Opinion

The Northernisation of PENCOM: A Constitutional Breach?

The Northernisation of PENCOM: A Constitutional Breach?

 

By Dr. Law Mefor

Although, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, rose to reject the President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar, for a substantive five-year term as Director-General (DG) of the National Pension Commission, PenCom, after serving in acting capacity for almost four years, as a flagrant breach of the provisions of Section 20 (1) and Section 21(1) and (2) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, overruled Abaribe.

That Section provides that “in the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure”. This means that the replacement for the former DG, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, who was illegally removed before the expiration of her first tenure, must come from the South East, not the North East. But Lawan insisted that as the presiding officer, he was the sole interpreter of the laws in the Senate and that any petitions challenging the President’s action should be sent to the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service.

Those, who have followed Lawan’s politics and idiosyncrasies, his ethno-sectional and religious hard lines, are not surprised. For instance, he was not only fingered in the refusal of the presidency to forward the name of Senator Joy Emodi (South East) nominated by Bukola Saraki as Chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission, NASC, he also upon his emergence as Senate President, jettisoned alleged promise to a South West Senator and installed his personal aide, Ahmed Kadi Amshi, who is also from his Bade LGA in Yobe State as NASC Chairman.

Meanwhile, the last Chairman, Dr. Adamu Fika, hails from the same Yobe. Again, only northerners (Aliyu Dogondaji and Ishaya Akau) have headed NASC since inception. Meanwhile, those behind the atrocious abuse of the Constitution and pension law are already on a media overdrive. They concede that when the President removes a member of PenCom Exco or board pursuant to Section 21(1) (h) of Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014, Section 21 (2) requires the President to “appoint a replacement from the geopolitical zone of the immediate past member that vacated office

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