By Jonathan Ugbal
Following protests by the staff union in the office of the Auditor General of the Federation against the acting head, Anthony Ayine nominated in December by President Muhammadu Buhari, Cross Riverians have condemned the action with some citing sinister motives as the driver of the agitations.
The Senior Special Adviser on Public affairs to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, Chief Tony Undiaundeye told CrossRiverWatch in on telephone that the protests were engineered by people in the office who felt they should have been appointed.
“It is basically motivated. He is a very intelligent gentleman, very honest. He has done his work very well in the state here and he is a professional. They don’t know him, those who thought that they should have gotten the job, the insiders within the auditor general office that are sponsoring those reactions.
“The reaction is uncalled for, the President has nominated him and the process for his confirmation is ongoing so they don’t have any right to protest against him. What do they know about him? the workers in that office” Tony said.
Also, Tony who describe Ayine as an “Eminently qualified professional with longstanding experience in auditing spanning over 30 years and has been the auditor general for the local government system in Cross River State for over 10 to 15 years”, pointed out that; “His papers were sufficient and he was nominated ahead of many other people who were competing with him and so the internal machinery, the gimmicks in the system has always played itself this way. Cross Riverians are supportive of Ayine and Nigerians are supportive of him and the President has seen that he is an honest character that is why he nominated him.”
In a similar vein, Rose Ugbe, a Senior Nurse and Midwife said that President Buhari was right in his appointment of Mr. Ayine as anyone could be nominated to head any Government parastatal as it was not the same as it is done in the Civil Service.
“Why should they protest? It is an appointment, if it were the Civil Service then it will be by progression and hierarchical. If their excuse is that he does not have the ‘Abuja’ experience as them, then they are more wrong because if he has experience from similar places then he is good to go just like Emefiele (CBN Governor).
“It is an appointment so anyone can be moved from one place to be in that position. Take a look at INEC, the person was not a staff of INEC. A commissioner, minister or any other appointee can be moved from anywhere to be in that position so they should not protest” Rose said.
A lecturer in the University of Calabar, Joseph Odok in a Facebook post titled “Re: Workers Protest Against Newly Appointed Auditor General of the Federation Mr. Anthony Ayine: A Mere Media Propaganda” argued that Ayine’s appointment followed due process as he met all the criteria required.
“The qualification criteria for eligibility for the office of the Auditor General include; A 15 year post professional experience as a Chartered Accountant” Odok said.
He continued; “Mr. Ayine has 18 years’ post professional experience with service across the State, Local Government, and Financial Institutions and with his new appointment, he will probably be the first Auditor General of the Federation that will complete the circle of serving at the Local Government, State and now the Federal level.”
Furthermore, he accused one Mr. Adeleye Ajao Ismail of sponsoring the said protests and warned that any attempt to tarnish the image of Mr. Ayine who hails from Wula in Boki local government area will be met with stiff opposition.
A national daily had reported in December that the workers union in the office of the Auditor General of the federation led by one Mr. Aina Abiodun had said the rejection of the nominee was based on the grounds that the office of the Auditor General of the Federation was a constitutional office based on career progression.