CSOs Tackle Hajj Commission For Retaining Oyo Governorship Candidate
A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) have tackled the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for refusing to sack one of its staff members, Tawfiq Tayo Akinwale, who contested the 2023 governorship elections in Oyo State against the Public Service Rules and Electoral Act 2022.
The CSOs’ concern came a few days some concerned staff of NAHCON petitioned the Office of the Head Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) over an alleged breach of civil service rules and presidential directives by the governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Oyo State, Mr Tayo Akinwale.
In a petition dated April 28, 2023, the petitioners claimed that Akinwale didn’t resign before contesting the governorship election in flagrant disregard for civil service rules and presidential directives.
They said despite violating these rules and presidential directives, Akinwale has continued receiving salary and enjoying other benefits.
The petitioners also accused the board of the commission of favouritism and nepotism in handling the case of Akinwale.
Akinwale’s name, with Serial Number 636, had appeared in the “Final List of Candidates for State Elections: Governorship and State Assembly” published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its website ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In a statement by the Movement for Greater Nigeria and Good Governance (MGNGG), a coalition of anti-graft organisations, signed yesterday by its advocacy director Tokunbo Lasisi and communications lead Batool Sahib, said the commission was clearly abetting the breach of the law because of ethnicity and favoritism.
The CSOs called for the sanctioning of the hajj commission management for “sanctioning and abetting the apparent flouting of the Public Service Rules and Presidential directives over Mr Tawfiq Tayo Akinwale, who contested the March 2023 governorship elections in Oyo State under the Labour Party (LP).”
The coalition urged the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF), the Office of the Head Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), and the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, to as a matter of urgency, reprimand, sanction and discipline the leadership of NAHCON over this glaring onslaught on the rule of law and public service rules.
“Mr Akinwale’s action, and as a matter of fact, the indecision and lackluster attitude towards discipline him, is a direct assault on rule of law and public service rules,” the CSOs said.
The Public Service Rules provide that all civil servants must resign their appointments 30 days to the general Election Day.
Rule 030423 of the Public Service Rules requires that “Resignation is necessary before seeking elective public office. However, any officer wishing to engage in partisan political activities or seek elective public office shall resign his/her appointment forthwith,” he said.
It was revealed that Mr Akinwale didn’t resign his appointment from NAHCON before he contested and lost the election. And NAHCON didn’t make any effort to reprimand him or sanction him during and after the elections as required by the relevant laws.
However, the spokesperson of the hajj commission, Mousa Ubandawaki, told journalists that NAHCON was not aware of the concerned staff petition against Akinwale.
Ubandawaki said, “We are not aware of the petition and he (Akinwale) is in the best position to answer your question.”