A non-governmental organisation, Defenders of Constitutional Democracy (DCD)has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to expedite action on the appointment of a substantive Auditor General for the Federation (AuGF).
The groups advice is contained in a petition written to the president dated June 27, 2023 and titled “Urgent Need to Appoint a Substantive Auditor General for the Federation (AGF) in Line With Extant Civil Service Rules” signed by its National convener, Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi and the Director of Contact and Mobilisation, Dr. Chukwuma Okoro.
The CDC expressed concerns that the country has been without an Auditor General of the Federation for over 10 months saying “This is an anomaly that should not be allowed to fester because the Office of AuGF is so critical that no vacuum should be entertained”
The letter read in part: “We want to intimate His Excellency, Mr. President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that Nigeria has no Auditor General for the Federation for up to 10 months now. There is an aberration called Overseeing Director, appointed by the Head of Service to act as Auditor General for the Federation. This is unheard of and is alien to the Civil Service Rules and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We are, therefore, calling on the President to as a matter of urgency review the aborted process for the appointment of a new AuGF and ensure that due process is followed for the emergence of a substantive AuGF.”
The group alleged that there was a desperate move by some elements in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission, FCSC, to sideline senior directors and appoint a junior officer as the Auditor General of the Federation.
“Mr. President, it will interest you to know that the process for the appointment of AuGF began in August 2022 with seven directors shortlisted and the screening done but along the line, the Order of Seniority was altered in the Office of the Head of Service. Surprisingly, the process was abandoned for unknown reasons and a fresh one was initiated in March 2023, where the most senior directors were excluded.
“The CDC have it on good authority that part of the reasons why the process was inchoate was because it was discovered that there were plans to appoint an officer who is not among the most senior Directors before the expiration of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We wish to inform you that instead of an acting or substantive Auditor General, the Head of Service introduced an alien practice of appointing an Overseeing Director. This is an aberration to the Civil Service Rules. Surprisingly, the so-called Overseeing Director has been in that position for over 10 months now.
“Mr. President, because the position is not known to the constitution, the Overseeing Director cannot sign AuGF Annual Reports hence as we speak, there is a backlog of the Reports for two years. The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation is too important to be toyed with by some unpatriotic and corrupt public servants. This process must not continue.
“We urge you to summon the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Folasade Esan to brief you and as a matter of urgency reinstate the original seniority list and allow the process to run seamlessly in consonance with the laid down Civil Service Rules and Regulations
“The CDC decided to wade into this matter because there seems to be a grand plan to scheme out some people, especially the two women who were part of the initial seven that were shortlisted and screened for the job. Mr. President, you have an obsession with due process and the rule of law and therefore, we urge you to without delay intervene to save this important office.
“Mr. President, kindly treat this matter with the urgency it deserves. Do not allow bad eggs to destroy the good foundation you are laying for your administration. A stitch in time saves nine”, the group stated.