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Prioritise competence, character in choice of next AGF, Buhari advised

By Matthew Ogune and Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
15 August 2022   |   6:00 am
Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to de-emphasise examination as major determinant for recruiting the next Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF).
Buhari

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari

Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to de-emphasise examination as major determinant for recruiting the next Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF).

The organisation said the call ids against the backdrop of the pivotal and influential functions of the office on the nation’s economy.

President of the group, Ogakwu Dominic, told newsmen in Abuja, at the weekend, that Nigeria needs someone with experience, character and qualifications to rescue its finances and reform the post following what he described as “reports of fraudulent activities said to be going on within the office.”

The Federal Government had suspended the former AGF, Ahmed Idris, over alleged N109 billion fraud. The substantive occupant, Chukwunyere Anaekwe, was also suspended.

Dominic, however, noted that screening of the next AGF must be merit-based, premised on experience, competence, capacity and character while not undermining principles of accountability, integrity and transparency.

He said: “The crux of the matter is that we want the screening to de-emphasise the obsolete use of examination as major determinant for recruiting the (next) AGF, given the pivotal and influential functions of the office on our national economy. After all, it is now visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that examination is not the true test of knowledge – a cursory look at some public stewards in offices today lends credence to this fact.

“Let it be on record that the position of the CSOs is premised on a trending allegation that the former AGF, who is currently standing trial for corruption, embezzlement and looting of the federation’s treasury to the tune of N109 billion, did allegedly pay handsomely during his screening to procure the position.

“Our country today is in a state of complete financial disaster and only a Nigerian with a proven track record in revenue generation, expertise in financial management alongside a vast experience in people management can rescue us from total implosion.

“The next AGF must be someone, who can diplomatically facilitate a healthy synergy with the three arms of government, catalyse a robust and cost-effective inter-agency cooperation in order to lower the cost of governance and must be able to work harmoniously and seamlessly with his or her principal – the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning – for the smooth implementation of government’s financial implementation framework 2022 -2025 vis-a-vis the monetary and fiscal policy of government.”

The CSGGG boss went on: “Furthermore, the preferred candidate must be able to account for all international funds accruable to the country, inclusive of aids, credits, grants and loans from international agencies.

“Finally, it is our considered opinion in the civil society that the office of the AGF is so critical to the rescue mission of Nigeria that, public interest trumps personal interest at this watershed moment, when the nation stands precariously at a precipice of serious security crisis and consequently, our economy is in tatters with the naira on a free fall against the dollar, leaving Nigerians at a crossroads with increasing inflation in the face of decreasing revenue generation, multiple taxation and dwindling hope.

“Certainly, the work of the next AGF is cut out for him or her, as he or she must hit the ground running with strategies to save Nigeria from impending doom. Therefore, the process of selecting that all-important champion must be seen to be transparent.”