PENCOM board: Uproar in NASS as senators kick against nominee from North

Senators across party divides are set for a showdown with the Presidency and President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan over the new nominee for the position of the Director-General of the  PENCOM Board, Aisha Umar.

The letter from President Muhammadu Buhari which unveiled the name of the nominee for the position of DG who incidentally is from the Northeast as Senator Lawan was read on the floor of the Red Chamber on Tuesday on the resumption of the lawmakers from their annual recess. It announced the duo of Oyindasola Oni and Aisha Umar, as nominees for the office of Chairman and Director General of the PENCOM Board, respectively.

There was an altercation between the Senator representing Abia south and Senate Minority Leader,  Enyinnaya  Abaribe who declared that the nomination of a nominee from the Northeast to replace,  the former Director-General (DG) of PENCOM, Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, from Southeast was in flagrant breach of the Act establishing the PENCOM.

Checks revealed that by the provisions of Section 20(1) and section 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014,  “in the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.”

Senator Abaribe maintained that the replacement for Mrs Anohu -Amazu must come from the southeast.

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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 because it is against the law setting up the National Pension Commission.

“Before you send it to the appropriate committee tomorrow, I wish to draw the attention of the committee to it. ”

In his response,  Senator Lawan rebuffed  Senator 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. ”

Nigerian Tribune investigation revealed that Senators across party divides are set to resist the nomination of Aisha Umar as DG of PENCOM.

One of the lawmakers who pleaded not to be named revealed that the opposition to the contravention of the Act establishing the National Pension Commission cuts across the south-east, southwest and the Northcentral.

” We are set to meet tonight ( Tuesday) to harmonise our position. ”

The lawmaker recalled that move by Vice -President,  Professor Yemi Osinbajo to push for the nomination of Mr Funsho Doherty from the south-west as the successor to Mrs Anohu -Amazu as the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) was frustrated by a certain cabal in the Presidency.

“Professor Osinbajo,  as acting President could not push it through. “They threatened him with impeachment and used the lawmakers from the North to block him, citing provisions of the same Pension Act. ”

The lawmaker accused the President of the Senate of being a willing tool in the hands of the Presidency in its agenda of promoting the interest of a particular section of the country which he noted was contrary to the Federal Character Principle entrenched in the Constitution.

The source cited the emergence of a former Personal Assistant to the Senate President, Ahmed Amshi as the Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).


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