President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, submitted the names of 6 nominees to the Senate for confirmation as Chairman, Director General and National Executive Commissioners of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).
In the letter, which was read on the floor of the upper chamber by the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, the President nominated Oyindasola Oni as the Chairman and Aisha Umar as the Director-General.
Others nominated as Executive Commissioners are Hannatu Musa (North-West), Clement Akintola (South-West), Ayim Nyerere (South-East) and Charles Emukowhale (South-South).
However, the president’s nomination caused a sharp division among senators as it did not go down well with some of them, who kicked against it.
Some senators opposed the nomination of Umar as the substantive Director-General of the commission as soon as the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read President Buhari’s letter.
While speaking on behalf of the aggrieved senators, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said that Umar, from the North-East, should not have replaced, the former DG, Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, who is from the South-East. He said Buhari’s action was a flagrant breach of the Act that established the PenCom.
Section 20(1) and section 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014, states, “In the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geopolitical zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.”
Abaribe argued that Anohu-Amazu’s successor should come from the South-East.
He said, “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. It is against the law setting up the National Pension Commission and the Federal Character Commission.
“Before you send it to the appropriate committee tomorrow, I wish to draw the attention of the committee to it.”
However, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, rejected Abaribe’s point of order and observation.
He said, “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.”