NAHCON Act on Tenures of Hajj Commission Chair and Commissioners By Ibrahim Muhammed
“There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out” – Rusian Proverb
Hajj administration in Nigeria witnessed a historic moment on Thursday, 24th May 2007 inside the Olusegun Obasanjo hall in the office of The Head of Civil Service of the Federation. It was the day hajj administration was erected on a pillar of law and defines regulations. That was the day the then Secretary to the government of the federation, Mahmud Yayale Ahmed formally inaugurates members of the boards of the national hajj commission of Nigeria. Hajj operations took an upward swing since that historic day.
Members of the national hajj commission inaugurated on that day are: Alhaji Muhammed Musa Bello, the current Minister of FCT as Chairman/Chief Executive Officer. The Full-time commissioners are: Alhaji Liadi Tella and Dr Badmus O. Yusuf. Part-Time members representing Geo-political zones are Sheikh Adams Idoko representing South East Zone, Alhaja Fatimah Oyekan representing South West Zone, Alhaji Ahmed Efebili representing South-South Zone, Sheikh Musa Isa representing North Central Zone. Alhaji Salisu Ado Shinkafi from North West. Zone and Hajiya Hannatu Sanda Birma amount to North East Zone
Please, permit me to share with you some vital parts of the inaugural speech of the then secretary to the government of the federation vis-a-vis the position of the NAHCON ESTABLISHMENT ACT 2006 as it relates to the office of Chairman and other members of the commission.
In the second paragraph of his inaugural speech he said and I quote “The Constitution of Nigeria, the enabling Act of the Commission as well as Public Service Rules and Financial Regulations are the vital documents that would guide the operations of the Commission.” Here, it is clearly stated that Hajj commissions is a child of legal surgery and must be guided by the enabling law and not individual prejudice. No alternative.
The fourth paragraph of the inaugural speech highlighted the administrative life span of occupants of each office.” The Act of the The commission is very clear about your tenure and responsibilities. You are expected to serve for a period of four (4) years in the first instance, renewable for a second and final term of four years.”
Furthermore, NAHCON ACT 2006 separated the office of Chairman as a distinct office from the three permanent commissioners. Office of Chairman as the chief accounting officer is not the same as the office of Permanent Commissioners as contained in NAHCON establishment 2006.
On the composition of the commission, Section 3 (1) stated that the commission shall consist of (A) The chairman who shall be: i) The Chief Executives and accounting officer of the commission; ii) Responsible for the commission for the day to day management of the commission.
This was followed by section 3 sub-section (b) which stated that “Three full-term members and six part-time members representing two geopolitical zones two who shall be women.
Interpretatively, Section 3 (A) sub-section 1 and 2 stands on its own and it clearly defines the office of chairman while section 3 (B) deals with the appointment of permanent commissioners.
This shows that there is a clear difference between the office of the Chairman of NAHCON and that of the permanent commissioners.
Consequently, whoever occupies the office of Permanent Commissioner for 8 years can be appointed as Chairman for another eight years. That is the position of NAHCON Establishment Act 2006.
Moreover, the current Ag Chairman and the commissioner in charge of operation have served only one term in office as Chairman and Commissioner of Operation respectively.
Their reappointment in acting capacity falls within the scope of NAHCON act as they can still be considered for another term (second-term) of 4 years or be allowed to operate pending when new boards are constituted.
Likewise, the 1999 constitution forbade anyone who has served as Executive Governor of a state for two terms of 4 years (8 years) from contesting for Governor for another term. However, no law in Nigeria prevents someone who has served as a state deputy Governor for 8 years from serving as Executive Governor for 4 or 8 years or is there any?
Moreover, President Muhamadu Buhari administrative policies have been that of consolidation of service delivery through Ministries, departments and agencies. This commendable vision saw the second coming of the Governor of Central Bank Godwin Emefiele. The chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam was also reappointed due to his good record.
The current Ag NAHCON Chairman, Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammed and his team are widely acknowledged as the engine inside the moving transformation vehicle in NAHCON in the last 8 years. They deserve a second term as Chairman of NAHCON to consolidate the gains of their achievements.
Finally, we may wish to note that Section 20(1) of the National Hajj Commission Act 2006 squarely places the supervision of the Commission under the Presidency. So, if for example, the Presidency whose responsibility it is to supervise NAHCON says it is satisfied with the status quo, who am I to say otherwise?
Independent Hajj Reporters