OrderPaperToday – Amids some protests from some senators, the senate Tuesday approved the controversial nomination of Aisha Dahir-Umar for the position of Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom).
When the nominations for the commission were read out by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on September 29, 2020, senate minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, opposed Aisha’s appointment.
According to him, the former DG who was from the South-east geo-political zone of the country was removed by President Muhammadu Buhari before the end of the tenure.
Buhari, however, did not replace the nominee till the tenure lapsed and then brought a new nominee from another geo-political zone.
Lawan then told him to address his submission to the committee on establishment and public service matters.
But presenting the report of the committee, vice chairman of the committee, Mpigi Barinada, sought approval for the controversial nomination.
This prompted Abaribe to raise another round of protest.
He said the chairman of the committee, Senator Ibrahim Shekerau (APC, Kano) responded that section 20 (1) and (2) of the PenCom act 2014 “is not applicable to the present situation on the ground” because “it is not an intermittent vacancy but a new governing board after the dissolution of the former board.”
Responding, Lawan noted that his (Abaribe) argument would have been right when the former DG was removed.
“The entire life of the Board has finished. But there is no basis for this argument because it will fall flat on its face”, he said.
Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) equally opposed the nomination of Dahlr-Umar citing section 14(3) of the Constitution that establishes the rule of federal character.
For him, when such issues like this are raised in letters from the President, Lawan should be able to advise Buhari.
Lawan however stated that it is not within his powers to have such discussion with the President.
“When the President writes to the Senate, I won’t take a mandate that I don’t have. It is available for Senators when I read it. You have given me some powers that I am not supposed to have”, he said.
Laying the matter to rest, in support of the nominee, Lawan affirmed that the North-east has been marginalized and that “it is only under this administration that we have been getting some attention.”
Senators Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) and Aisha Dahiru (APC, Adamawa) equally supported the approval of the controversial nominee which was eventually endorsed by the red chamber.
Other nominees approved are: Dr. Oyindasola Oni (Kwara, North Central) (Chairman), Clement Oyedele Akintola (Ondo, South West) (Commissioner), Ayim Nyerere (Abia, South East) (Commissioner) and Charles Emukowhate (Delta, South South) (Commissioner).
The nomination of Hanna Hanney Musa Musawa from Katsina state (North West, Commissioner) was stood down because she was unable to provide her discharge certificate from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).