Group Raises the Alarm over Alleged Moves to Reverse Postings of Permanent Secretaries

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Sunday Okobi

In spite of denials by the presidency that no cabal in Aso Rock is scheming to sideline Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a group, Citizen Engagement for Justice and Equity in Nigeria (CEJEN), has raised the alarm that the cabal, in a bid to reassert itself, has allegedly moved to reverse and nullify the recent postings of federal permanent secretaries made during President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical vacation in London.

The group is particularly irked that the cabal wants to bring back a permanent secretary from Niger Delta Ministry to the Ministry of the Interior where he had earlier served for three years during which many complained of his non-performance.

CEJEN, in a statement issued by its protem National Coordinator, Abba Kwajok, yesterday said if the cabal succeeds in reversing the postings after the approval of the vice president (then acting) upon the recommendations of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winnifred Oyo-Ita, it would send grave signals to the public about the integrity and image of the presidency.
The group in the statement made available to THISDAY, contended that permanent secretaries, as the nation’s topmost civil servants, should necessarily comprise strategic thinkers, planners and managers whose pedigrees are well suited for current programs of government hence their deployments should therefore not be simply “job for the boys.”

Kwajok said it reliably learnt that the permanent secretary from Zamfara State, was redeployed from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Niger Delta to redress an alleged geographical imbalance in the political and administrative headship of the ministry where the Minister, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd) and all heads of the four crucial security organisations and agencies are from the northern part of the country.
To buttress its argument, he listed the positions in the ministry as: Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, from Niger State; Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede from Kano State; Controller-General of Prisons, Ahmed Ja’afaru from Kebbi State; the Commandant-General of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abdullahi Muhammadu from Niger State.

CEJEN said it could not understand why the cabal would insist that the position of the permanent secretary in the ministry should be occupied by yet another person from the northern part of the country in the spirit of equity, fairness, justice, peace, progress and common sense.

According to the statement, “This is the kind of perilous anomaly in the way we do things, and relate with ourselves which has inevitably thrown up frenzied debates, agitations and conversations for restructuring in many concerned quarters in the country.

“With its duties, which involve law and order, prevention of crime and criminality and to a very large extent the internal security of the country, the place of the ministry in our national life cannot be over-emphasised.
‘’That these responsibilities, at the topmost level, are exclusive to managers from one section of the country certainly cannot engender the much-needed cooperation and trust required from all citizens securing lives and property. We must begin to build an inclusive and multi-ethnic democracy that generates trust among Nigerians.’’
While expressing the hope that President Buhari will stop the cabal from reversing the postings, Kwajok said many Nigerians had commended him for publicly applauding Osinbajo for doing “a meticulous and efficient job throughout the period of his absence especially in the tedious processes that led to the new promotions and subsequent deployment of the permanent secretaries.”

The group, which claimed to be in support of President Buhari’s ongoing efforts at re-tooling the nation, expressed grave worry about the indiscipline exhibited in the alleged refusal to report to his new duty post in the Niger Delta Ministry due to his alleged connections to the cabal, saying the action was unethical, condemnable and smacked of gross indiscipline and insubordination.