special Assistants.
According to the statement the appointment was based on merit, competence and personal integrity as it urged them to be honest and just in discharging their responsibilities.
“We have a big task ahead and you all must key into His Excellency’s 12 point strategic agenda, so as to build the Jigawa State of our dream”‘ The SSG declared
President Tinubu to honour NILDS DG with 2023 Integrity, Public Servant award
***As awardee dedicates award to NASS , others
The Director General of National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies ( NILDS) , Professor Abubakar Olanrewaju Sulaiman is to be honored by President Bola Tinubu early next month, with 2023 Integrity and Public Servant of the Year Award.
This was as the awardee has dedicated the Award to the Leadership and Staff of the National Assembly, their counterparts in NILDS and the Media.
Presentation of the Award as contained in a letter signed by Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, would be held at the State House Conference Centre.
Dr Ibrahim is the National Coordinator of the Award – giving Institutions which are the Public Service Institutes (PSI), Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPP) and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) .
The DG NILDS as stated in the Award letter , titled : ” Nomination as a Public Servant of the Year” (Shehu Shagari Gold Medal),
secured the highest number of votes after an extensive three-month consultation and rigorous voting process conducted by a panel of 51 members from the PCI – Technical Advisory Committee, representing five strategic public institutions in Nigeria.
Dr Ibrahim in the letter added that “” The Award presentation has received full endorsement from the presidency and technical support from the Public Service Institutes (PSI), Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)”,
The letter further explained that the former Minister of National Planning, has been recognized for his exceptional contributions to Nigeria’s democratic institutions, a recognition validated by esteemed national and international organizations.
“This year’s edition of the award will coincide with the Nigerian Regulators Conference & Retreat, where President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is expected to present plaques and medals to deserving recipients.
“The Award is in recognition of Professor Sulaiman’s transformational leadership style and remarkable accomplishments over the years and in particular , in NILDS, within the last five years”, Dr Ibrahim added in the letter.
Reacting to the Award at the Head Office of NILDS on Tuesday, Professor Sulaiman said it was a pleasant surprise to him .
“I never knew that credible public institutions totalling 51, were observant of my contribution to national development in NILDS .
“I’m elated by the Award and see it as call to do more . I dedicate it to the leadership and members of the National Assembly , management and staff of NIILDS and of course , the media for the usual coverage and reportage of our activities geared towards deepening democratic governance in Nigeria “, he said.
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