The festering crisis in the National Assembly over the tenure elongation of the clerk, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, has taken a new turn with the sudden decision by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to replace him.
Lawan and Gbajabiamila are instead to appoint persons from the North East and the South West, Daily Sun learnt yesterday.
It was learnt that the current Permanent Secretary in charge of Legal Matters for National Assembly, Bala Yabani, has been tipped as the next clerk to the National Assembly. He hails from Yobe State.
Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission, Ahmed Amshi, who was Lawan’s Chief of Staff, also hails from Yobe.
Similarly, Olatunji Ojo Amos, current Permanent Secretary, Estate and Works/Procurement is among the two persons reportedly tipped to be the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly.
The fresh move by Lawan and Gbajabiamila to impose their allies as new leaders of the National Assembly followed the controversy trailing the planned reversal of the retirement age and conditions of service for workers.
The crisis which began since the outgoing clerk, Sani-Omolori, assumed office has created factions in the rank and file of the National Assembly bureaucracy.
According to documents made available to Daily Sun, the condition of service of National Assembly staff was amended in the twilight of the eighth National Assembly, where a Bill titled: “Retirement age and conditions of service” is alleged to have been ‘smuggled’ in by the last leadership.
According to the document, the retirement age for civil servants in the National Assembly was moved from 35 to 40 years. The retirement age was upgraded from 60 to 65 years.
It was learnt that the ‘amended’ rule was being implemented despite the fact that it was not passed by both chambers of the eigth Assembly and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to details of the controversial document, the clerk to the National Assembly, Sani-Omolori and about 150 officers are expected to remain in office for another four to five years, despite attaining the legal age of retirement.
Daily Sun gathered that the newly-inaugurated board of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), upon resumption, set up a committee to re-examine the implementation of the controversial ‘Harmonised Retirement Age’ of the staff of the National Assembly service.
It was learnt that the committee had submitted its report and yanked off the controversial five-year tenure elongation of the clerk and over 150 other senior staff.
If the recommendations of the Committee are implemented, the clerk who clocked 35 years in service in February, may be forced to proceed on a compulsory retirement, preparatory to his retirement.
Speaking on the development, Chairmen of National Assembly and NASC chapters of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Sunday Sabiyi and Ojemeri Oisamaye, in a letter addressed to the chairman of NASC, Ahmed Amshi, urged him to invoke the powers of the commission.
Part of the letter obtained by Daily Sun read: “We strongly implore the Commission to invoke its powers, in line with Sections 6(8), 7(1)(b) and 19 as well other relevant sections of the NASC Act, 2014, to holistically review the conditions of service and streamline the irregularities found therein.”
They said at no time did they support the tenure elongation of the Clerk and other senior staff due for retirement. They further argued that instead, the controversial issue should be jettisoned.