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Appraising Maikasuwa's Stewardship As Cna

By Sufuyan Ojeifo
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Exactly five years ago, today (August 16), Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, mni, stepped in the saddle as Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), and has, since then, consistently applied himself to the rigours of administering the bureaucracy of the Federal Legislature.

Maikasuwa is both an exemplar and study in perseverance in the achievement of God's manifest purpose for his life. This has been clearly explicated and validated by his occupation of the CNA position despite the intrigues and impious alliances within the officialdom to stymie his rise to the top.

Without a godfather, and in his stark solitariness, but with eyes sharply focused on the ball, a largely underrated Maikasuwa confronted the lions, the bears and the Goliaths that posed imagined and real threats to his progress and prevailed over them.

Expectedly, the contestations were tough and mostly behind the facade of red tape. However, the underbellies of negative forces began to unravel; and, the battles became public knowledge when a sinister dimension bordering on near fatality was introduced into the haze.

Validation: Maikasuwa had been very much around in the bureaucratic set up of the NASS. He had been through thick and thin of it. He was once Special Adviser to Alhaji Ahmed Salim when he (Salim) was CNA; at some other time, he was Director of Administration.

When his presence was aggravating the powers-that-be, he was dispatched to the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), Kuru, for a year, by virtue of which he is member of the national institute (mni); he returned to NASS intellectually armed and prepared for the rigours of administration but had to remain in the cooler for a long time.

Although, he was elevated to the position of Clerk to the House of Representatives, the leadership of the House then did not allow him to assume his position. Perhaps, to sidestep the dangling moral burden of not allowing him to assume his clerkship position of the House, he was designated as Clerk Special Duties. It was from Clerk Special Duties that he moved up to the position of Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly (DCNA).

The DCNA, in the ancient calculations, operated like a spare tyre to the CNA- at the whims and caprices of the CNA. For the six months that Prince Yemi Ogunyomi was the CNA and Maikasuwa was the DCNA, Maikasuwa did not question or undermine the authority of his boss. He was simply biding his time. That was the wise and smartest thing to do.

Ogunyomi had been DCNA to Nasir Arab as CNA, just the same way Arab had been DCNA to Salim Ahmed Salim as CNA. For every individual that had stepped in the saddle of the CNA, it has been a new era and/or dispensation. The individual administered the bureaucracy in his peculiar style.

For some, it was totalitarian; for others, it was all inclusive. Ironically, Maikasuwa has, from the outset, run his clerkship of the NASS on the team leader's philosophy, with every officer in the organogram assigned official functions and held accountable to their performances.

This has rubbed off positively on the two occupants of the office under his dispensation, to wit: Mr Muyiwa Adejokun who had functioned and retired as DCNA and the incumbent DCNA, Mr Ben Efeturi. Maikasuwa was perhaps not as lucky when he was DCNA under Ogunyomi.

Perhaps, this liberalised method of administration would have been far-fetched in the ecology of the NASS bureaucracy had Maikasuwa been assassinated as DCNA. He was primed to become the CNA when an attempt was made on his life at a point not far away from his residence in Life Camp. He was returning from early morning prayers at a nearby mosque when he was reportedly shot at by unknown persons but escaped unhurt.

The attack was subject of police investigation. Maikasuwa ultimately stepped in as acting CNA and was later confirmed amid intrigues aimed at stalling his confirmation. Since his confirmation, he has redefined work ethics and camaraderie in the bureaucracy of the National Assembly.

Indeed, performance and progression have become the features of official procedure. He has been able to calm a hitherto turbulence in a largely unpredictable terrain. The fact that he has been in the saddle for five years without any damaging incident is attestation to his leadership capacity and success. He has been able to show fidelity to the welfare of staff members.

The public servant par excellence, who is billed to retire early next year, was on June 9, 2015, confronted with, perhaps, the greatest test of his entire public service career: he was pressurised to shift the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, but he did not.

In the build-up to the inauguration, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was enmeshed in a protracted leadership crisis. The party's decisions on the choice of senate president and speaker were challenged by some members of the party who believed that legislators should be allowed to choose their leaders.

In the Senate, the party adopted Ahmad Lawan as senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker in the House of Representatives. But the other camps in the Senate and in the House of Representatives rooted for Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as senate president and speaker respectively.

The dice was cast. The contestation for the plum positions became acrimonious. Stratagems were deployed in a desperate bid to actualise the scramble for power. The intrigues were more intense in the Senate it held the key in the construction of the large picture of power configuration.

Since the Senate inauguration was going to hold first, the outcome of the election into the office of the senate president was going to determine the direction the pendulum would swing in the election of the speaker. And that was what happened. Saraki won the election unopposed and Dogara, the candidate of his opposite group in the House, defeated the APC's candidate, Gbajabiamila, to clinch the position of speaker.

While the drama surrounding the emergence of Saraki was comical, it was tragic for Lawan, his opponent, who was absent on the floor when the CNA called for nominations. Saraki was returned unopposed before his other APC colleagues, who had converged on the International Conference Centre (ICC) for a purported meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, rushed to the chamber where they only met the process of electing the deputy senate president.

The APC is still living with the shame of the defiance and defeat it suffered in the hands of its members. But while Saraki ran away with victory and Lawan is still smarting from the tragicomedy that stalled his senate presidency, Maikasuwa, whose innocence in the intriguing game of power cannot be faulted, is perhaps still wondering whether the inauguration theatrics actually took place.

Maikasuwa possibly could not understand why some APC senators would stay away from the chamber on the date and time of inauguration when they had been apprised of the proclamation by President Buhari for the inauguration of the NASS.

But the CNA was not in any way encumbered by a non-existent counter proclamation notice by the President or any official correspondence directing a shift in time or a postponement in date of the inauguration. He had, therefore, reasonably and prudently stuck to the spirit and letters of the proclamation notice handed to him by Buhari to inaugurate the NASS on June 9, 2015 at 10 a.m. prompt.

It was clear to the groups jostling for the senate presidency that the CNA was key to the inauguration. Those who wanted the inauguration shifted plotted to either ensure that Saraki did not gain entry into the Senate chamber; and, to be sure, that the CNA, if it became necessary, stayed away from the chamber. Saraki, who knew that there was no way he could have won the election in absentia, beat all security cordons to find his way into the NASS complex. He was said to have moved into the complex incognito as early as 4.30 a.m. on June 9.

For the CNA, not even entreaties and overtures by some senators would keep him away from his duty of inaugurating the federal legislature at 10 a.m. Had he stayed away sans a counter proclamation notice by the President, he might have lost his position as CNA for allegedly colluding with some legislators to vitiate the foundation of parliamentary democracy.

Maikasuwa did not fall into the trap of the politicians. He dutifully navigated his way through the intriguing politics. He demonstrated his administrative savvy and, by so doing, saved the governing APC and its government. Maikasuwa is today riding the crest, confident that he had done the needful in the circumstance of his constitutionally-circumscribed functions.

The triumph he recorded over the manipulative political forces is reason he is still holding his position today as the CNA. He has proved himself to be incorruptible and uncompromising,-qualities that are lacking in a vast majority of politicians and public office holders.

Had he been bribed by any of the groups in the NASS, security report would have exposed him. But not at all; which is why the aggrieved group is exploring the frontiers of alleged forgery of senate standing orders 2015 to see how to damage the morality and credibility of the inauguration and the officials who conducted it.

As he clocks five years in office, Maikasuwa has, no doubt, garnered yet another triumph as his hands were never and may never be caught in the cookie jar of crime.

Written by Sufuyan Ojeifo, Editor- in- Chief The Congresswatch Magazine.

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