LOBBY TO OUST CUSTOMS BOSS BEGINS

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• Ex-president, APC chief sponsor different candidates for post
The race to succeed the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Abdulahi Dikko Inde, has begun amid uncertainty over his tenure. Although it is unclear if President Muhammadu Buhari would remove him just as he is expected to oust other heads of arms of the military and paramilitary agencies, New Telegraph gathered at the weekend that some influential people have lined out their preferred candidates they would want the president to pick as Inde’s successor.
It was learnt that a former president and an influential member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were pressuring the president to unseat Dikko, whose tenure was renewed in 2013. The duo, a source confided in New Telegraph, is pushing forward different candidates as a replacement for Inde.
The source said the APC chieftain and the former president became interested in the succession race after learning that Buhari might have agreed to allow the South West to fill the CG’s slot, whenever it became vacant. Dikko, from Katsina State, was first appointed as Comptroller General of one of the nation’s income spinners in August 2009 by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. But Buhari, who is said to be undecided about Dikko as a result of pressures from his kinsmen to retain him, is set to carry out a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s security and paramilitary services.
The Presidency has, however, described the report as speculative. ‘Speculation needs no reply’, Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina replied in a text message to our correspondent on the issue. The source said while the former president was rooting for Dr David Olusegun Agbaje, the APC bigwig was pushing for Mr. Ade Dosunmu, a Lagos prince, as a likely successor to Dikko. Both Agbaje and Dosunmu, aside from being from South West, are Assistant Comptrollers-General of Customs manning various strategic divisions in the agency.
“When people talk of the president being too slow, they do not seem to understand that care has to be taken when appointments are to be made. “For instance, some people from my zone came to me to insist that certain positions in some government agencies should be conceded to us, but you see, the intricacies of governance are such that the more you are hopeful, the less likely you are going to get the position due to certain factors. “In the case in point, that is the Customs issue, our people need to know the details of the politics there.
Yes we are good to go, but not good to have it for some reasons. “It is true we came to power as a party, but there are certain powerful forces in the country that contributed immensely to the change of government that we now have. Can you ignore such people in any way? Certainly not.
“That is why, rather than just saying the next in rank should be this and that, it is just impossible because there are deep rooted issues when we talk of things like that,” the source said. According to him, the next CG may come from the South-West as it appears the president has already made some commitments in that regard.
“The thing is like a fait accompli; the South-West might take it and the two big men (former president and APC bigwig) are already on each other’s throat for it; they want their choices which is understandable in lobbying”, he stated. But he expressed fears that Inde’s successor might not spend up to three years.
“I suspect that whoever comes in eventually might just spend less than three years and the thing returns to the North,’ he said. If the lobby sails through, the six Deputy Comptrollers-General of the service would be eased out. They are Ibrahim Mera from Kebbi State (North-West), Gabriel Aliu from Kogi (North-Central) and Tahir Musa from Yobe (North-East).
Others are Chukwuma Nwosu from Enugu State (South-East), Ade Adewuyi from Oyo (South- West) as well as John Atte, from Bayelsa (South-South). Also likely to be affected are rank mates of both Agbaje and Dosunmu in case either of them is considered by the president.
Those in this category are Dan Ugo from Benue, Patience Iferi from Cross River, Austin Warikoru from Bayelsa, Robert Alu from Nasarawa State; Paul Ukaigwe, Imo; Ahmed Mohammed, Jigawa; Adesina Odunmbaku, Lagos State; Bello Liman from Sokoto State, Monday Abueh from Rivers state and Ifeoma Okoli, Anambra.
Agbaje, who holds a PhD in English Studies, had served in various capacities in the Customs before he was promoted to the position of an Assistant Comptroller-General in January 2010. Agbaje will be due for retirement on October 13, 2017 when he would have attained the mandatory 35 years in service.
On his part, Dosunmu, considered within the service as equally brilliant, is lower in years of service than Agbaje. He is younger and has more years to serve in the Customs, having just been promoted to the rank of ACG in 2013. He has a minimum of five years to go in service.
-New Telegraph

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