Immediate past Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Oluwole Oke has petitioned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over developments within the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation bothering on constitutional infractions on the appointment of a substantive Auditor General for the Federation
Hon Oke who represents Obokun /Oriade federal constituency of Osun state accused the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Folashde Esan of ignoring the provisions of the civil service rules by appointing Junior Director to over see the office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
In a petition to the President dated 31st May, 2023 with reference HR/ PAC/SC05/9NASS/66/206, Oke said the Head of Service has also contravened the provisions of the Constitution which states that no one should should occupy an office in acting capacity for more than six months.
He explained that as a result of the development, several annual audited reports of MDAs have not been submitted to the National Assembly because the person acting as the Auditor General lack the power to sign the reports.
This development he said has hampered the workings of the Public Accounts Committees in the National Assembly.
According to him,”The position of the Auditor-General for the Federation became vacant on 7th September 2022 after the retirement of the then substantive Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr Aghughu Adolphus.
“Contrary to the custom within the Public Service, which Is that the most senior Official is required to assume the role of the Head of the Institution in acting capacity, the number three Director (Mr Andrew Onwudili) with less than 2 years to serve was imposed on the Office and designated as the “Director Overseeing the Office” by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
“This practically upturned the Seniority Nominal roll of the Office and created severe animosity and apathy within the Office.
“As stated above, the custom of seniority within the Public Service is codified in the Public Service Rule – 020106 which states as follows – “seniority shall be determined in any department by reference to the date of assumption of duty/date of last appointment’.
“In addition to the above, Section 86(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) requires that a public official heading a position can act only for 6 months and another person can be appointed in acting capacity.
“However, the Director Overseeing the Office has acted beyond the required 6 months, which is a gross violation of the Constitution.
“The implication of this is that actions taken by him are both illegal and unconstitutional. In addition, the Annual Audit Report “for various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which are due fo “submission to the National Assembly has not been signed and cannot be laid before the National Assembly.
“The Director overseeing thé office lacks the constitutional capacity to sign these Reports; hence, it has created a backlog,’ which is affecting the performance of Committees within the Natiohal ASsembly.
“Based on my personal inquiry and review of the situation, i noticed that one Mrs Oluseyi Ogundowo is the most senior Director within the office and should have assumed the role of Acting Auditor General.
“However, the Public Service Rule was ignored and Mr Andréw Onwudili, a junior Director, was appointed for perceived parochial considerations.
“Desperate steps were equally taken to ensure that he was appointed in substantive capacity béfore the end of the last administration.
“However, the interventions of the Public Accounts Committees of the two chambers of the National Assembly and the petition of the Association of Retired Staff of Office of the Auditor General for the Federation halted the moves by the Head of Service and the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission to install the Director Overseeing the Office as the Substantive Auditor General for the Federation.
“Your Excellency, in view of the foregoing and in order to preserve the sanctity of and the amity within the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation, I wish to appeal that the provisions of the Public Service Rules recognizing seniority of Directors should be adopted in appointing a Substantive Auditor General for the Federation.
“Based on the above, I also wish to most humbly appeal that in the interest of equity, fairness and justice, Mrs Oluseyi Ogundowo, the most Senior Director should be considered for this appointment. Mrs Oluseyi Ogundowo Is eminently qualified.”