Appointment of NASS CLERK: Group warns against nepotism, violation of Federal Character - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Appointment of NASS CLERK: Group warns against nepotism, violation of Federal Character

ABUJA - Following the increasing agitation over the alleged adjustment of the retirement age of the staff of the National Assembly from 35 to 40 years, a group has on Wednesday raised concerns over moves to jettison federal character principle and the public service rules (PSR) in the appointment of a new Clerk.

The Alliance for Good Governance and Human Rights Watch International, made the call in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Trevor Pottle, Executive Secretary, Uchanna Richard and Director Cooperative Affairs, Rilwan Otedola, in Abuja.

The group insisted that attempt to bypass seniority as enshrined in the PSR, to install the Permanent Secretary, Legal Matters in the National Assembly, Bala Yabani, who hails from Yobe State, as the next Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), would amount to setting a dangerous precedent.

According to the NGO, it is worthy of note that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and the Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), Ahmed Kadi-Amshi, are both from Yobe State.

“Our independent investigation, which was borne out of our commitment to fair play, justice and equity, reveals that Yabani is not the most senior in the hierarchy according to the nominal roll of the National Assembly staff.
“Therefore, elevating him above his seniors will not advance the spirit and moral tone of the nation’s Parliament.

“We also regret to mention that conceding the position of the Clerk to the National Assembly to Mr Yabani, who is from Yobe State like the Senate President and the Chairman of the NASC, will amount to Yobe state being unduly in control of an Arm of Government and this clearly contravenes the Federal Character principles in a democratic institution that is supposed to uphold the rule of law and constitutionalism,” the group added.

It noted that the ongoing attempt to breach and negate the Constitution is not only dangerous and injurious to the stability of the NASS bureaucracy but can also deepen ethnic and religious fault lines in the country.

The statement reads in part: “Findings also revealed another breach of Federal Character Principle, with the recommendation of the current Clerk to the Senate who is expected to proceed on retirement leave ahead of his retirement in August 2020 for the position of the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly (DCNA) and the Clerk, House of Representatives (CHR) who will also retire by August 2020, are both from Edo State.

“In as much we are not against the elevation or ambition of any deserving public officer, we seriously frown against attempts to fuel embers of polarization through lopsided appointment by giving undue preference to a state or section of the country over others.

“There is no gain-saying the fact that skewed appointments into office will create distortion in the public service structure while it favours some and frustrates others.

“Besides, it is also capable of bringing ruin and destruction to the nation’s premier parliamentary institution.

“We further note the great danger it poses to the PSR with so much interference in the bureaucratic administration by politicians as the NASC panders to the political consideration of the lawmakers to choose the Clerk to the National Assembly without due regard for merit.

“We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives and the Chairman, NASC, to abide by their oaths of office as leaders and stop this potential flagrant disregard for the Constitution, PSR and the rule of law.”

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