By Emmanuel Nduka
An assemblage of 50 Civil Society Organizations under the platform of New Era for Sustainable Leadership and Accountability Initiative (NESLAI) has condemned the recent tenure extension of Nigeria’s Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris.
The group while making this condemnation at a press briefing held in Abuja recently, noted that the extension of tenure of the AGF who reached the mandatory retirement age in November 2020, violates the Extant Rules governing Nigeria’s Civil Service.
NESLAI’s Executive Director, Comrade Edwin Olorunfemi told Journalists that the continued stay in office by the AGF “negates the principle of succession plan, which implies quality grooming of a subordinate by a leader creating a smooth transference of leadership roles and maintaining sustainable leadership in public service”.
“Going by the extant rules governing Nigerian civil service, the Accountant General should have retired and handed over to the next ranking officer in his replacement. But the Accountant General is still holding on to his seat and enjoying all the benefits claiming the appointments is tenured.
“Additionally, his continuous stay contradicts the circular from the Office of the Head of Service to all agencies of the Nigerian Government which says ‘For avoidance of doubt and in order to maintain discipline and integrity, the extant public service rule which prescribes 60 years of age or 35 years of service for mandatory retirement should strictly be complied with’.
“However, the public service rules PSR, 020810 clearly stated that the compulsory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years of age or 35 years in service whichever is earlier. “No Officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service whichever is earlier. Therefore, his continuous stay in office contravenes these stated rules and as such, should not be encouraged,” he stated.
Comrade Olorunfemi posited that besides ensuring prompt availability of appropriated funds to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Office of the AGF is also central to achievement of government’s development goals and socio-economic wellbeing of Nigerians because of its fund mobilization and public finance management roles.
“The Accountant General has been a career civil servant and all the 15 Accountant Generals before him served for 35 years or reached retirement age of 60 years. Ahmed Idris is a civil servant and must be bound by the civil service rules.
“Therefore, the position of AGF is a sacred one and demands transparent and compliance to extant rules and orders that govern Nigerian public service. On this backdrop, NESLAI faults the process of extending the tenure of the Accountant General of the Federation and tags it as illegal.
“The bane of our national development has been bad leadership and we must continue to try new hands until we get it right, moreover, like many of the sit-tight leaders in the country, the current Accountant General has not done anything spectacular to justify his tenure extension because if his predecessors had taken that route, he would not have gotten to this height,” he added.