The appointment of Sani Magaji Tambuwal as the clerk of the National Assembly by the Assembly Service Commission has triggered a controversy.
Tambuwal was appointed to succeed the outgoing Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Olatunde Ojo, but his appointment is said to be a violation of relevant sections of the National Assembly Service Commission Act 2014, a Public Affairs Analyst, Haruna Abdulsalam Mohammed claimed.
In a comprehensive piece on relevant sections of the Act and how they specify the manner in which officers can succeed an outgoing CNA, Mr. Mohammed explained how the choice of Tambuwal is a travesty of legal procedure by the commission, adding that Tambuwal should be 6th in line behind five others who were surreptitiously bypassed by the commission.
In the document titled “Appointment of Clerk to the National Assembly, A Breach of the NASC Act, 2014” Mohammed stated that the “Organogram of the National Assembly bureaucracy and line of duties as captured in sections 6(1), 7(2) and 12(1) of the National Assembly Service Act, 2014 shows that Mr. Sani Magaji Tambuwal is not qualified for appointment as Clerk to the National Assembly.”
“The Organogram of the National Assembly as shown in the Act shows that Magaji Tambuwal is number six in line and would not have been above the Clerks of Senate, House of Representatives andtheir Deputies who are recognised by the Act before Secretaries”
Tambuwal was appointed to act as Clerk following the directive by Kadi Amshi-led Commission that Ojo should proceed on three months pre-retirement leave on November 14, 2022.
Mr. Kamoru who is in charge of Legal department was also appointed as deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, an act viewed by Mohammed as total disregard to the provisions of the establishment Act which places Clerks of the Senate, that of the House and their deputies as more qualified and higher in ranks as succession candidates than Secretaries.
He accused the commission of lending credence to allegations of inducement by some powerful interest as alleged reported by a newspaper two weeks ago.
“The National Assembly Service Commission has once again assumed public media topicality based on its appointment of Sani Magaji Tambuwal as the Acting Clerk to the National Assembly on Friday, November 18, 2022. It is pertinent to note that Sani Magaji Tambuwal was the Secretary Directorate of Finance and Accounts until his current appointment.
“The present scenario is a resonation of the same worrisome trend in which Ojo Olatunde Amos was appointed by the same Commission from his position as Secretary Directorate of Procurement and Supplies to mount the saddle in July 2020, as Acting Clerk to the National Assembly”
“The National Assembly is an organ and institution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is clothed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) with the legislative competence of the entire federation.
It is in appreciation of the fundamental role of National Assembly with respect to its bureaucracy, that the constitution specifically created the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly and the National Assembly with respect to its bureaucracy, that the constitution specifically created the office of the Clerk to the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission. Hence, section 51 of the 1999 constitution categorically stated as follows:
“There shall be a Clerk to the National Assembly and such other staff as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly, and the method of the appointment of the Clerk and other staff of the National Assembly shall be as prescribed by that Act”
“The marginal note to the above section is Staff of the National Assembly. The plain, simple and ordinary interpretation of the above provision of the constitution is that the Clerk as principal administrator of the National Assembly and the other staff shall be appointed in line with the spirit and letters of the National Assembly Service Act 2014”
According to him “This extant Act on its coming into force June 30, 2014, validly repealed the 2000 Act and created the current legal regime for the operation and management of the National Assembly. Therefore in the eyes of the law, it is the only constitutionally and statutorily ordained legislation for the appointment of an acting or substantive Clerk to National Assembly”
“The National Assembly Service Act 2014, categorically expounded the provisions of section 51 of the 1999 Constitution on the same marginal note subject matter-Staff of the National Assembly vide section 12(1) provide as follows:
The staff of the National Assembly shall comprise the Clerk to the National Assembly; the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly the Deputy Clerk of the Senate; the Clerk of the House of Representatives; the Deputy Clerk of the Senate; the Deputy Clerk of the House of Representatives;
Secretaries to the Directorates; the Directors; and holders of other offices that shall be created by the Commission on the recommendation of the Clerk to the National Assembly.”
He further added that “a community reading of sections 6 (1) (b), 7(2) and the above section 12 (1), will confirm beyond dispute, that it is the constitutional and statutory organogram of the National Assembly from whence the National Assembly Service Commission is bound to appoint an acting or substantive Clerk to the National Assembly”
“In the exercise of its statutory mandate to appoint an Acting or substantive Clerk to the National Assembly, the National Assembly Service Commission cannot delegate that fundamental duty to anyone person or authority. The provision of section 7(2) of the National Assembly service Act, 2014 is vivid that”
“Notwithstanding sub-section (1) of this section or any other provision of this Act, the Commission shall not delegate any of its power in respect of offices of the Clerk to the National Assembly, Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, the Clerk of the Senate, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Deputy Clerk of the Senate, Deputy Clerk of the Representatives, Secretaries to the Directorates and such other staff not below Grade Level 07”
He, however, stressed that “These circumstances raise salient issues of law. The National Assembly Service Commission is the regulatory body that is mandated to appoint an acting or substantive Clerk to the National Assembly in replacement of Ojo Olatude Amos. In this wise, the Commission failed in its constitutional and statutory duty by its failure to appoint a replacement for the outgoing Clerk in acting or substantive status.
In short, the instruction to the outgoing Clerk to hand over the reins of the National Assembly to the most-senior-Secretary is manifest departure from the provisions of section 7(2) of the Act that prohibits delegation”