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“Buhari was aware of Maina’s recall”: 5 shocking takeaways from memo by Head of Service

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, in a handshake with Pres. Buhari


“Buhari was aware of Maina’s recall”: 5 shocking takeaways from memo by Head of Service

The controversy over the recall of the former Chairman  of the Pension Reforms Commission, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the civil service, is not going away.

There have been lots of claims, leaked memos, and accusations since the news first broke. But one of the most shocking so far has to be the leaked October 23, 2017 memo submitted to the chief of staff to the president, Abba Kyari, by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Oyo-Ita said her office never agreed with the decision to  recall Maina:

“Please, note that the OHCSF was never in agreement with the reinstatement and consequently never conveyed the approval of the FCSC to Mr. A. A. Maina, nor approved his posting to the Ministry of Interior or any other MDA.”

2. She said she warned the president about that course of action and the damage it could inflict on the government’s anti-corruption agenda:

“I sought audience with His Excellency, Mr. President on Wednesday, 11th October, 2017 after the FEC meeting where I briefed His Excellency verbally on the wide-ranging implications of the reinstatement of Mr. A. A. Maina, especially the damaging impact on the anti-corruption stance of this administration.”

It is strange however that Oyo-Ita failed to document such a position. She claims that she did not support such a consequential decision, yet there is no memo either to the Federal Civil Service Commission or to Pres. Buhari stating her position. Rather she claims to have told the President “verbally”, a claim which cannot be verified.

Also, Oyo-Ita does not say what response she received from Buhari when she verbally discussed the matter with him.

3. Who started all this?:

As several documents have shown already, the prime mover behind Maina’s recall is the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. Oyo-Ita reiterated that point in her memo.

“The move to recall Mr. A. A. Maina was at the instance of a series of letters from the Attorney General of the Federation to the Federal Civil Service Commission requesting the commission to give consequential effect to the judgement that voided the warrant of arrest issued against Mr. A. A. Maina which formed the basis for the query and his eventual dismissal,” she said.

4. The process from letter to recall:

According to Oyo-Ita, this is the process from Malami’s letter to Maina’s eventual recall. As expected, she said she and her office (Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF) are free from blame in the entire process.

After Malami’s letter,

  • She was requested to get advise from the Ministry of Interior: “The Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) thereafter requested that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation should advise the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior to consider the AGF’s letter and make appropriate recommendations to the commission and this was so communicated to the Ministry of Interior.”
  • The ministry recommended Maina’s recall: “The Ministry of Interior took the matter to the Senior Staff Committee of the ministry and recommended the reinstatement of Mr. A. A. Maina into the service as Deputy Director.”
  • Oyo-Ita’s office said nothing about the ministry’s position and just acted as a courier service, simply forwarding the recommendation: “The OHCSF forwarded the recommendation to the FCSC which has the constitutional responsibility for appointments, promotion and discipline for further action.”
  • It was the FCSC that acted: “The FCSC in consideration of the letter from the AGF and the recommendations of the SSC of the Ministry of Interior consequently approved and conveyed the reinstatement of Mr. A. A. Maina with effect from 21st February, 2013 vide letter herewith attached as Annex IV.”

Throughout the process, Oyo-Ita never voiced her opposition. She gave no input to the Civil Service Commission as they deliberated. She said nothing about how she felt concerning the recall in her area of immediate and direct influence. Yet her argument is that after the process had been concluded, she advised the president against it.

5. Evidence wanted:

Oyo-Ita said she never reinstated or posted Maina to the ministry of Interior and has asked them to provide any evidence that she did so.

“However, I have requested the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, to provide any documentary evidence to support the claim of reinstatement and posting of Mr. A. A. Maina by OHCSF, since after his dismissal,” she said.

It is interesting that Oyo-Ita seeks documentary evidence from the Interior Ministry whereas she does not provide any evidence that she spoke with the president or that she opposed Maina’s recall. What if the ministry comes forward and says:  “No documents. You told us verbally.” Whose report would we then believe?

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