The controversy surrounding the appointment of Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori, as the Acting Clerk of the National Assembly, took a dramatic twist on Monday when one of the seven commissioners, who allegedly dissociated themselves from the decision, denied signing any letter of protest.
The commissioner, Mr. Idi Ningi, in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja and titled, “I did not sign any protest letter,” however, admitted that he attended a meeting, alongside five of his colleagues, in the Senate President’s residence on April 26, 2016.
Ningi, who is representing the North-East geopolitical zone on the board of the National Assembly Service Commission, said the meeting had no agenda and that the paper he signed was just an attendance sheet.
The commissioner said he was shocked and surprised when he read on the pages of newspapers that he, and five of his colleagues, signed a letter of protest, rejecting the appointment of Sani-Omolori as the Acting Clerk by the Chairman of NASSCOM, Dr. Adamu Fika.
Ningi said he could not have signed such a letter when he was part of the decision to appoint Sani-Omolori and that he, even wrote a letter to Fika on April 19, expressing his support for Sani-Omolori’s appointment.
He explained that he actually arrived the residence of the Senate President in company with one of his colleagues, Alhaji Rufai Tafa, and met other commissioners including Messrs Stephen Yepwi, Funmilayo Lamuye, Paul Oweh and Joseph Oru.
He said the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, entered the venue of the meeting, five minutes after the commissioners had all seated, exchanged pleasantries and without wasting time, expressed his displeasure over the manner in which NASSCOM handled the appointment of Sani-Omolori, as the Acting Clerk.
Ningi expressed his respect and loyalty to the Senate President and his deputy, and also pledged “unflinching loyalty” and confidence in the leadership of Fika as the chairman of NASSCOM.
But reacting to Ningi’s statement, six out of the seven commissioners who attended the meeting with the Senate President on Monday, said their colleague, who denied signing the protest letter, was being economical with the truth.
The commissioners in a statement they jointly signed, described as unfortunate Ningi’s denial, adding that they were disappointed at his inability to stand by his word.
Their statement partly read, “It has come to our attention that a member of the commission, Idi Adamu Ningi, has denied rejecting the appointment of Mohammed Sani-Omolori as Acting Clerk of the National Assembly.
“It is unfortunate that he could speak from both sides of the mouth, an action which speaks of how much of a liar and traitor he is.
“We expect that a man of his age and standing should know better than to publicly deny a position he had earlier taken in the last meeting which held between us and the Senate President in the interest of the commission which has been brought to disrepute owing to the crisis rocking the commission.
“Moreso, to think that Idi Ningi could fall so cheap for financial inducement shows that he is not one to be called a dependable ally, neither is he in anyway worthy of confidence.
“His recant demonstrates a lack of maturity that glaringly tells about his character. He is a betrayer and a sell-out.”
The seven commissioners, listed to have signed the protest letter and dated 26th April were, Messrs Abubakar Rufai, Ningi, Joseph Oru, Paul Oweh, Stephen Yepwi, Funmi Lamuye and Abel Chukwu.