Nigeria: Rejected in 2016 for Hazy Academic Records, Buhari Re-Nominates Man for NCC Job

A man nominated last week by President Muhammadu Buhari as commissioner in the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) was once rejected for the same position by the Senate over shady academic records, PREMIUM TIMES can report.

Aliyu Abubakar was named among five nominees sent by President Buhari as announced by Senate President Ahmad Lawan on the Senate's floor penultimate Tuesday.

This was the second time the Bauchi-born Mr Abubakar is tapped for the plum job. He is proposed to represent the North-east on the NCC board.

Mr Abubakar was first nominated in 2016 for the position but was rejected by lawmakers in November of that year.

He was rejected along with a former speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Yisa Ezekiel, whose qualification as a nurse posed a hitch for him to satisfy the criteria.

The lawmakers hinged their decision on Mr Abubakar's lack of adequate training and experience, as stipulated by the law. They also questioned the genuineness of the available documents he presented for screening.

Mr Abubakar's paraded qualification of diploma in computer falls short of the requirement of the NCC Act for commissioners of the telecom regulator.

The Act stipulates that appointees for that role must have qualification and experience in stated relevant fields.

The listed expertise areas are finance or accounting; law; consumer affairs; telecommunications engineering; information technology; engineering generally; economics; and public administration.

"So there is no way someone who does not possess the basic skills or expertise to key into our vision for a sustainable communications industry could have been cleared to serve on the board.

"For instance, one was a career nurse and the other was a holder of a one-year diploma in computer as highest qualification. The question is: what inputs would they be making towards consolidating on the on-going improvements in the agency," a Senate report noted at the time.

In raising doubts over the credibility of his claimed qualification and experience, the lawmakers said Mr Aliyu was "a candidate who is not prepared for the demands of the office such as required" of the NCC job

A Senate committee headed by Gilbert Nnaji said Mr Abubakar could not produce credible educational certificates for the committee to verify at the screening.

"He obviously lacks the professional and educational disciplines provided in section 7(1) (a-h) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 which stipulates the qualification of the Commission's Board", Mr Nnaji said then.

The committee queried the Police Extract and Court Affidavit Mr Abubakar submitted for the loss of his School Certificates, dated September 21, 2016.

The committee expressed suspicion of Mr Abubakar's claim that the documents got lost on September 19, 2016, well after he had been nominated for the position.

Mr Nnaji said the nominee only collected his diploma in computer studies, completed at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in 2000, in September 2016.

"For his Diploma in Computer Studies completed at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in 2000, Mr Aliyu Abubakar ultimately collected the result in September 2016 because, according to him, he did not see any reason for its collection as he never intended to do any government job with it", Mr Nnaji said.

Controversial figure

Memorable narrative from Mr Abubakar's Senate hearing at the time was his heated encounter with the lawmakers over his strong censure of the Senate in the past.

The nominee, who was confronted with evidence of his criticism of the legislative arm of the government, including leading protests at the gates of the National Assembly, owned up to the position and proceeded to defend his stance.

He flayed the Senate as extravagant and called for its scrapping.

Mr Abubakar said "the senate is an avenue for wastage of scarce economic resources of the country" and should be abolished to save the country's finances."

It is unclear what action the current Senate will take on the nominee.

Inquiries put to Garba Shehu, a spokesperson of the president, on why Mr Buhari renominated Mr Abubakar despite the Senate's damning report, was not answered.

A text message sent by this reporter on Mr Shehu's request is yet to be replied.

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