THE Nigeria Senate on Wednesday, January 11, confirmed the nomination of Anthony Ayine as the auditor-general of the federation.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last year nominated Ayine to fill the post currently held by Florence Anyanwu in acting capacity. Ayine’s confirmation was said to have been delayed by some petitions written against him, especially the one written by Binta Garba, a leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Adamawa State. Garba had alleged that Ayine is a cousin of the current head of service and that he had been a ‘local government auditor in Adamawa State.
Nevertheless, the Senate confirmed his nomination following the presentation of the report on his screening by Andy Uba, chairman of the committee on public accounts. Uba gave reasons for Ayine’s recommendation and subsequent confirmation as being a man whose competence could not be disputed.
In her petition, Garba claimed that, given his position as ‘local government auditor’, he would be placed at Grade Level, GL, 14 after conversion to federal service, whereas the law specifies GL 17 as requirement for the office of auditor-general of the federation. But Godswill Akpabio, minority leader, argued that the premise on which the Adamawa lawmaker based her claims was misleading. Akpabio said Ayine was a “state’s auditor-general for all local government areas, not just one local government.” He said that by virtue of Ayine’s position, he was on a level similar to a permanent secretary; therefore, met the GL 17 requirement. Akpabio was backed by Ahmed Lawan, the then Senate leader, and George Sekibo, PDP-Rivers. They argued that Ayine had gone through the constitutional process, including writing and passing required test before he was nominated by the president.
Consequently, the nomination received unanimous support when Ike Ekweremadu, deputy Senate president, who presided over the session in place of Bukola Saraki whose corruption trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal resumed on Wednesday, January 11, asked if there was any senator opposed to the confirmation of Ayine.
Ayine hails from Cross Rivers State whose service he joined in 1988 as auditor II. Samuel Ukura, the immediate past substantive auditor-general, was also appointed from outside the federal service. Ukura had been in the service of Benue State, his home state, before he was appointed by late the late former President Umaru Yar’Adua.
— Jan 11, 2017 @ 15:45 GMT