Clerk's appointment: Saraki tackles NASS commission chair

By The Citizen

A crisis appears to be looming between the Senate and the National Assembly Commission over the appointment of an Acting Clerk to the bureaucratic arm of the legislature, The PUNCH learnt on Sunday.

The National Assembly Commission had, on April 20, appointed the Clerk to the House of Representatives, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori, as the Acting Clerk to the National Assembly.

Sani-Omolori, a lawyer, is to take over from the current Clerk, Mr. Salisu Maikasuwa, who will proceed on his terminal leave on May 14.

The commission opted for Sani-Omolori in place of the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr. Benedict Efeturi.

Findings showed that the development reportedly infuriated the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who immediately wrote the commission on

pril 22, opposing the appointment of Sani-Omolori.
Saraki, in his letter, which was addressed to the Chairman of the commission, Mr. Adamu Fika, stated that it should have been Efeturi, not Sani-Omolori, who should succeed Maikasuwa.

Efeturi is a former Clerk to the Senate.
Part of Saraki's letter, which was signed by his Chief of Staff, Isa Galaudu, read, 'Please, recall that during your last meeting with the President of the Senate on April 20, 2016, the procedure for 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 the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, and who has previously acted as the Clerk of the National Assembly, should be the first to be considered.'

But investigations by The PUNCH showed that Fika, in a memorandum to the 440th meeting of the commission prior to the choice of Sani-Omolori, had noted that in keeping with 'convention and practices of the service', it was not expedient to appoint Efeturi to a higher office because he had less than six months left to retire from service.

The commission was notified that Efeturi too was due to proceed on terminal leave on August 2, 2016, days before Maikasuwa's terminal leave would end on August 14.

The memorandum explained further, 'The need to appoint an Acting Clerk to the National Assembly has arisen. On the eligibility list to be considered are Efeturi, who occupies the position of Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, and Sani-Omolori, the Clerk to the House of Representatives.

'Both men were appointed into the Clerk Cadre on the same date on March 25, 2010. Available records reveal that Efeturi is due to retire from the service with effect from November 2, 2016, and should therefore proceed on three months terminal leave on August 2, 2016.

'This means he has less than three months of the terminal leave period of the present Clerk to the National Assembly to proceed on terminal leave himself. Sani-Omolori, from the records, remains in service till 2021.'

Fika added that it was in keeping with the tradition of not appointing an officer with less than six months left in service to a higher position that Sani-Omolori, 'the next most senior officer', was named as the successor to Maikasuwa.

Findings by The PUNCH indicated that the commission expressed surprise over Saraki's letter as the former was empowered by law to take full responsibility on issues of appointment and promotion of officers in the National Assembly.

One senior official made a reference to Section 8 of the National Assembly Service Commission Act, 2014, saying that the commission was not expected to be under the control of the Senate President in performing its duties. Punch