The Nigerian Senate has confirmed the nomination of Anthony Ayine as
the Auditor-General of the Federation.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last year nominated Mr. Ayine to fill
the post currently held by Florence Anyanwu in acting capacity.
The confirmation of Mr. Ayine followed the presentation of the report
on his screening by the chairman of the committee on public accounts,
Andy Uba.
Mr. Uba said though there were petitions against Mr. Ayine’s
nomination, his competence was not disputed.
He, therefore, recommended that the nominee be confirmed.
But Binta Garba, APC-Adamawa, mustered efforts to stop Mr. Ayine’s
confirmation, disclosing details of a petition.
Mrs. Garba claimed Mr. Ayine is cousin of the current Head of Service
and had been ‘local government auditor’.
Given his position as ‘local government auditor’, he would be placed
at Grade Level (GL) 14 after conversion to federal service, whereas
the law specifies GL 17 as requirement for the office of
Auditor-General of the Federation, Mrs. Garba further claimed.
But the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio countered the Adamawa
lawmaker, pointing the petition on which she based her claims was
Mr. Akpabio said Mr. Ayine was a “state’s auditor-general for all
local government areas, not just one local government.”
He added that by virtue of Mr. Ayine’s position, he was on a level
similar to a permanent secretary; therefore, met the GL 17
Mr. Akpabio was backed by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, and George
Sekibo, PDP-Rivers.
They argued that Mr. Ayine had gone through the constitutional
process, including writing and passing required test before he was
nominated by the president.
Consequently, the nomination received unanimous support when Deputy
Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session in
place of Bukola Saraki whose corruption trial at the Code of Conduct
Tribunal resumed on Wednesday, asked if there was any senator opposed
to the confirmation of Mr. Ayine.
Mr. Ayine hails from Cross Rivers State whose service he joined in
1988 as Auditor II.
The last substantive Auditor-General, Samuel Ukura, was also appointed
from outside the federal service.
Mr. Ukura had been in the service of Benue State, his home state,
before he was appointed by late Umaru Yar’Adua.