Buhari appoints Oyo-Ita as head of service
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita as the acting Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF).
She replaced Mr Danladi Kifasi, who proceeded on pre-retirement leave Tuesday.
A statement by spokesperson of the SGF, Bolaji Adebiyi said the president appointed Oyo-Ita due to the confidence and trust he has in her to deliver.
Oyo-Ita’s appointment was aimed to achieve a geo-political balance in the Buhari’s administration.
Kifasi, who hailed from Taraba State (Northeast) was replaced with Oyo-Ita from Cross River (South-south), according to a statement from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Engr. Babachir David Lawal, yesterday.
She was until her appointment the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and hails from Odukpani Local Government, Cross River State.
“The appointment is a testimony of Mr. President’s implicit confidence and trust in her ability to discharge the responsibilities of the office of Head of the Civil Service of the Federation,” the SGF’s statement said.
The new head of service also served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
Born in April 1964, she attended Queens College, Lagos, graduated at the University of Lagos in 1984 with BSc Accounting and holds a Master degree from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi.
She was director, Finance and Accounts at the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
A staff in the head of service office told Daily Trust yesterday that Kifasi was asked by the Presidency last month to proceed on the three months compulsory preretirement leave starting from October 1. Kifasi was due to retire on January 1, 2016 when he would have clocked 60 years.
“But instead of going on his terminal leave, the former Head of Service started intense lobbying to remain in office,” the staff who pleaded anonymity said.
Part of his lobbying, he said, “included visitations of some ministries, parastatals and agencies in Abuja.”
A director in the head of service office said the tradition was for the most senior permanent secretary to act whenever the HOS proceeds on terminal leave. But Daily Trust findings revealed that Oyo-Ita is not the most senior permanent secretary in the federal service.
Another staff said Oyo-Ita’s appointment was occasioned by “political exigencies” and that the president considered factors other than seniority in such appointments.
He said with Lawal from Adamawa (Northeast) as SGF, it is only natural for the head of service to come from the South as was done under Presidents Umaru Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
At the head of service office yesterday afternoon, our correspondent saw notices in which labour leaders under the auspices of Joint Unions Negotiating Council urged workers to come with brooms today to “sweep out” Kifasi’s “misfortune and incompetence.”
But the president, Joint Unions Negotiating Council, Comrade Olaiya Biam said the workers may shelve the “sweeping” event after the intervention of the permanent secretary in the HOS, Mr Babatope Ajakaiye.