…urges Buhari not to approve appointees’ list
A group, Northern Emancipation Network, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to approve the list of the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for the Federal Civil Service.
Rather, the group advised President Buhari to order a recall of the list as well as a comprehensive review of the exercise by an Independent panel with a view to ensuring fairness for all the candidates.
It argued that merit should be the major criterion in the appointment of the new Permanent Secretaries rather than their individual connections to some powerful persons.
The Network made its position known at a press conference addressed in Abuja by its Convener, Suleiman Abbah.
According to the group, “Consequently, we call on the President to withhold approval of the list of new appointments, order the recall and comprehensive review of the entire exercise by an Independent panel to ensure fairness for all.
“It is important to point out that merit ought to be the over-riding consideration in the appointment of the new Permanent Secretaries rather than the connections of the candidates to those in power as in the present case for the four appointments announced so far in the exercise.”
The full text of the Network’s statement read to newsmen at the press conference stated as follows:
STATEMENT AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED IN ABUJA ON NON-COMPLIANCE WITH FEDERAL CHARACTER PRINCIPLES IN FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICES THE NORTHERN EMANCIPATION NETWORK
Abuja, April 5, 2022
The attention of the Northern Emancipation Network (NEN) was drawn to the series of unjust and unfair handling of the latest screening exercise for the promotion of top federal civil servants.
The process was initiated by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation via a Circular No HCSF/CMO/154/VOL1/5 dated November 24, 2021 and signed by Dr Folasade, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
The letter meant to kick-start a chain of processes for the appointment of Permanent Secretaries to fill existing vacancies had specified the states where the vacancies existed as Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Jigawa, Sokoto and Taraba States.
Key among the specified requirements by the Circular was that interested persons must have come from the states listed above and must be the rank of a substantive directors on salary grade level 17 as at 1st January, 2020.
The notice explicitly stated that the process would involve the following three stages:
- Written Examination
- ICT Proficiency Test
- Interactive Session with a panel of experts and practitioners.
We observe that consequent upon the sai Circular, about 74 candidates including applicants for the post of Solicitor General of the Federation presented themselves and sat for the written Examination conducted on February 21, 2022.
A certified document from the office of the Head of Service showed the score grades for all the 74 candidates with the highest point at 74.00 scored by the officer with civil service No. FCS/PSE/02/2022/020.
According to that result sheet, 37 of the 74 officers could not make while 37 officers that were successful were subsequently invited to the next level of the process being the ICT Proficiency Test on February 22, 2022.
At the end of the ICT Proficiency Test, 11 people were listed as having qualified for the final stage and were invited to an oral interview/interactive Session which held on February 28, 2022.
We are genuinely worried that the outcome of the interactive Session appeared to be nothing short of a warped exercise and an insult to the federal Civil Service of Nigeria and the collective sensibilities of Nigerians generally.
We note that in the outcome, the officers with the highest grades in the written Examination which is the most important segment and who also made it through the ICT Proficiency Test, the next most important level, were purported to have failed the oral interaction without specifying the standards adopted.
As representatives of the vast majority of various interest groups from the country, we are worried that while President Muhammadu Buhari is concerned with reforming the country’s civil service, those saddled with responsibilities appear not to be carrying forward his vision.
We are afraid that moving from where we are to where we need to be with regards to sanitizing the civil service sector will remain a mirage if President Buhari allows this glaring inequity to pass.
We are convinced that for the President to assemble the Nigerians to advise him and take forward his vision for the civil service, he will need people who will convey his concerns and compassion; and people who will combine his personal integrity with competence and commitment.
The nation is not wrong when it insists that President Buhari’s image and vision are not being served by the quality and competence of many of the people currently being assembled to work to stabilize the nation’s civil service and see the nation through this difficult period.
Consequently, we call on the President to withhold approval of the list of new appointments, order the recall and comprehensive review of the entire exercise by an Independent panel to ensure fairness for all.
It is important to point out that merit ought to be the over-riding consideration in the appointment of the new Permanent Secretaries rather than the connections of the candidates to those in power as in the present case for the 4 appointments announced so far in the exercise.