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Lawyers query Buhari on AMCON board jobs



President Muhammadu Buhari (right); Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and President, Nigerian Bar Association, Augustine Alegeh at the 55th yearly general meeting of the body in Abuja… yesterday.

How politics, others influence frequent changes at NNPC 

RECENT appointments into the boards of some Federal Government agencies, including those of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by President Muhammadu Buhari have come under scathing criticisms by some eminent lawyers.

Majority of those who spoke to The Guardian on the issue, described Buhari’s actions as ‘illegal and worrisome.’ Meanwhile, lack of stable organizational goals, unstable tenures and political interference have been identified as factors that have contributed to the appointment of 17 Group Managing Directors (GMDs) for the NNPC within its 38 years of existence.

Lagos based human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, said the President appears not to be ready to benefit from legal advice, following those appointments.

He said: “I have been very disturbed with some recent appointments made by the Buhari, especially in relation to the chairperson of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the board of the NNPC and indeed that of AMCON.

It has become very worrisome that, the President would seem not to be eager to benefit from legal advice and guidance from genuine legal minds, given his own orientation as a former military man. “On August 19, 2015, the President purported to appoint some persons into the board of AMCON, in clear violation of the relevant statute, setting up the agency.

Specifically, section 10(1) (C) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act 2010 provides thus: ‘The board shall consist of the following members to be appointed by the President subject to confirmation of the Senate: three executive directors who shall be nominated by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) in consultation with the Minister.”

He disclosed that because of the violation of the AMCON Act by the President, he would file a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos challenging the appointments.

He will be praying the court for a declaration that the President cannot appoint anyone as Executive Director of AMCON without complying with Section 10(1)C of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act 2010.

According to him, there has been continued violation of Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution which stipulates that: “there shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation as may be established by the President.”

He noted that also in section 148, it is stated that the President shall have constant and regular meetings with ministers which is yet to begin due to the fact that the cabinet is not in place. “This is a serious cause for concern, such that almost three months into his tenure, the President has preferred to be a lone ranger, without any minister appointed.’’

Adegboruwa expressed worry that Nigeria has no minister in charge of Finance, “save that the President has sought to usurp the functions of all the persons in charge of the so-called juicy portfolios, contrary to the Constitution.”

He maintained that the office of a Minister is guaranteed by the Constitution and the President cannot on his own decide to govern Nigeria as a dictator, without scant regard for the supreme law of the land, which is the Constitution. “I am currently studying the NNPC Act, to determine the validity of the recent appointments made thereunder, whether there is substantial compliance with the law.

This is to give notice therefore, that I shall, by the grace of God, contest in court, resist through civil campaigns and challenge, through due process, every attempt by those in authority, to govern us in any and manner that is contrary to law,” he declared.

Another human rights activist, Festus Keyamo stated that Section 10 of the AMCON Act, 2010 mandates its appointments to Senate confirmation.

According to him, the section provides for the composition and tenure of the Board of AMCON. “The section provides under subsection (1)(b) that “the board shall consist of the following members to be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation of the Senate, (b) a Managing Director who shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation nominated by the CBN. “This provision subjects the President’s appointment of the MD of AMCON to Senate’s approval,” he stated.

He also said that Section 3 of the NNPC Act, Cap N123, LFN 2004 provides for the appointment of a Managing Director of NNPC. But a senior advocate of Nigeria, Dr Abiodun Layonu, said though the errors have been committed, the President would definitely subject the appointees to Senate confirmation.

He explained that sometimes, the urgency of filling vacancies would warrant appointments before confirmation. According to him, the most important thing is that those appointments cannot be nullified because they are in acting capacity until they are confirmed by the Senate.

He said the blame for the error should go to the President’s aides. Sharing similar view with Layonu, another lawyer, Chijioke Ndubuisi, said the tenure of the managing director of AMCON has expired, therefore necessitating the appointment of a new one.

He said that the President can still send names to the Senate for confirmation after the appointments have been made. He added that all the appointments are in acting capacity, including that of the INEC.

Frequent changes at NNPC The list of the appointees indicates that almost each successive administration appoints a group that will drive its interests and does not hesitate to discard any of the NNPC management that fails to fulfil this seeming clandestine desire.

Historically, 11 different governments have produced 17 GMDs in 38 years from 1977 to 2015. The roll call include: Festus Marinho (July 1977 – April 1980), Odiligi Lolomari (Apr. 1980 – Aug. 1981), Lawrence Amu (Oct 1981 – Nov. 1985), Mr. Aret Adams (Nov. 1985 – Apr. 1990), Dr. Thomas John (Apr. 1990 – Jun 1990), Edmund Daukoru (Jun. 1992 – Oct. 1993), Chamberlin Oyibo (Nov. 1993 – Aug 1995), Dalhatu Bayero (Aug. 1995 – May 1999), Dr. Jackson Gaius Obaseki (May 1999 – Nov. 2003), Others include: Dr Funsho Kupolokun (Nov. 2003 – Sept. 2007), Abubakar Yar’Adua (Sept. 2007 – Jan 2009), Mohammed Sanusi Bakindo (Jan. 2009 – 2010), Shehu Ladan (Apr. 2010 – May 2010), Austen Oniwon (2010 – 2012), Andrew Yakubu (2012 – 2014), Joseph Dawha (August 2014 – August 2015) and Dr Emmanuel Kachikwu who is presently heading the Corporation.

With an average of a new GMD in every two years and two months within 38 years, 26 months is certainly not enough a period to deliver the implementation of coherent policy direction and fossilisation of organisational goals.

Hence, there has never been enough time for most of the GMDs to crystallise their ideas before they are removed .

The processes start all over again and perhaps a new set of ideas begin altogether which often left the employees in a permanent state of instability.

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  • Pastor Chris Allu

    Six months down the line.No economic blue print.No shadow cabinet.It is one man show.The leopard cannot change its colour.DICTATORSHIP IS BACK.Shame on the Nigerian electorates

    • Eniola Bibilari

      6 months? how did you arrive at that?

      • AA

        Five months from the time he won the election.

      • Fada4Life

        That boy is a stack illiterate

    • Azubon

      Shame on you and you will continue in shame. The reference to the constitution as cited says, ” there shall be such offices of Ministers of the Government of the Federation AS MAY BE established by the President.” The clause says “AS MAY BE” and it did not stipulate any time frame. You are as stupid as those layers.

      • jones

        Don’t mind the hypocrite, bird of the same feather flock together. The lawyer must have been reacting to the fact that free fund period is over. i strongly advise him and his learned fellow to look for a much better case. AMCON has really crippled the manufacturing sector in the country yet we cry for unemployment. they are busy diverting all the assets to private individuals. see below link as a case study.
        really, its a food for thought for the new govt. and the new management of AMCON. pls create more jobs for the unemployed graduates.

        • akin

          Jones …better look for you can create job for yourself. If you are waiting for one government of Buhari….pity. Hard times are here. The same people we talk about are still in government. Obasanjo running around for Buhari, Atiku pulling the strings behind the curtail…Saraki is heading the Senate. Dont get carried away by the window dressing appointments here and there.No CHANGE here folks. I have been wondering if Buhari and his co.travellers are not taking us for fools. When was the election won? when was he sworn in? Is Nigeria at war or emergency that we cannot have a functional cabinet? Am beginning to believe something is going on that we the masses do not know. Why is Buhari carrying on as if he won as an independent candidate? The same civil servant that have been the real looters of the economy are the running the government with Buhari core handlers. I believe they are on a grand plan to compromise the office of the ministers before they are appointed . Something not too good is surely going on ……am afraid for my country…The change we cry and vote for is been compromised as we wait,

    • This pastor is a supporter of the devil the one called satan. I am sorry for your congregation. You say six months has passed. See how dumb you are. can not even count but you have the audasity to comment on a skating situation to divert attention to the national rebuilding of Nigeria. All of you will continue to disgrace yourselves but we are matching towards the intended goal to liberate Nigeria from you and your followers..Buhari is doing the right thing, you are just afraid that somewhere down thwe road it will be your turn to stand before all Nigerians to defend your corrupt self.

    • Isah Abdulsalam

      Please Mr. Chris Allu, stop using the tittle “PASTOR” I doubt if you really are a pastor. If you are, I expect you to think b/4 writing and posting such comment. Shame on you fake and manner-less so-called pastor. Real clergy men don’t talk the way you did.

  • Osanebi Osakuni

    All complains against Buhari is centred on two reasons; illiteracy and nepotism. We will Continue to cope with this as the expatiation for change continues

    • wonders loveday

      You don’t use wrong methods to correct any wrong carried out

  • bilanto

    Go and look for a case to handle and leave PMB to continue with his good work .WE don’t need people like you to come and derail our moving train. find something to do. how many government offices have been shut down because there is no minister? Enough of these pillage and wastage

  • Ikorodua

    Nigerians voted massively for PMB to CHANGE how things were done in the country. These charge and bail lawyers are shouting off their heads as PMB is CHANGING the rotten status quo. What did these lawyers do to bring about any form of sanity in the country. GO BRING COME WE CHOP.
    ‘LAWYERS’— LAW ya ya ya.

    • Fuzio

      Disregard to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution is not part of the mandate the Nigerian people gave to Buhari. The people could not have given him such a mandate because the people have no such power. They can change the constitution through the normal channels, but they can not empower anyone to govern in spite of it. Illegality breeds illegality not matter the intentions. Follow the law. The means justifies the end not the other way round.

  • agbobu


  • Imea

    First of all Nigerians did not vote ‘massively’ for Buhari. Secondly because somebody won the election does not mean that he or she is always right in whatever he or she does, especially when he is a lone Ranger like Buhari doing what he likes in the name of Change. This is how third world countries end up with dictators.

  • max

    If the GMDs are not performing, do you want them to be retained and just be looting the nation dry? where were these pocket lawyers when all these looting were going on ? The previous regimes did not appoint their ministers immediately they were sworn in. Their fear is that there is no more illegal business for them to defend the looters.

  • agu

    This man is still acting and talking like a dictator, lawyers have the right to defend anybody inspite of any crime whatsoever.
    Pls pmb stop intimidating people, respect democracy