By Celestine Okafor (Editor-in-Chief)@CeleOkaf11

The non-representation of Imo state, in South East Nigeria, at the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), has been generating great concern and anxiety, particularly in Imo and in the South East Zone generally. This curious development is also raising a lot of questions among the South East political leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and other opinion leaders in Igboland.

Nigerian NewsLeader Newspaper investigation reveals that Imo state has been without a representative in the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) for over a year now, since February 2020. This newspaper found out that the Imo state governor, Senator Hope Odidika Uzodinma, had, following an existing vacancy for the state in the RMAFC and other federal agencies like the Federal Civil Service Commission, the National Judicial Service Commission and the Federal Character Commission, nominated Chief Longers Anyanwu, a renowned loyal and staunch APC stalwart in the state to fill the slot of Imo state in the RMAFC as a National Commissioner, based on the recommendation letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, dated February 15, 2020.

In the same letter sighted by NewsLeader Newspaper at one the federal establishments, governor Uzodinma also recommended to the President, for immediate appointment, Engr. Uche Diogu, Justice E.O. Nnadi and Dr F.O. Ekwem, as Presidential nominee National Commissioners representatives for both the Federal Character Commission, the National Judicial Service Commission and the Federal Civil Service Commission, respectively. Governor Uzodinma had told the President in his recommendation letter to him, that the prospective nominees "are men with proven integrity and good records who have excelled in their chosen professions", on the strength of which the governor said they were being "strongly recommended" for the positions.

While the other nominees have since been screened and approved by the Senate to assume duties, the slot for the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) seem to have been mired in a puzzling intrigue and inexplicable politics, especially within the executive bureaucracy and the National Assembly, where the screening and approval statutorily takes place. It was gathered by Nigerian NewsLeader, that the candidate recommended to the President by governor Hope Uzodinma for the RMAFC job, Chief Longers Anyanwu, is yet to be screened and possibly confirmed to assume duties. It however appears that there is a roadblock somewhere which the Presidency, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the leadership of the ruling party (APC), are yet to get full explanation about.

NewsLeader Newspaper findings also show that part of the problems along the pathway of Chief Longers Anyanwu towards getting his expected legislative clearance for the job, was the curious substitution of his name and a presentation of a parallel candidate in the person of one Barrister (Sir) Emmanuel Nwosu, who is said to be a member of the opposition All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo state. Besides, Nwosu is said to be a State Collation Agent for APGA in the 2019 Presidential and Governorship elections in Imo. This Newspaper reliably gathered in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, that a prominent and influential politician in the state who is not a member of the ruling APC in the state, and who is also a vigorous political opponent of the governor, was behind the alleged surreptitious fielding of the name of a parallel candidate (Barrister Emma Nwosu) to the Department of State Services (DSS) and to the National Assembly (Senate) for screening and approval for the RMAFC job. This claim is however yet to be confirmed by Nigerian NewsLeader.

But a source within the APC Exco in Imo state and who specifically does not want to be mentioned, however told NewsLeader that Nwosu was obviously "being used to upstage and supplant the executive nomination of Chief Longers Anyanwu, who, clearly is the choice candidate of our party (APC) in Imo state and that of the governor himself. Our governor, based on the advice of our party, had recommended him (Longers) to the President for nomination into the Seven (7) member RMAFC job of National Commissioner. This young man (Barr. Emma Nwosu) is even a mere aide to a well-known APGA politician in this state. Unfortunately for them, Nwosu is not a member of the APC like Longers Anyanwu", said the APC top shot, adding that "He (Nwosu) has no requisite experience for that kind of job. He has actually not held any serious public position of responsibility like Chief Longers Anyanwu. Above all, his nomination even has a serious 'K-leg'. We know who is who here in Imo state politics.

"It is therefore inappropriate and unthinkable that a person recommended by a state governor, a leader of the party (APC) in this state (Imo), will be side-stepped just like that, for another individual being promoted by a non party member who is not the governor of the state. It is not done! The APC in Imo state is certainly not happy about this development. Chief Longers Anyanwu is the choice of the Imo APC and that of the Imo state government. This kind of abnormality and anormally should not be allowed or encouraged", the APC top shot fumed.

Earlier, the Senate stood down the screening and confirmation of Barrister Emma Nwosu whose name was allegedly forwarded in curious circumstance to the National Assembly ostensibly to subvert the official nomination of Chief Longers Anyanwu, allegedly based on unfavorable security report about him by the Department of State Services (DSS) which profiled him. The same DSS also profiled and screened Chief Longers Anyanwu and gave him a clean bill of approval as fit for appointment as a National Commissioner in the RMAFC. But curiously, Longers, uptill this moment, was yet to be invited to appear before the Senate for further screening and approval for the job, thus, raising serious questions over what is actually amiss since the DSS did not find him wanting in anyway, and more importantly, there seem to be an overwhelming support and endorsement of his nomination to President Buhari by the Imo state governor and the APC leadership in the state.

However irked by the inexplicable political intrigues and somewhat official tardiness that seem to be stalling the screening and possible confirmation of Chief Longers Anyanwu for the RMAFC management job, NewsLeader Newspaper gathered that there have been a flurry of questions over what has happened, as well as intense pressure and high level representations to the Presidency, to alert the President, through his Chief of Staff, at the attempts by some unknown political and bureaucratic forces to stall the confirmation and formal appointment of Chief Longers Anyanwu, as National Commissioner in the RMAFC.

Obviously frustrated and having waited in vain for the announcement of the appointment of his recommended nominee, governor Hope Uzodinma, again, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari on May 14, 2020, reminding the President about his earlier letter to him on February 15, 2020, in respect of the nomination of Chief Longers Anyanwu as the authentic Imo state candidate for appointment as National Commissioner in the RMAFC. In the reminder letter with reference no GH/PL/S. 640/x, the Imo governor emphasized to President Buhari, that Longers was yet to be cleared for the job, and even described the nominee as a prominent indigenes of the state who "is a strong member and supporter of our party -APC and he is very reliable and thrust-worthy".

However, in another letter to the President dated June 25, 2020 and referenced SGF.50/S.5/XIVT/54, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, drew the President's attention to his earlier letter to him with Ref. No. SGF.50/S.5/XIV/1000 dated April 20, 2020 (Annex 1), regarding the appointment of the Seven (7) member RMAFC National Commissioners and the request by the Imo state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, through a letter to him dated June 4, 2020 (Annex 2) seeking the appointment of Chief Longers Anyanwu as a member representing Imo state at the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to fill the existing vacancy. The SGF however urged the President "to consider and approve the appointment of Chief Longers Anyanwu as member representing Imo state at the RMAFC for an initial term of five (5) years, with effect from the date of Your Excellency's approval".

The Imo governor, Hope Uzodinma, had, in a letter of exhortation to the SGF dated June 4, 2020, implored the SGF, Boss Mustapha, to "use his good office to forward the name of Chief Longers Anyanwu to the Senate for confirmation". The governor had also told the SGF that the nomination of Longers "underscores the overwhelming consensus and support of the leadership of the party in the state (Imo) for the recommendation of Chief Longers Anyanwu into the Commission", on the basis of which he, as governor, "forwarded a reminder letter to Mr. President on the 14th day of May, 2020", of which an acknowledgement is being attached. The governor also sent a similar letter to the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), urging the intervention of the DSS boss in ensuring that his state nominee in the person of Chief Longers Anyanwu who obviously has been given a security clean bill of health for the RMAFC job by the DSS, was not relegated or prevented from urgently facing the Senate screening. Governor Uzodinma however "dissociated" his government "from the recommendation of the DSS rejected nominee", Barr. Emma Nwosu of APGA.

Exersperated, however, at the unfortunate delay and unpleasant turn of events regarding Longers Anyanwu's nomination into the RMAFC, the Imo state APC petitioned the President and other relevant key authorities of the federal government including the leadership of the governing All Progressive Congress (APC) at Abuja, protesting the curious replacement of Longers, who the party said was duly nominated into the RMAFC Board with an alleged opposition party member from APGA, Barrister Emma Nwosu. In the petition dated April 30, 2020 and jointly signed by the Imo APC State Chairman, Prince M.O Nlemigbo and his party Secretary, Dr Love Ineh, and which was copied to President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Chairman of the APC, the Imo APC leadership lamented the announcement on the floor of the Senate that a known opposition APGA member (Barr. Emma Nwosu) was used to replace an APC nominee, Chief Longers Anyanwu, for the Board membership job in RMAFC.

The party described the development as "shocking to the entire APC family in Imo State", adding that it is "mostly and unfortunately a distortion of the true nomination made by the leadership of the party in Imo state and forwarded by our Governor, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma". The party also expressed its deep dissatisfaction that "the name of Chief Longers Anyanwu was dropped and replaced with that of Barr. Emma Nwosu, the said State Collation Agent of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the Governorship Election of 2019 and the PDP Presidential Candidate in the Presidential Election. The entire Imo state branch of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is not only saddened by this ugly development, but very apprehensive of the implication of this antic of manipulating the name of a known APGA agent into our APC State nominee list for appointment".

The Imo APC leadership also stated that "the leadership of Imo APC has worked hard, toiled sleeplessly to reposition the party in the state. We have also paid the ultimate price of loyalty and forthrightness in preserving and advancing the cause of the party in Imo state. Our resolve is to make Imo state a sure APC state with the good works of our amiable Governor who has shown exceptional leadership. Frustrating our leadership position through this type of orchestration of devious antics, most apparently to dampen the spirit of our loyal followers, is most unfortunate, condemnable and should not be condoned or encouraged".

The Imo APC therefore urged his excellency addressees, "to most urgently intervene to restore the nomination of Chief Longers Anyanwu into the Board of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission. Chief Longers Anyanwu has worked hard for the APC in Imo state and merits his appointment as nominated. He enjoys the support of the entire APC leadership in Imo state. The restoration of Chief Longers Anyanwu into the Board of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission will strengthen the Imo APC family in its effort towards greater political endeavor", the party stated.

However, the question still remains: who is withholding the nomination of Chief Longers Anyanwu as the preferred candidate for the job of RMAFC Board membership and why? And why was the name of an alleged opposition person forwarded as a substitute for Longers? Who indeed is behind this alleged manipulation, intrigues and acts of subterfuge?

As a top member of the Imo APC leadership had told NewsLeader, only a Presidential intervention through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), the leadership of the National Assembly, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the National Executive leadership of the APC, among others, will resolve this gordian knot and ultimately restore the nomination of Chief Longers Anyanwu as the preferred Imo state choice for the RMAFC National Commissionership position. NNL.

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