By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Senate appears to be bracing for another face-off with the executive over the recent directive by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to the newly appointed heads of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to assume duty without Senate confirmation.
A principal officer in the Senate, who spoke to THISDAY under the condition of anonymity, said the looming disagreement could determine the future relationship between the executive and the legislature.
He said members of the upper legislative chambers were seething with anger over the directive given by Osinbajo to the nominees to assume office in an acting capacity when they have not been cleared by the Senate.
According to him, the senators consider the latest attempt by the presidency to ridicule them as deliberate, warning that they would not allow it.
“Except the presidency toes the path of the rule of law, we will blacklist all communications from the presidency. The budget proposal for 2019 is likely to be affected,” he said.
A Permanent Secretary and Director Press Office in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi had made Osinbajo’s directive to the nominees last week.
Adebiyi said the directive for them to assume duties was to ensure that there is no vacuum in certain important federal institutions.
The appointees comprised those of PenCom – Ali Ahmed to serve as the acting chairman of the commission; Funso Doherty who is to serve as the acting director-general; and Manasseh Denga, acting executive commissioner.
Others are Abubakar Magawata – acting executive commissioner, Ben Oviosun – acting executive commissioner, and Nyerere Anyim – acting executive commissioner
At the CCB, Muhamma Isah was directed to assume office as its acting chairman, Murtala Kankia – acting member and Emmanuel Attah – acting member.
Others are Danjuma Sado – acting member, Ubolo Okpanachi – acting member, Ken Alkali – acting member, S. F. Ogundare – acting member, Ganiyu Hamzat – acting member, Saad Abubakar – acting member, and Vincent Nwanli – acting member.
At the ICPC, Bolaji Owasanoye was directed to assume duty as the acting chairman.
But in a counter move, the Senate on Saturday advised the nominees not to start work until they had been confirmed, in accordance with the constitution and the establishment laws of the affected institutions.
A statement by its spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi said: “The leadership of the Senate has been inundated with enquiries from individuals from across the country who want to know whether the statement from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to the effect that the nominees into the headship of PenCom, Code of Conduct Bureau and ICPC should resume work immediately, pending their confirmation by the Senate was as a result of an understanding between the executive and the legislature.
“We will like to advise the acting president who was quoted to have given the directive for the assumption of office by the nominees that the directive was illegal and not right. The Senate will not support any action that is not in line with the law.
“We advise the nominees to hold on until they are cleared by the Senate as required by law before assuming in their respective offices. We do not want anything that will cause any problem between the executive and the legislature,” Abdullahi had stated.
Apart from the fact that the nominees have not yet been cleared, there are cases in court challenging the new appointments into the pension commission