Unease has engulfed the federal civil service over the report that the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan, has flouted the directives of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the redeployment of permanent secretaries in federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Yemi-Esan was said to have snubbed Tinubu’s order in the movement of 24 permanent secretaries, a development which has ignited discontentment and disaffection in the nation’s apex civil service.
Those shortchanged in the exercise are protesting the action of the HoSF, which they considered as un-procedural and disrespectful to the president.
LEADERSHIP learnt that Yemi-Esan set the stage for acrimony when she jettisoned the widely reported approved list by Tinubu for the deployment of the permanent secretaries in MDAs of the federal government.
It was gathered that Yemi-Esan subtly snubbed Tinubu when she decided to exercise her discretion in the posting of the permanent secretaries, rather than complying strictly with the presidential order.
She unilaterally redeployed the permanent secretaries to the ministries other than where they were detailed to go by the presidential order.
From the list approved by Tinubu, as made available to LEADERSHIP, Dr. (Mrs) Nkadi Ngige, who was redeployed from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, was yet to be directed to move in that direction by HoSF.
Similarly, Yemi-Esan has declined to dispatch Mr. Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan from the Federal Ministry Of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, to the political and economic affairs office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, as directed by the president.
Impeccable sources, who insisted that Tinubu’s list was manipulated by the HoSF, said Mr. Mahmud Mamman, permanent secretary in the ministry of works, was not listed in the original list which emanated from the presidency but he was issued a letter by Yemi-Esan to resume at the ministry of power when Mr. Yakubu Adam Kofarmata was actually redeployed from the Federal Civil Service Commission to ministry of power in the presidential list.
Further findings by LEADERSHIP revealed that Mr. James Sule, who was in the president’s approved list to move from the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology to the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, was sent to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
One of the aggrieved permanent secretaries perceived the action of Yemi-Esan as gross violation of administrative procedures and protocols.
The permanent secretary said, “The action of the HoSF is pure impunity and a clear attempt to favour certain cronies and punish some of us she doesn’t like and others who seem to constitute a threat to her position.
“The implication of her action is far-reaching as Nigerians and the global community doing business with the civil service may be thrown into darkness over the impunity and recklessness by the HoSF. Her action can best be described as an act of insubordination and disregard for constituted authority as well as forgery and renunciation of a presidential order,” said the permanent secretary who pleaded not to be mentioned in print.
Another permanent secretary, who questioned Yemi-Esan’s handling of the controversial exercise, said the action of HoSF was self-serving.
The source further accused her of initiating punitive measures to deal with lieutenants capable of succeeding her in line with the hierarchy of seniority in the civil service.
“Yemi-Esan has zero tolerance for permanent secretaries whom she sees as capable of taking over from her and those who are not in her good books. She surrounds herself with junior permanent secretaries that cannot step into her shoes whenever she is away on official duty abroad.
“Whenever she is away, everything grinds to a halt, until she returns. A typical illustration of this clearly showed when the implementation of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s approval of the movement of the permanent secretaries of January 2nd, 2024 was delayed until she returned from her annual leave on January 9, 2024. She is too sensitive to information made available to her by rumour mongers.
“She does not bring very senior permanent secretaries close to her office. To ensure that she is insulated from any threat of being replaced, she is favourably disposed to appointing young permanent secretaries to work in her office. The idea is that anytime she is not around, no one can be appointed as the HoSF in acting capacity. It’s being insinuated that she is scheming to pave the way for a preferred subordinate as successor,” added the source, who also pleaded anonymity.
However, the spokesman to the embattled HoSF, Mr. Mohammed Sabo Ahmed, has debunked the claims, describing the list of redeployment of permanent secretaries as emanating from the presidency as fake.
Ahmed, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said there was no presidential order to his boss on the deployment and redeployment of permanent secretaries, adding that such presidential directives or list only existed in the heads of the peddlers.
“There is no presidential directive on deployment of permanent secretaries as far as I am concerned. They are parading and relying on a fake memo from the presidency. The memo they are talking about is fake to the extent that it has no authority of the Presidency. Their list is not even on the letterhead of the presidency. It’s just on ordinary paper. If there is any genuine directive from the presidency, HoSF would have complied and obeyed it to the letter.
“The HoSF has not flouted any presidential order or directives; at best I can advise that those parading the fake lists be ignored,” Ahmed added.