Forces in the presidency are engaged in a battle of wits with Senate President, Bukola Saraki over the appointment of an Acting Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Ripples can authoritatively report.
The current CNA Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa is expected to proceed on terminal leave from May 14.
The CNA is statutorily appointed by the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC), a parastatal responsible for recruiting and managing the workforce of the National Assembly.
The 12 Commissioners of the body are however appointed by the President from across the six geo-political zones of the nation.
The replacement of Maikasuwa has been enmeshed in intrigues and controversies with the NASC appointing Clerk of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, as Acting Clerk.
His appointment was however challenged by Saraki in a letter on April 22 to Chairman of the Commission, Dr Adamu Fika.
The Senate President called for withdrawal of Sani-Omolori’s appointment because he was not consulted and the exercise was carried out without consideration for the principle of seniority in the Civil Service.
Saraki called for the appointment of the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly (DCNA), Benedict Efeturi, instead of Sani-Omolori.
But Fika countered that Efeturi was not qualified for the post because it is against Civil Service rule to appoint someone who is six months away from terminal leave.
Investigations revealed that Saraki and forces in the presidency are desperate to have their stooges in the office because of the Senate perjury, which has been reopened by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Malami has given the Director of Public Prosecution and the Police two weeks to prefer charges against suspects, who allegedly forged the Senate Standing Orders used for the proclamation of the current 8th Senate.
It is believed that the Senate Standing Orders were forged to facilitate the election of Saraki and Senator Ike Ekeremadu on June 9, 2015.
The former CNA, it was alleged, connived with former Senate President David Mark to alter the Standing Orders few days before the election.
Forces in the presidency believe that by determining the new CNA, it will be easy to prove the complicity of Mark, Ekeremadu and others in the case.
A source told Ripples Nigeria: “You know the CNA is the live wire of the National Assembly. They could get away with the alteration because the man there cooperated.
“If someone else gets there, he will help to facilitate quick trial and even reveal more facts that will nail the culprits.
“But if they have their way again, we should expect the case to die a natural death. This is why it is essential to stop them from having their man in the office again.”
The Saraki’s camp is also desperate to get Efeturi into office to get favourable directions during the case.
Should the case of criminal conspiracy, forgery, breach of official trust and unlawful assembly said to have contravened various provisions of the Penal Code be proven, it will consume the leadership of the Senate.
This is considered another potential banana peel for the embattled Saraki to tackle aside from his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over alleged false declaration of assets.
It was learnt that both camps are prepared to go for broke over the appointment, fuelling fears that the vacancy might not be filled after May 14.
While Fika is believed to be dancing to the tune of presidential forces, Saraki is said to be leaving nothing to chances in the battle to install the next CNA.
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