Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Alhaji Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori, attained the 56 years-old mark on Wednesday, June 7. Although the occasion was devoid of the characteristic pomp and ceremony, yet the quintessential bureaucrat never allowed the day to pass without obligatory introspection on the journey of life.
Deconstructing his curriculum vitae, one can safely surmise that in his trajectory from the lowest rung of the ladder to the peak of his public service career as typified by his headship of the bureaucracy of the National Assembly, it has been so far, so good. He has, at least, four more years to retirement.
When he set out on his public service voyage, he knew what he wanted at every intersection. He has always gone for it and, of course, he has always got it. That would explain the seeming restlessness that was evident at the early stage in the offices he occupied as he was changing jobs with ease in his upwardly mobile public service career.
One thing appeared clear from the outset: Sani-Omolori had his eyes sharply focused on the ball. Interestingly, the Ahmadu Bello University Law graduate, started out as a teacher with the Local School Management Board, Okene, after he passed his West African School Certificate in 1976.
As a prince of the royalty of the Okene kingdom, he offered his services in 1982, after the completion of his law programme and before he proceeded to the Law School, in the capacity of private secretary in the office of the chairman of Ebira Traditional Council.
After graduating from the Law School, he was posted to Sokoto State for his compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, where he served as Legal Draftsman/Adviser in the Sokoto State House of Assembly from September to December 1983.
Following the overthrow of the democratically-elected administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari by the General Muhmmadu Buhari-led military junta, and the consequent collapse of democratic institutions, he had to move over to the Headquarters of the 7 Mechanised Infantry Brigade, Nigerian Army, Sokoto, to complete his NYSC scheme.
Following the completion of his NYSC programme, Sani-Omolori had a brief stint in private legal practice from 1983 to 1984 before moving to Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited where he worked as legal officer for the next five years.
He moved on to the National Electric Power Authority in 1990 as legal officer, spent a year there before gravitating to the National Assembly in 1992 as legislative counsel. In 2002, he was appointed Acting Director of Legal Services Department. In 2007, he was confirmed substantive Director of Legal Services Department. Sani-Omolori stepped in the saddle as Clerk to the House of Representatives in February 2010 and, for the next six years, provided, among others things, administrative and legislative support to members of the House as well as superintending over the affairs of the House services.
On May 13, 2016, following the retirement of Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa as the CNA, the lot fell on Sani-Omolori (Ciroma of Ebiraland) to step into the office in acting capacity. And on August 15 of the same year, the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) confirmed him as the substantive CNA.
There are so many achievements and laurels that he has garnered on his way to the top. All those do not need mentioning here in this tribute; what deserves to be mentioned is the catalogue of measures that he has put in place in the 13 months he has been in office as CNA to drive the administrative infrastructure, operation and functionality of the National Assembly bureaucracy.
Sani-Omolori’s leadership has set out to redefine, redirect and refocus the operational bases of legislative practice in line with the “change mantra”; engender disciplined and motivated workforce to enhance its functionality as a hallmark for serious business.
Flowing from the premise supra, his leadership has organised retreats for management staff members for constructive dialogue and actions towards efficient service delivery.
In line with the policy of transparency and accountability of the federal government, his leadership has reorganised the accounting system to plug leakages and promote water-tight and efficient financial disbursements.
Significantly, the security architecture of the National Assembly has been reorganised through the procurement and provision of state-of-the-art security equipment for surveillance.
Besides, a more proactive and pragmatic arrangement has been emplaced to check the activities of miscreants who hitherto effortlessly thronged on the premises of the National Assembly complex.
Indeed, it is certain that Sani-Omolori is craving the institutionalisation of robust legacies of a proud, effective, efficient and notable National Assembly not only in the delivery of services by the bureaucratic wing but also in the overall legislative success by the political wing, which depends on the bureaucrats for support administration.
––Mr Ojeifo, Editor-in-Chief of The Congresswatch magazine, contributed this piece from Abuja via email@example.com