The Senate, on Wednesday, confirmed the appointment of Anthony Ayine as Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF).
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on December 13, 2016, sought Senate’s confirmation for Ayine as the next AGF.
Ayine’s confirmation followed the presentation of the report of Senate Committee on Public Accounts, headed by its Chairman, Senator Andy Uba.
Presenting the report of the committee, Uba said, though there were petitions against Ayine, his competence was not disputed.
He, therefore, recommended that the nominee be confirmed
But Senator Binta Garba, made efforts to stop Ayine’s confirmation, disclosing details of a petition. Garba claimed that Ayine is a cousin of the current Head of Service and had been ‘local government auditor’.
She said: “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.”
In a swift reaction to defend the nominee, Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio countered the Adamawa lawmaker, pointing the petition on which she based her claims was misleading.
Akpabio said Ayine was a “state’s auditor-general for all local government areas, not just one local government.”
He added that by virtue of Ayine’s position, he was on a level similar to a permanent secretary; therefore, met the GL 17 requirement. Akpabio’s submission was backed by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan and George Sekibo.
They argued that 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, asked if there was any senator opposed to the confirmation of Ayine.
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.
Ukura had been in the service of Benue State, his home state, before he was appointed by late Umaru Yar’Adua.
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