The recent sacking of Mr. Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, by President Muhammadu Buhari has, to all intents and purposes, exposed the difficulty of the presidency to place a firm stamp of authority on its avowed fight against corruption, even as it has once again betrayed the long held view by many discerning opinions, that the Buhari administration is still trapped in the web of propaganda and manipulation of public it spun to come into power in 2015.
To put the records straight, a STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE, titled: PRESIDENT BUHARI DIRECTS MAINA’S DISENGAGEMENT FROM SERVICE, and signed by FEMI ADESINA, Special Adviser to the President, (Media and Publicity), dated October 23, 2017 confirming the sacking of Mr. Maina, reads thus: “President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the immediate disengagement from service of Mr. Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms.
“In a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the President equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior. “The report is to be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work today, Monday, October 23, 2017,” the statement concluded.
While one can understand the mindset that may have inspired the decision of the President to wield such an authority and act with such definitive, if not autocratic and dictatorial tendency, the fact which looms large and stares us directly in the face is that the President simply panicked under the barrage of negative public opinion, stokes by a section of the media, hell bent on destroying the image of Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina and pressed the sack button in a frantic but ill timed and unfortunate bid to satisfy the baying of a delusional public already battered and dazed by the hardship of a recession that has just simply refused to go away, despite all the euphoric statistics.
In fact to be very blunt and direct about it, what the President has done is wrong; very wrong. First of all, every civil servant who knows his onions will inform and confirm to the presidency that there are procedural extant rules and processes to be observed before such an action can be taken. The presidency needs to be reminded that the Mr. Maina was and has been a civil servant and not a political appointee He was not recalled to his old position as Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, which is by appointment and as a result is subject to summary termination according to whims of his appointee, but to a substantive position as Director in the Ministry of Interior, which is an administrative position attained through patient and dedicated service in the civil service.
By first of all sacking Mr. Maina and then directing the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, to present a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior, to be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work on Monday, October 23, 2017 the Head of Service, the presidency has committed the proverbial blunder of putting the cart before the horse and even worse, committed the same brazen impunity which it had vigorously campaigned against as an election killer punch.
Again, it is almost unbelievable that President Buhari would sack a man from the Civil Service based on a report by the EFCC, which is not only inconclusive but which even the EFCC itself has not presented before a competent Court of law as a substantive suit for litigation. Indeed, has any court of competent jurisdiction indicted Mr. Maina yet? or does EFCC have such powers to pronounce judgement out of Court? Has the EFCC become a prosecutor and judge in its own matter?
For the avoidance of doubt it is pertinent to state here that there are at least two Supreme Court rulings, one of them involving the present Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi in Amaechi v. I.N.E.C. SC. 252/2007 of FRIDAY, 18TH JANUARY, 2008 and yet, he is still enjoying the largess of that Ministry and signing million dollar contracts to buy coaches for Trains.
These are some of the questions and existing cases that ought to have concerned the presidency before rushing into the head wind of public opinion to sack Abdulrasheed Maina. It’s equally germane to point out that while one is not necessarily holding brief for Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, the fact remains that he has suffered a regime of horrendous hounding by the EFCC who, even in its devious attempt to mark him as the poster boy of its war against corruption, put his name on the Interpol list of wanted persons, after the man ran for his dear life, following an almost successful assassination attempt on his life.
Intact, it has been hinted in several knowledgeable quarters, that despite the unrelenting efforts to incapacitate him, Mr. Maina has for over one year been offering useful assistance, cooperation and support to the relevant authorities under this present Buhari Administration in the war against corruption, especially in the Pension and Fund recovery system.
Nigerians love scapegoats and what the action of the Presidency in sacking Mr. Maina has translated into, is a disappointing and compulsive attempt to cosmetize and gloss over the short comings of the EFCC in the war of corruption by turning him into the sacrificial lamb to appease the god of public opinion which the Nigerian public worships with obsession.
Mr. Abdulrasheed Abdulahi Maina does not deserve what the presidency has done to him. His rights have been violated and now his employment has been terminated after being cajoled by this Government into coming to assist in funds recovery which he has been doing very well to this moment. No amount of hate speech or righteous indignation, by the public, mind boggling allegations by the EFCC or even dictatorial fiat by the presidency, will dismiss these facts or diminish the injury he has suffered since 2013 till date.
The fact remains that Maina has helped the last Administration and this Administration in the recovery of funds and other such duties. Thus, for the government to say they are not aware how Maina got reinstated is absurd even with the shameful spate of denials that are beginning to fill the airwaves over his matter, probably sponsored by the same pension fund thieves Maina recovered trillions of naira from.
Respectfully put, the Buhari’s administration must grow in modern knowledge and realities on the need to sustain at all times the rule of law. Certainly on this Maina’s issue, the President obviously was ill advised or may have acted out of baseless personal sentiments in not recognising that there exist a set precedent for such a matter by the legal supremacy of the Apex court as it has been established that the EFCC indictment or any purported indictment by a governmental agency or parastatal is alien to the law especially in a functional democracy.
Alhaji Shamsudeen Ibrahim Daura
writes from Kankare, katsina
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)