- Colleagues say he fell for financial inducement
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The raging controversy over the appointment of Mohammed Sani-Omolori as acting Clerk of the National Assembly on April 20 got messier monday evening as one of the commissioners who dissociated themselves from the appointment last week has reversed himself .
Whereas the Chairman of National Assembly Commission, Adamu Fika, in his response to the order by Senate President Bukola Saraki to reverse the appointment of Sani-Omolori had claimed that only one of the 12 members of the commission opposed Sani-Omolori’s appointment, seven of the 12 commissioners later denied the claim, saying instead, only one of the commissioners supported Sani-Omolori’s appointment.
Therefore, the seven commissioners rejected his appointment and threw their weight behind the appointment of Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Benedict Efeturi, as the successor to Salisu Maikasuwa who is billed to proceed on terminal leave on May 14.
But in a surprise move, one of the seven commissioners, Idi Ningi, who had signed a letter alleging that Fika, in contrast to the decision of the commission, unilaterally imposed Sani-Omolori on the National Assembly’s management, distanced himself from the claim of the “seven commissioners.”
According to him, he did not sign the rejection letter along with six other commissioners. Instead, he claimed that his signature was lifted from attendance list at a meeting between the commissioners and Saraki at his residence.
He said: “On April 26, 2016, I was informed of a meeting of the commission with the President of the Senate, in his house at 7p.m. of that day. Myself and one of my colleague – Alhaji Rufai Tuta arrived after 7p.m., having missed our way trying to locate the senate president’s house.
“On arrival, we met four of our colleagues already seated – Elder Yepwi, Funmilayo Lamuye, Paul Oweh and Joseph Oru. About five minutes later, the Senate President walked in and after exchanging pleasantries, he spoke about the way the issue of the appointment of the acting Clerk to the National Assembly was handled by the commission and essentially expressed displeasure about it.
“My colleagues, who all spoke before me recalled their contributions at the meeting of the commission where the decision on the appointment was taken. I spoke last and only offered apologies to the Senate President as it was apparent that he was not happy with the Commission; assuring him that we cannot annoy him intentionally.
“Mid-way into the meeting, the Deputy Senate President walked in and joined us. While I was speaking, one of my colleague (amongst the four we met at the residence) walked towards my seat with a sheet of paper which he gave to my colleague sitting close to me – Alhaji Rufai Tuta to sign and thereafter gave it to me. I noticed the paper was merely to write our name, the zone we represent and signature to indicate our attendance at the meeting and I signed accordingly.
“I am therefore shocked and surprised to learn that I signed a document. No document was presented at the meeting and I did not sign any document but an attendance sheet.
“I could not have signed any document dissociating myself from the decision of the commission as I had earlier (on the 19th April, 2016) in a hand written note – attached – expressed my support for the appointment of Omolori as the Clerk to the National Assembly in acting capacity,” he claimed.
But in a swift reaction, the remaining six commissioners castigated Ningi, describing him as a liar.
The commissioners in a counter statement, further described Ningi action as unfortunate, saying they were disappointed by his inconsistency.
They described him as a traitor who chose to speak from both sides of his mouth because of financial inducement.
“It is unfortunate that he could speak from both sides of the mouth, an action which speaks of how much of a liar and traitor he is.
“We expect that a man of his age and standing should know better than to publicly deny a position he had earlier taken in the last meeting which held between us and the Senate President in the interest of the commission which has been brought to disrepute owing to the crisis rocking the commission.
“Moreso, to think that Idi Ningi could fall so cheap for financial inducement shows that he is not one to call a dependable ally, neither is he in anyway worthy of confidence. His recant demonstrates a lack of maturity that glaringly tells about his character. He is a betrayer and sellout,” the statement said.