A fresh storm is brewing in the Senate in the aftermath of Thursday’s rejection by Senate President Bukola Saraki of the appointment of Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Omolori’s as Acting Clerk of the National Assembly.

Saraki’s action may also have pitched him on a collision course with the National Assembly Service Commission which made the appointment.

The Senate president had ordered the withdrawal of the letter of the appointment because, as he said, the Commission sidetracked due process in taking the decision.

He said Mr. Benedict Efeturi who is the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly (DCNA) and who has previously acted as the Clerk ought to have been considered ahead of Sani-Omolori.

Many Senators are said to have been shocked by the Senate President’s action which they saw as unnecessary.

“When the news broke on Friday, many of us were hearing about the correspondence for the first time. The issue of who becomes the Clerk of the National Assembly is strictly the business of the civil service and there is a commission in charge of such matters,” one senator told The Nation yesterday.

He added: “To tell you the truth, the last is yet to be heard of that matter. Many of us will not support such interference. And already, questions are being asked as some of the principal officers are also saying they were not aware of the decision to reject the appointment.”

A  Principal officer of the Senate said Saraki’s  letter rejecting Sani-Omolori’s appointment  was never discussed with other principal officers before it was sent to the commission.

“The issue will be revisited once we return next week (this week). It is not a serious matter. It is just something that should be placed in proper perspective and that is what we will do when we get back next week. I cannot say anything on the matter now because it was not discussed by the entire senate or the principal officers before the correspondence.”

The Nation also learnt that some Senators and members of the House of Representatives from Sani-Omolori’s home state of Kogi, are also not in agreement with the Senate President’s position on the matter.

A well placed source said Saraki’s letter was the culmination of weeks of intrigues over who becomes the acting clerk of the National Assembly.

While Saraki and majority of NASS Principal officers had wanted Efeturi all along, and had done everything possible to ensure his emergence, The Nation learnt that the commission for certain reasons, decided to give the position to Sani-Omolori.

“One major reason why Efeturi didn’t get the job was the fact that he was not properly appointed as the deputy Clerk. Sani-Omolori’s appointment is in a bid to correct past politicisation of purely civil service procedures. The commission was well guided in its choice and that will be proven soon,” the source said.

A source in the Senate, however, described the failure of the National Assembly Service Commission to follow seniority in the appointment of the Acting Clerk  as “an affront on the guiding principles of the appointment and promotion in the National Assembly.”

“Even if Efeturi was not going to be appointed on the ground of seniority and the fact that he is Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, reasons should have been provided by the appointing authorities in order not to create bad blood in the system,” the source said.

He noted that it is not clear how the issue will be resolved “since a major mistake seemed to have been made in the first instance.”

The Senate President, had in his letter asking for the withdrawal of Sani-Omolori’s letter of appointment, said: “We present to you the compliments of the President of the Senate and Chairman of the National Assembly, Distinguished Senator Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON. Please recall that during your last meeting with the President of the Senate on April 20, 2016, the procedure of the appointment of the Acting Clerk of the National Assembly was discussed.

“The Commission was directed to follow due process and ensure that seniority is adhered to. Of course, Mr. Benedict Efeturi who is Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly (DCNA) and who has previously acted as the Clerk of the National Assembly should be the first to be considered.

“Most importantly, you have been directed to confer with the President of the Senate over the outcome of the Commission’s meeting before a letter of appointment is issued and regrettably that did not happen.

“The President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives were informed that Mr. Efeturi was not considered for the appointment because he was not duly appointed as Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly. On further enquiries, we found he was duly appointed by the National Assembly Service Commission.

“Consequently, I am directed by the President of the Senate, to inform you that the letter appointing Mr. Sani Omolori as Acting Clerk of the National Assembly be withdrawn immediately for further consultations.”

The letter was signed by Saraki’s Chief of Staff, Alhaji Isa Galaudu

Culled from The Nation

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