PenCom board: Senators protest, plot against Lawan

Fred Itua, Abuja

Senators drawn from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are set for a showdown with President Muhammadu Buhari and President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, over the new nominee for the position of the Director General (DG) of the  National Pension Commission (PenCom), Aisha Umar.  

A letter from President Buhari, indicated that the  nominee was from the North East, where Lawan hails from. Lawan had  announced Oyindasola Oni and Aisha Umar, as nominees for the office of Chairman and Director General of the PenCom Board, respectively. 

However, the announcement didn’t go down well with some lawmakers, especially the Senate Minority Leader,  Enyinnaya  Abaribe who declared that the nomination from the North East to replace the former DG of PenCom, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, from the South East was in flagrant breach of the Act establishing the Commission.

Sections 20(1) and 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014,  states 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.”

Abaribe maintained that the replacement for Mrs Anohu -Amazu must come from the South East.

He argued: “I recall that the tenure of the incumbent was truncated therefore the new letter from the president that has now moved the Chairman of the Commission to another zone may not be correct because it is against the law setting up the National Pension Commission. Before you send it to the appropriate committee tomorrow, I wish to draw the attention of the committee to it.”

In his response, Lawan rebuked Abaribe’s point of order. “That is for me to interpret because I interpret the laws here. If there is any petition to that effect it should be sent to the committee,” he said.

It was learnt that senators across party divides are set to resist the nomination of Umar as DG of PenCom.

One of the lawmakers who pleaded not to be named, told some newsmen that the opposition to the contravention of the Act establishing the National Pension Commission cuts  across the South East, South West and North Central. 

“We are set to meet tonight (Tuesday) to harmonise our position,” he said.

The lawmaker recalled the move by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to push for the nomination of Mr. Funsho Doherty from the South West  as  successor to Mrs Anohu -Amazu as DG of PenCom, which is allaged to have been  frustrated by a certain ‘cabal in the Presidency.

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