October 6, 2022

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Directors lobby ahead of screening for AGF job

Directors are lobbying politicians after the Federal Government shortlisted 14 of them for the Accountant-General of the Federation’s position.

A circular issued by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, on July 6, 2022, mentioned the names of directors from different government ministries and parastatals who have been penciled for the top job.

The circular named the 14 directors as Muhammad Murtala Saleh, Chizea Onochie Peter, and Lydia Jafiya Shehu from the Office of the AGF.

Others are Bakre Modupe Julianah (Ministry of Police Affairs), Danladi Comfort Zakowi(NSCDC), Abah George Fidelis (Nigeria Immigration), Omachi Raymond Omenka (Ministry of Interior), and lbrahim Saadiyya Jibo (National Boundary Commission).

In addition, the circular also named other candidates as Mohammed Aminu YarAbba (Federal Fire Service), Samuel A. Waziri (Ministry of Agric and Rural Development), Mahmud Adam Kambari (North East Development Commission), Mohammed Magaji M. Doho (Federal Ministry of Education), Mufutahu Bukolah (Federal Ministry of Transportation), and Yusuf Abdullahi Musa II (Fed. Min. Information and Culture).

The PUNCH had earlier reported that 20 directors had submitted applications for the AGF job.

A former AGF, Ahmed Idris, was removed after he was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of allegedly stealing N80 billion.

He was replaced by Mr Chukwunyere Anaekwe who was later removed on corruption-related allegations.

In an earlier telephone interview with The PUNCH, ANAN President, Professor Ben Osisioma, he had said that the association was ready to take disciplinary actions against Idris, who is a member, noting that there would not be any protection for him if he was found guilty of allegations levelled against him by the EFCC.

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The PUNCH gathered that the directors were lobbying politicians in the ruling party and those close to the Presidency for the position.

A source privy to the horse-trading said, “I know two of them who have met senators and House of Representatives members representing their constituencies to help them lobby for the position,” the source said.

Another source, a contractor who had earlier told The Punch about the number of applicants for the AGF position, confirmed that some directors were making frantic efforts to get the position through politicians, but stressed that the Federal Government was trying to ensure that it appointed the best out of them.

“From what I have heard, the Federal Government will look into the files of the shortlisted directors to ensure that anybody appointed is clean for everybody, but the lobbying is on.”

In a previous circular dated June 21, 2022, emanating from the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Federal Government had said, “Following the approval of Mr President, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation is commencing the process of the appointment of a substantive Accountant General of the Federation from eligible Directors (Accountant) in the pool of Accountant General of the Federation.”

The position, according to the circular, was for those who had attained the position of substantive director on Level 17 salary grade level on or before 1st January 2020.

According to a professor of Economics at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Uche Nwogwugwu, the situation around the AGF position in recent times showed that the civil service was infested with corruption.

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“The system is infested with hierarchical corruption. If you put anyone there under pressure, you will see they are not clean,” he said, stressing the need to appoint someone with a better profile for the position.