Marilyn Amobi may now serve out her tenure as the Managing Director of bulk electricity trader, NBET, following a letter to that effect conveyed to her late Monday by the finance ministry, a few moments after power minister, Saleh Mamman, had announced her removal “with immediate effect”.
The counter actions of the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, and her power ministry counterpart, Mr Mamman, underscored the confusion and power play in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The two ministers separately said Mr Buhari authorised their opposing actions.
In a statement on Monday evening, Mr Mamman said Mr Buhari had approved the removal of Ms Amobi, asking her to proceed on terminal leave and hand over to NBET’s General Counsel and Secretary, Nnaemeka Eweluka, as the new substantive boss of the agency immediately.
That was five days after PREMIUM TIMES exposed Ms Amobi’s continued violation of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officials as she runs a private company, ESL Economics and Management Limited, and operates foreign bank account in the United Kingdom.
Mrs Amobi’s four-year tenure is to end July 24 this year.
Top government officials said our report on Ms Amobi’s abuse of code of conduct, indeed a constitutional breach, angered Mr Buhari who immediately ordered her removal.
However, shortly after Mr Mamman announced the removal, based on Mr Buhari’s approval, it emerged the president had earlier, through his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, given an instruction that Ms Amobi be allowed to serve out her tenure.
The approval to serve out her tenure was given in a June 8 memo, obtained by PREMIUM TIMES late Monday. That memo was then attached to a June 15 letter from the finance ministry to Ms Amobi asking her to serve out her tenure ending in July, thereby countering Mr Mamman’s earlier announcement.
The finance ministry’s letter was signed by the permanent secretary at the finance ministry, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse.
Although the correspondence gave Ms Amobi a temporary reprieve, it, nevertheless, asked the embattled official to hand over to Mr Eweluka at the completion of her tenure in July. But Mr Mamman’s instruction was that the replacement should take place immediately.
Insiders said the clash on the fate of Ms Amobi between the two ministers was indicative of the confusion in the administration of Mr Buhari, said to have a way of giving conflicting instructions and approvals to his officials on a single subject.