PenCom board: S’East senators meet, oppose Buhari’s appointment
Fred Itua, Abuja
Twenty-four hours after Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, opposed President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominee for the position of the Director- General of National Pension Commission (PenCom), Aisha Umar, senators from the South East, yesterday, met to take a common position on the issue.
The senators from the geopolitical zone drawn from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insisted that the position must be ceded to one of their constituents in line with the Act setting up PenCom.
A source told some newsmen that the South East caucus in the National Assembly met last night (Wednesday) to further take a position.
Strong indications that all was not well emerged on the floor of the Senate, yesterday, when Abaribe seconded the motion by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, for the screening and confirmation of the nominee, but maintained his position that a replacement for the erstwhile boss of PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu, should have come from the South East. .
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan had directed the Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters to screen President Buhari’s nominees Dr. Oyindasola Oluremi Oni from Kwara and Umar from North East respectively for the office of chairman and DG of the pension commission.
Others nominated as commissioners were Hannatu Musa (North-West); Clement Akintola (South-West); Ayim Nyerere (South-East) and Charles Emukowhale (South-South).
One of the senators opposed to the nomination of Umar confirmed to newsmen that lawmakers across party divides from South West, South East and North Central geo-political zones met Tuesday night in Abuja to perfect opposition to Buhari’s nominee.
He maintained that Umar’s nomination was a breach of provisions of Section 20(1) and section 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014, which provided 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.”
The lawmaker who pleaded not to be named recalled that “when Alhaji M.K. Hamman from Gombe , same North East was in the saddle as Director General, he spent his mandatory two terms of eight years. Umar has even spent eight years as Director in PENCOM.”
The source who disclosed that Mrs. Chinelo Anohu had since taken up appointment as Executive Director at the African Development Bank, alleged that Umar’s nomination is being promoted by certain APC leaders who see her as capable of meeting their expectations of a pliable DG in PenCom ahead of the 2023 elections.