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Tenure Saga Tears Code Of Conduct Bureau Apart

Sam Saba, the Chairman of CCB

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)  is currently embroiled in a fresh crisis following an alleged plot by the Sam Saba-led board to use age 70 as a benchmark for retirement.

This is in sharp contrast with the appointment  approved by former President GoodLuck Jonathan on 30th April, 2014 for Saba and other members of the board which clearly spelt five years tenure for them in a letter with reference number 331.19/S.24/215 and dated 3rd June, 2014 as signed by the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation,Alhaji Ahmed Yayale.  

However,the board Chairman,Mr Sam Saba while reacting through the CCB Press Unit, stoutly defended their position, insisting that the 70 year age benchmark  was constitutional.

Investigations by The Controversy revealed that if the plot sails through, some members of the board would have succeeded in spending 18 years on the board as against  the mandatory five years.

This equally implies that the present crop of directors and some senior staff of the bureau who are civil servants would have retired while the board members who are on political appointment, would still be in place at the CCB, earning salaries and other emoluments.

Due to the   furore generated by this development, the acting CCB Secretary,Mrs Folashade Kolawole is said to  have angrily resigned her appointment despite the pleas by her civil servant colleagues  not to make good her threat of quitting. She allegedly put in her papers last Wednesday ,12th April, 2017,after being handed a suspension letter by the board.

More importantly, it was discovered  that the CCB was one of the fourteen  Federal Executive Bodies tied to a four to five year  tenure.

 Others include Federal Character Commission, Federal Judicial Service  Commission, Council of State, Independent National Electoral Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission,National Population Commission,  National Defence Council, National Judicial Council, National Security Council,National Economic Council,Nigeria Police Council, Police Service Commission, and Revenue  Mobilisation and Allocation Commission

The current board came into a place in April, 2010,during the era of Dr. Good luck Jonathan and was expected to have left in June, 2015.

Strangely however, two years after the expiration of their tenure , the five members which consists of Sam Saba, Ademola Adebo, Bekefula Stephen Festus , Ibrahim Manjo, Nwadinobi Okechukwu and Christy. O. Ekoja, they have not only refused to leave, they will be retiring there when the clock 70 years of age, one after the other.

However , the raging crisis currently bogging the CCB, is believed to have been engendered by the alleged double standards of the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Muhammad Bello Adoke.

 For instance, when a former member of the board, Barrister Yakubu. M. Tukur appointed in 2007, sought to extend his tenure in 2012, his request was turned down through a letter with ref no HAGF/CCB/2012/VOL1/ 2 and dated 5th March, 2012.

On the strength of this , The controversy further gathered that the tenure of Tukur ended in 2012 through a letter with ref no; SGF/19/S.24/C.180, dated 14th June, 2012 even when he was 66 years old  at that time.

But curiously,the same Attorney General, was believed to have made a volte-face sometimes in May,2014,precisely 4 years into the 5year tenure of the current board members , having been allegedly approached by them.

To this effect , the then Justice Minister in his submission to former President Jonathan in a letter with reference number GAGF/SH/2014/VOL.1/44 and dated 13th May, 2014, recommended that the board members could stay in office till they attain the age of 70,

Owing to this position and the approval of the former President, the board members tenure was rewritten by the  erstwhile Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Mr.Anyim

Pius Anyim in a signed  letter dated 10th July, 2014,with reference number SGF.19/S.24/C.3/154,said the chairman and his board members "shall vacate office on attaining the age of 70".

The Controversy's investigation further revealed that the implication of this is that, going by the provisions, the  length of service of the chairman and members of the board , based on their  date of birth , appointment and their  expected date of attainment of 70 years, they will be spending  between 8years at the minimum and 18years at the maximum on CCB board.

However, the staff of the bureau would take none of these as they are said to be bellyaching and spoiling for show down with the board  over the matter.

The Controversy learnt that the aggrieved staff are anchoring their agitation on the fact that the board members were on political appointment.

"It is not employment,  nor a pensionable appointment. This provision is completely in violation of tenure principle and rules of engagement of political office holders" said some of them who preferred anonymity.

They further argued that the board members were appointed after being screened and confirmed by the Senate in 2010 for a five year tenure .

" Was and is the renewal of chairman and board members of Code of Conduct Bureau not subject to Senate screening and reconfirmation should the tenure be renewed? If confirmation is required, why was the chairman and members' appointment, extended administratively?  they queried.

 Already, the issue which is currently unsettling the bureau due to the stance of the  staff, is said to be receiving the attention of the Senate and might  come up for mention on the floor of the Upper Chambers anytime from now.

Specifically, representatives of the aggrieved staff were said to have met with the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki recently on the matter and was said to have promised to look into it  after being briefed.

Meanwhile, the board while justifying  its position  in an electronic response sent by the Information Officer, Mr Idris Mohammed, maintained that their actions were backed by law.

"This is a constitutional issue as clearly stated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. The Federal Executive Bodies established by Section 153,states that a 'Code of Conduct Bureau  shall comprise the following members (a) 1 Chairman  and (2) Nine other members.

Each of who at the time of appointment,shall not be less than fifty years of age and subject to the provisions of Section 157 of this constitution, shall vacate his office on attaining the age of seventy years......."

As result,the board pointed out that the members had not flouted the law on the tenure issue,stressing,"This, therefore, clears the long misconception about the tenure of members of the Board of Code of Conduct Bureau which has in the recent times, attracted legal action from some civil society groups"

The board equally vaunted that if brought up at the Senate, it was  sure of getting the support of the lawmakers assuring, if brought before the floor of the Senate, it would receive the overwhelming support of the Senate since they are people that are knowledgeable on constitutional provisions that set up the CCB and other agencies of the government "

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