The simmering crisis brewing in Audit House over seniority in the appointment of substantive Auditor General for the Federation (OAuGF) has threatened to uproot the harmonious working relationship existing in the Federal Government’s Office.
Many workers in the OAuGF who spoke with the Sunday Tribune on condition of anonymity said, if the Head of Service of the Federation (HCSF) fails to restore the seniority ranking in line with the Public Service Rule (PSR 020106), the disrespect, which has crept into the Service will continue unabated, thereby dampening the morale of workers, which is almost at the lowest ebbs presently.
The Federal Government’s recruitment process to select a substantive Auditor General for the Federation following the retirement of the occupant of office seems to have been stalled for inexplicable reasons.
It is on record that the matter was reported to the House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee, which held a public hearing on it, and the Senate Public Accounts Committee directed a halt to the recruitment process.
The seniority challenge among Directors in the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation came to the fore in 2021 when the Director (Human Resource Management) on behalf of the Director of Audit Overseeing the Office wrote to the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation requesting for intervention to resolve the security challenges that it encountered.
In a memo referenced: OAuGF/C/QP: 1285/VOL11/’T’/4, dated 1st February 2021, the complainant listed five Directors, all on grade level 17 and requested the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to intervene on the matter.
In a swift response, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation in a memo referenced: HCSF/PSO/152/11/150 dated 9th February 2021 and signed by Babura T. Inuwa, Director, Employee Mobility (CMO) and addressed to the Director of Audit Overseeing the Office stated the seniority order of the affected Directors in the OAuGF.
The reply reads in part: “I am directed to refer your letter Ref, No: OAuGF/C/QP: 1285/VOL11/’T’/4 dated 1st February 2021 on the above subject and to convey the seniority list of the Directors in your office as guided by Public Service Rule (PSR. 020106) which stated inter-alia that ‘Seniority in any department shall be determined by the entry/the resumption of duty certified by an authorised officer as reflected in the appropriate register’ as shown below: (i) Mr. Isikuku Julius Michael (ii) Mrs. Ogundowo Adeoti Oluseyi (iii) Mrs. Ugwu Ngozi Eucharia (iv) Mr. Onwudili Ogochukwu (v) Mr. Gbayan Shirwu Gabriel.
“I am to add that, with the above clarification this matter would be laid to rest and allow for a good and harmonious working relationship devoid of rancour among the Directors and other staff of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation”.
Another letter was written by the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to the OAuGF on 18th July 2022 on the same matter.