National Assembly Service Commission to Return Revised Conditions of Service to Lawmakers

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Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Sequel to the raging controversy that has trailed moves by the newly constituted National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) to truncate the Revised Conditions of Service for staff of the National Assembly passed by the eighth session with the full support of the immediate-past board of NASC and the leadership of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), the commission has concluded plans to send the document back to the National Assembly to decide its fate.

The eighth session of the National Assembly had in concert with the board of the NASC, whose tenure has since expired, and the leadership of the PASAN, the umbrella union of the staff of the National Assembly, worked out the details of the Revised Conditions of Service for the staff of the National Assembly.

It was gathered that the report would be submitted to the office of the two presiding officers next Thursday and to be deliberated next week during plenary.

The Revised Conditions of Service, which has since been fully domesticated and already nine months into operation, was aimed at improving the welfare and conditions of service of the staff of the National Assembly; engendering industrial harmony and entrenching a succession plan as well as filling knowledge gaps among other objectives.

But in a surprise move, which took the staff of the National Assembly unawares and has since drawn the ire of discerning observers of the legislature, the commission set up a committee led by Senator Abubakar Tutare to review the Revised Conditions of Service. The commission stated that its action was sequel to petition by aggrieved stakeholders against the implementation of the Revised Conditions of Service.

THISDAY investigations, however, discovered that the move by the commission to dump the conditions of service was part of a vested interest outside the National Assembly to orchestrate massive retirement of top staff of the National Assembly to pave way for the installation of handpicked stooge for the most coveted post within the bureaucracy of the National Assembly.

Central to the actualisation of this plan, it was gathered is the ongoing attempts to discredit and stop the implementation of the Revised Conditions of Service as a precursor to the unlawful clearance of the top echelon of the assembly bureaucracy to pave the way for the emergence of the handpicked candidate.

The Tutare committee was the first salvo of this plot last week, when the report was leaked. But it had to be suspended because of the controversy generated.

The report of the committee is coming on the heels of widespread controversy and rejection of its attempts to foist a crisis on the National Assembly by truncating the implementation of the Revised Conditions of Service by the national leadership of the Parliamentary Association of Nigeria and well-meaning stakeholders fearful that its action is capable of plunging the National Assembly into crisis.

Meanwhile, some senators and members of the House of Representatives queried the propriety and implications of the move by the commission to get National Assembly to revise itself on a policy which is already gazetted and in full operation.

Interestingly, it was the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan as (Senate Leader) and Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as (House Leader) who sponsored and moved the motion in both chambers of the National Assembly calling for the Revised Conditions of Service.

With the desperation of the group outside the National Assembly to have its way at all costs, stakeholders are asking: ‘will the legislature revise itself in order to do their bidding irrespective of the huge moral burden such a move could inflict on the reputation of the National Assembly?’

THISDAY further gathered that by resolving to refer the Revised Conditions of Service back to the leadership of the National Assembly, the commission has shown that it has no such power to review any resolution jointly passed by the National Assembly, let alone contemplating to review what the eighth National Assembly duly passed which has not shown any of the complications in its implementation, but just to impugn on the integrity of the National Assembly or perhaps to justify the allegation of acting as one who must deliver a hatchet job whether the outcome is sweet or bitter.