Dr Magdalene Ajani
There is palpable tension at the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), as workers rejected the posting of a new Permanent Secretary to the FCTA, Dr. Magdalene Ajani.
BUSINESSINSIDERNG reports that President Bola Tinubu, on Friday, approved the redeployment and assignment of portfolios to 24 permanent secretaries, including Dr. Ajani, from the Transportation Ministry, to replace the incumbent Permanent Secretary at the FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola, who is due to retire from service on January 29, 2024.
But, many staff of the FCTA had expected that Adesola would be the last permanent secretary to be posted to the FCTA, considering President Tinubu’s approval for the establishment of an independent Civil Service Commission (CSC) for the FCT, to allow career progression for civil servants in the FCT Administration, but their expectation was dashed with the report of Dr. Ajani’s posting to the FCTA.
The FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, in October, 2023 had said that the law for the creation of the civil service commission had been signed since 2018 but was not implemented for unknown reasons.
Wike, while explaining that he was not aware of the existence of the law until recently, said, “So, I wrote a memo to Mr President. I say, you have a Renewed Hope agenda; civil servants in FCT are suffering; they have lost hope.
“They are not committed to work. Why should I be working because at the end of the day, I can not get to the apex of my career? As such, we must implement that 2018 law as passed by the National Assembly. If there are challenges, of course, there is no law that is perfect.”
Although, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation is yet to issue any statement regarding the posting of a new permanent secretary to the FCTA, but the umbrella body of staff unions in the FCTA, the Joint Union Action Committee (JUAC) was, however, threatening mass protest to register its displeasure if there was any such posting.
President of the union, Comrade Matilukuro Korede, in a circular addressed to all staff of the Administration and those of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), sighted by our correspondent, described the new posting as an anomaly that should not be allowed to stand.
The circular reads, “Sequel to the emergency meeting, held on Friday January 12, 2024, at the JUAC Secretariat, FCTA, where the Joint Union Action Committee (JUAC) has concluded to hold a Press Conference, against the anomalies, as far as the permanent secretary issue is concerned in the FCTA, (i.e the supposed replacement of Adesola, the last PS from the Head of Service to the FCTA, (who is due and scheduled to retired on the 29th January, 2024).
“To this end, I wish to mobilize all staff of the FCTA/FCDA/SDAs to join the umbrella body of the unions at JUAC Secretariat, FCTA on Monday, January 15, 2024 to speak with one voice against the miss match and the anomalies called New Perm Sec.
“All staff are here by invited to the JUAC Press Conference, this coming Monday to state the position of the union. It is no longer business as usual.”
However, despite the intervention of the FCT minister with a promise to meet with President Tinubu on the matter, the workers suspended the press conference and staged a protest on Monday, calling for the full implementation of the FCT Civil Service Commission (CSC) Law, 2018, which provides for the appointment of Permanent Secretary from within the FCTA.
JUAC President, Mr Matilukuro Korede, who spoke on behalf of the protesting workers, challenged the deployment of a new Permanent Secretary, which he described as an aberration to the FCT CSC Law.
Korede recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in October 2023, approved the implementation of the law establishing a CSC for FCT.
The president said that by this development, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, do not have power to appoint a Permanent Secretary for the FCTA.
JUAC president, therefore, described the action of the Head of Service as faulty, and called for the full implementation of the FCT CSC Law.
“On Thursday, we heard that the head of service has announced that she has gotten approval from President Tinubu to deploy another Permanent Secretary to FCT.
“We felt aggrieved because it is an aberration. As we speak now, the FCT CSC Law has been gazetted since 2018,” he said.
He said that since 2004, the staff of FCTA had been deprived of becoming permanent secretaries, adding that the law to make it possible was signed in 2018, but implementation became a problem.
He said that Wike took the issue and within a month, secured President Tinubu’s approval for the implementation of the law.
“But to our surprise, the Head of Service decided to include a name for appointment as permanent secretary for the FCT. As far as FCT is concerned, the permanent secretary should be appointed among the qualified directors in the FCTA and not from outside.
“This will provide an opportunity for the staff of FCTA to get to the peak of their career by becoming a permanent secretary.
“Our demand, therefore, is that the appointment of a permanent secretary outside the FCTA is an aberration and an anomaly that should be corrected. We are waiting for the implementation of the FCT Civil Service Commission,” he said.
He added that if the Head of Service insisted on appointing a permanent secretary from outside the FCTA, then she has to wait for the law to be amended and be given the power to do so.