A Civil Society Organisation, Civil Society Groups for Good Governance, Thursday, noted the need for merit and transparency in the appointment of the new Accountant-General of the Federation.
While addressing journalists in Abuja, the President of the group, Ogakwu Dominic, noted that the country needed someone with experience and qualifications who would be able to rescue the finances of the country and put the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation in order, following what he described as reports of fraudulent activities said to be going on within the office.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Federal Government had suspended the former AGF, Ahmed Idris, over an alleged N109 billion fraud.
The substantive AGF, Chukwunyere Anaekwe, who was chosen to replace Idris was also suspended.
However while commenting on the development, Dominic said, “As a Civil Society Organisation, our position is that the rigorous screening process must be merit-based, focusing on credentials, past and present work experience, competence, capacity and character viz-a-viz the principles of Accountability, Integrity and Transparency.
“The crux of the matter is that we want the screening process to de-emphasise the obsolete use of examination as the major determinant for recruiting the Accountant-General of the Federation, 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 are premised on a trending allegation that the former Accountant-General of the Federation, who is currently standing trial for corruption, embezzlement and looting of the Federation’s treasury to the tune of N109 billion did pay handsomely during his screening examination, thereby procuring the position of the AGF like some commodity at a trade fair which was auctioned to the highest bidder. Is it therefore any wonder that the man spent his days in office frantically recouping his “investments” and repaying his “investors” who facilitated his fraudulent emergence as the AGF through the corrupt screening examination?
“Ladies and Gentlemen, 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 Accountant-General of the Federation 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 Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning – for the smooth implementation of government financial implementation framework 2022 – 2025, vis-a-vis the monetary and fiscal policy of government.
“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 crises and consequently our economy is in tatters with the naira on a freefall against the dollar, leaving Nigerians at a crossroads with increasing inflation in the face of decreasing revenue generation, amidst multiple taxation and dwindling hope!
“Certainly, the work of the next Accountant-General of the Federation 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”.