The controversy surrounding the removal of the PenCom top boss continues to rise to new decibels as the actors within the presidency continue to up the ante through their actions in appointing replacements for the removed PenCom top boss.
Senators have vowed to “rubbish” the nominee appointed by Acting President Osinbajo to replace the removed Director General of PenCom. According to one of the Senators, “we will rubbish anyone the acting president presents to us”.
According to the information available to 247ureports.com, the appointment of the PenCom top boss is typically designed to obey the federal character as dictated in the laws governing the appointment of a new PenCom boss. Section 21 (2) of the Pension Act, 2014 clearly provides that “In the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure”.
The removed head of the PenCom hails from the south east geopolitical zone. But President Buhari appointed Alhaji Aliyu Dikko from Kaduna State in the North West as replacement for the removed PenCom boss. A clear neglect of the governing laws guiding the replacement of PenCom boss.
To add muster to the stench of marginalisation, the Acting President, Osibanjo took over the garnet and reversed the decision to appoint Aliyu Dikko and appointed his kinsman from the South West, Funsho Doherty, as the DG of PenCom in clear and continued contravention of the law and exclusion of South East.
Information available to 247ureports.com indicates that Fusho Doherty is employed by Yemi Osibanjo’s company. Funsho Doherty works for Yemi Osinbajo’s company.
The Acting President has yet to submit the name of Funsho Doherty to the Senate.
The removed PenCom DG tenure was supposed to be five years based on Pension Reform Act 2014. Her Predecessor, M.K Ahmad from Gombe State did two consecutive terms running across Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, and Jonathan administrations.
Although section 21(j) empowers the president to remove a member of board of the management of pencom from office if it is no longer in public interest or pension industry for the person to continue in office, the former DG performed so well, raising the pension funds/assets from less than N3 trillion, which the Contributory Pension Scheme gathered in 10 years to N6.5 trillion in less than three years she was in the saddle.
Under the removed DG, PenCom won African Pension Awards prize (regulates category) for three consecutive years. She launched the pension industry to the international scene and brought so many innovations such as the Micro Pension Scheme to accommodate the informal sector such as the artisans, etc.
Even the government agrees that she did very well.
She served on the Fola Adeola Committee set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to reform the Nigerian pension system that was deep in corruption and inefficiency that brought untold hardship upon pensioners.
She also served as the pioneer Commission Secretary and Legal Adviser before she was appointed Acting DG, and later a substantive DG.
On the PENCOM conudrum, Ola Ishola-Williams, a retired army general and civil society activist said:
“Osinbajo really disappointed me. Look at the way the lady that used to be at PENCOM was removed. The lady was removed when she has not completed her tenure. She was unceremoniously removed.
“Even at that, what I had expected was that the replacement for her should have been somebody from her geo-political zone, but that didn’t happen, Osinbajo now appointed a Yoruba to fill the post. That is bad.
“Politicians should be careful, they should be sensitive to the feelings of others. It is very sad that Osinbajo is following the footstep of Buhari on issues relating to appointments. He should not copy Buhari at all, because this is how Buhari also concentrated all appointments in the North, and also favour Muslims in government appointments. Osinbajo should revert those appointments and follow due process. I even believe that some of these appointments should be given to professionals. Professionals should be recruited to run these parastatals instead of appointing politicians who are given the positions not based on merit.”
On his part, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to late President Yar’Adua and Chairman, Editorial Board of Thisday newspapers, Segun Adeniyi wrote in his back page column:
“The tenure of Anohu-Amazu, who served as the pioneer Secretary/Legal Adviser of the Pension Commission, before becoming the Director General in December 2014 recorded a geometric rise in pension assets, which stood at N2.4 trillion in 2014 and was N6.5 trillion at the time of her exit from the commission. Anohu-Amazu therefore ought to have been treated with some respect.
“No matter what, Anohu-Amazu gave a good account of herself and she can hold her head high. She was edged out of PenCom not due to incompetence but rather as a result of petty politics.
“That the president decided to make changes at PenCom was well within his prerogative even though there are still some procedural issues. But following his recent sack as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director by President Donald Trump, Mr James Comey said most memorably that a president could relieve him of his job for any reason or no reason at all. As it is in the United States so it is in Nigeria since we both practice presidential system. But the needless propaganda against Anohu-Amazu at a time she wanted to hand over properly, something that a critical agency like PenCom demands, was rather unfortunate.
“What worries is that picking and choosing what legislation (and court order) to obey and which one to ignore has become the ideology of this government that seems to have scant regards for the rule of law. But on PenCom, there is an urgent need to be more circumspect. This is necessary so that corrective measures can be taken quickly otherwise, the Senate may have to use the confirmation hearing to intervene on the side of the law, common sense and national unity”.
On the social media, most Nigerians believe the presidency believes the curious changes at PenCom should be revisited so as not to throw the industry into further confusion that is already eroding the gains it made over the years.