By Reuben Nwankwo (Abuja)
Over 15 Civil Society groups under the umbrella of Coalition of Civil Society Organization for Good Governance CSOGG, has lauded the leadership of National Assembly Service Commission NACS under the Chairmanship of Ahmed Amshi for appointing Arc Amos Olatunde Ojo as the Acting Clerk of National Assembly describing the development as a bold step in the right direction.
This is contained in press statement made available to newsmen in Abuja Saturday and signed by the duo of the coordinator and Secretary of the group, Alhaji Ahmed Isa Funtua and Comrade Raymond Okumagbe respectively stating that Arc Ojo’s appointment is one of the best decision made in NASS in recent time.
“We receive the news of appointment of new Ag Clerk of NASS with utmost excitement as it is tantamount to using one stone to kill two birds, namely resolving the leadership crisis that has bedevilled NASS bureaucracy and repositioning the law making body for sustainable service to the Nigerian people by chosing high quality person based on merit” the statement reads
“Arc Ojo’s appointment is well deserved. He is the highest ranking senior staff in NASS. He is well experienced and possesses the requisite capacity to deliver on the job. In spite of occupying one of the most sensitive positions in NASS as the secretary of procurement, estate and works he has never been found wanting or had any crisis of confidence meaning that he is competent. He is indeed the best choice” the group added.
The statement further noted that with this action the current leadership of NASC has demonstrated that it is impartial, transparent and purposeful to its mandates and will do the country proud. “Kindly be reminded that the entire country is keenly watching as you take decisions for the best interest of this country. Be assured that your good stewardship must never go unrewarded” the statement concluded
The commission and the assembly management had for some time logger-headss over the tenure of emmediate past clerk, Mohammed San-Omolori and about 160 other senior civil servants working at the NASS. Mr Amshi had on last Wednesday directed that those who had attained the age of 60 or 35 years in service should proceed on compulsory retirement.
Mr Sani-Omolori has spent 35 years in service but seeks to continue in office, relying on a controversial National Assembly Revised Condition of Service which reportedly took effect in 2019.
Based on the controversially amended conditions, the clerk and no fewer than 160 officers, who were to have retired from office, were expected to remain in office for about five more years, after the retirement age was raised from 60 to 65 years and years of service from 35 to 40.
But in a bid to intervene, Mr Amshi-led commission ignored the amendment by the two chambers of the National Assembly in 2018 and asked all those affected to proceed on compulsory retirement.
“Pursuant to its mandate as provided in the National Assembly Service Act 2014 (as amended), the National Assembly Service Commission at its 497th meeting held on Wednesday 15th July 2020 has approved the retirement age of the staff of the National Assembly Service as 35 years of service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.
“To this effect the commission has approved the immediate retirement of staff of the National Assembly Service who have already attained the retirement age of 35 years of service or 60 years of age. To this end the commission had moved forward and appointed Arc Ojo as the Ag Clerk of NASS
Prior to this time and following this controversy, the Head of Service of the Federation had written to NASC clarifying that NASS staff are public servants and that going by the provisions of the constitution all public servants are expected to retire at the age of 60 or 35 years of service whichever that comes first and that any resolution of the two chambers of NASS to extend age of retirement is illegal as such action is inferior to the constitution