The Anohu-Amazu bill: Amending legislation just for an individual

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Last week, the House of Representatives suspended debate on the Pension Reform Act because of the controversial request embedded in the Act. The request was asking for the REDUCTION of qualification requirements for the post of director-general of the National Pension Commission.

Under the existing law, the MINIMUM requirement for the position is 20 years experience; but the emendation wants that to be reduced to 15 years. The reason for this absurd demand is simple. The acting DG is a certain Chinelo Anohu-Amazu.

She has only 15 years experience in service, but those who rule the roost want to confirm her DESPITE the extant law, so they came up with the absurd decision to amend the Pension Reform Act, to achieve their purpose!

When the bill came up for second reading last Wednesday, it was stepped down following protest by a lawmaker, who frowned at a bill that was being amended just for an individual.

Ali Ahmad (PDP Kwara) who raised the motion that led to the stepping down argued that: “you don’t make laws for individuals at the expense of the larger society. Laws are meant to uplift development and standard of the nation and its people and it is not supposed to be subjected to individual whims and caprices” (Not forgetting that in the Kwara state where Ali Ahmad comes from, the House of Assembly had passed a law “subjected to individual whims and caprices”, when a pension package was approved just for the creature comfort of Bukola Saraki, Ali Ahmad’s principal and mentor!). Similarly, Rep Ibrahim Bawa Kamba (PDP Kebbi), said there was no way members could entertain the bill given that it seeks to lower the PenCom DG bar to favour a certain individual: “…reducing the age experience requirement for the PenCom DG is not in good faith”.

One of the hallmarks of contemporary Nigeria is the lowering of standards and the promotion of mediocrity on the basis of an in-your-face impunity.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) became very controversial because in so many ways, it morphed into a law to satisfy the tall ego of Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Maduekwe. Those who promote these individualisation of laws clearly do not care about the fate of Nigeria; the health of the state system and the continuity of tradition.

For them, their act resembles what the Hausa describe as “sha yanzu, magani yanzu” (literally, taking an advantage now without bothering about long term implications!).

Those pushing  Chilnelo Anohu-Amazu’s candidacy as DG of PenCom, know that she is NOT qualified for the position, but a combination of ethnic solidarity and exploitation of their placement within the system today has pushed them to the recklessness of seeking an emendation of the law.

I hope the National Assembly will resist this inordinate, irresponsible and unpatriotic effort to amend a law just to promote the candidacy of an individual, which has become so much part of the notorious baggage of the Jonathan administration.

These ridiculous steps have accumulated to deepen the incompetence which dog the administration and by extension, the country. With due respect, when Pius Anyim was appointed the SGF, it represented a lowering of standards, even when the effort was to satisfy the Igbo constituency.

The truth was that the man was too inexperienced to hold the position. Everybody knew that fact, but out of ethnic solidarity; the opportunistic penchant to hope that an opportunity to “chop” has opened to a kinsman, people would not comment.

Yet, they will hope against hope, that things would carry on and somehow, work well. People conveniently forgot that it was the same Anyim, whom the late Chuba Okadigbo, dismissed wittily, when he asked: “what has he achieved? Nothing!”

He then added that he was a mere level twelve officer in a refugee organisation! The same man was promoted above his station as Senate President and today he is SGF. What effect has his place had on governance?

All Nigerians can offer an answer. But that impunity is still very much with us and the latest expression of that ethnicity-sourced absurdity, is the attempt to amend the Pension Reform Act, to lower the minimum qualification from 20 to 15 years, just to ensure that Chinel Anohu-Amazu is confirmed as DG at PenCom. That is the sorry pass that Nigeria has been pushed into!

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