Controversy trails reinstatement of former Federal Character boss

The former Acting chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Mr Muhammadu  Gwaska has alleged plots by the presidency to fire him for wanting to defend the dictates of the constitution.

Mr Gwaska made this revelation when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Character over the controversy of the commission’s leadership. Also present at the hearing was the new chairman, Professor Abdul-Rahama Oba.

President Jonathan had written a letter to the Senate in November, requesting for approval to remove Mr Gwaska for gross misconduct in office.

But the Senate seeking more evidence before approving the dismissal of Gwaska mandated the Committee on Federal Character to investigate the allegations levelled against him.

The controversy in the commission began when the incumbent chairman, Professor Shuaibu Abdul-Rahaman Oba resigned from the commission to contest the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) primaries for the Kwara state, ahead of the April 2011, governorship election.

Following the departure of Prof Oba, Mr Gwaska was made the Acting Chairman.

Failing to get the party’s nomination, Prof Oba returned to the Federal Character Commission and was reinstated as the commission’s chairman to the dismay of the Acting chairman Mr Gwaska.

Gwaska is alleged to have refused to hand over documents and official vehicles of the commission, prompting the presidency to seek the approval of the Senate for his removal.

However appearing before the Senate committee investigating the matter, Mr Gwaska denied the allegations, saying all the documents and vehicles have been taken from him since December 2011.

Professor Oba explained after reviewing the attendance register, it was found that that Mr Gwaska had absented himself from work for over a month without any reason.

On why he has being absent from work, Mr Gwaska stated that he stayed away from work to avoid any crises because he moved into the office as soon as he came back and pushed everything away.

When lawmakers sought to find out the legality behind resigning an appointment and coming back to the same commission, Prof Oba explained that months before the April 2011, elections, he had approached the president to tender the document he signed to fulfill the PDP’s zoning arrangement in Kwara state.

Therefore, for the sake of enhancing the party’s unity, Prof Oba sought to return to the office which he had resigned from.

The committee on federal character is expected to present its findings to the Senate in one week