The embattled acting Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, Azuka Azinge, Wednesday last week, held a press conference in Abuja to apparently douse the tension created by the DAILY NIGERIAN investigation over her alleged irregularities in the commission.
DAILY NIGERIAN obtained the transcript of the press conference which was characterized by self-styled praises of her achievement as an acting Registrar-General of the commission.
However, DAILY NIGERIAN observed that while Mrs Azinge was busy dolling out information on her achievements, which she described as impeccable, she was found to be either glossing over cardinal issues or being economical with the truth.
READ ALSO: INVESTIGATION: How CAC’s Lady Azinge disobeyed SGF’s directive, ‘bribed’ her way to become acting Registrar-General
First off, Lady Azinge glossed over one of the major allegations against her, which was the alleged suppression of correspondence between the Ministry of Trade and Investment and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, OSGF, barring her from enjoying all the fringe benefits accruable to the substantive Registrar-General.
During the briefing, Mrs Azinge did not bring up the issue of the letter from the OSGF, which declared that as a Director in the commission, she was not entitled to payment of salaries, allowances and other fringe benefits due to a substantive Registrar-General.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the SGF’s letter, which came through the ministry of Trade and Investment, stated that Mrs Azinge, “was appointed to oversee the affairs of the Commission as the most senior Director, pending the appointment of a substantive Registrar-General.”
Mrs Azinge, however, insisted that the trade and investment ministry’s letter approving her appointment as an acting Registrar-General of the commission, dated September 28, 2017, invalidates that of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation which came after her appointment.
Insiders wondered whether a letter from the SGF did not supersede that of the ministry,
“This is a sheer act of insubordination, it is a dismissible offence going by the Public Service rules,” said a director at the Ministry of Justice, Abuja. “it is like putting the cart before the horse.”
On the alleged imposition of stooge as the Director of Public Affairs Department, as protested by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Mrs Azinge said Moses Adaguusu was appointed based on seniority and merit, insisting that “there is no statutory position in the Criminal Code, Penal Code or NIPR Act itself which criminalises such succession based on Seniority”.
However, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that the acting RG was being economical with the truth as checks revealed that when the position of the Public Affairs Director became vacant, a vacancy was advertised and examination was held to select the appropriate candidate for the job and one Justine Nidiya emerged the best.
But in a dramatic twist, the qualified candidate was redeployed to a newly-created department to pave way for Mr Adagusuu’s emergence.
“It should be noted that the vacancy was identified as only one for a Director for the year yet everybody was allowed to write.
“Justine passed the exam yet the Board, working on Godfrey Ike’s petition which hinges on professionalism, decided that only professional should head the department.
“Hence, Justine was moved out. Why then would she bring a non-professional to head the place?,” A source rhetorically asked.
Another source familiar with the development said: “Adagusuu never wrote any promotional examination to become Public Affairs Director.
“In fact, his core-competence is Law and he has been on that cadre until he took over the affairs of the public affairs department by whiskers.
“The truth of the matter is that no seniority or competence was used in selecting Moses Adaguusu, because if these criteria were followed why did the commission call for examination to fill in the existing vacancy in the department?,” the source queried.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the contract appointment of Tony Udegbe, the acting Registrar-General admitted that Mr Udegbe’s appointment was not premised on his indispensability, as claimed by this newspaper.
However, Mrs Azinge only said that Mr Udegbe was contracted, “to ensure that high standard and effectiveness of the Board Secretariat was preserved”.
Insiders wondered how a Diploma holder who stagnated as a Senior Manager for years until his retirement be of usefulness to a commission full of ambitious members of staff. They also wondered whether Mr Udegbe more knowledgeable than others.
Justifying her action further, Mrs Azinge said: “The allegation that two other members of Staff (Jamilu Nadabo and Aminu Abubakar) asked for similar treatment but were denied is false.
“The two mentioned staff never asked for contract appointment prior to their retirement. One only lobbied for special consideration for promotion which was not sustained.”
But a copy of an internal memo sighted by DAILY NIGERIAN shows the directorate of Human Resources replying Jamilu Naladan, who applied for a contract appointment on May 6, 2019, following his retirement.
In the memo, dated May 27, 2019, the commission refused to engage Mr Naladan, premising their refusal on Public Service Rules, section 4 [020402b(d)] which states that, “contract appointment may be offered to a candidate if he/she possesses specialised competencies or skills and provided such posts are duly advertised in at least three national newspapers.”
This newspaper gathered that Mr Udegbe’s position was not advertised in three national dailies as in Mr Naladan’s case.
“Oga Tony was employed in 1991 and if somebody could be on a single schedule since 1991 where then is the concept of functional flexibility and how can CAC be a world class companies registry as espoused in its vision without an effective succession planning?
“Worse still, he was contracted while he was still serving and started the contract a day after retirement,” an insider disclosed.