Affirmation of Eligibility for Public Appointments Bill, 2017 (Draft)

Long Title: A Bill for AN ACT TO AFFIRM THE RIGHTS OF THE CITIZENS OF NIGERIA TO FULL AND FAIR CONSIDERATION FOR PUBLIC APPOINTMENT

PREAMBLE

Whereas:

(a) The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, guarantees to every Nigerian basic citizenship rights, among which are the right to life, dignity of the human person, and most especially, freedom from discrimination;

(b) Failure to give bona fide Nigerian citizens full and fair consideration for vacancies in public offices represents a clear violation of the Constitution and an unwarranted abridgement of the citizen’s right to dignity as well as to freedom from discrimination;

(c) The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, in its Section 14 (2) (c), (3) and (4), explicitly stipulates that the “composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”;

(d) Any restriction placed on the eligibility of any Nigerian citizen to compete on a level playing field for vacancies in the Government of the Federation constitutes an assault on the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom from discrimination;

(e) Any restriction placed on the eligibility of any Nigerian citizen to compete for vacancies in the Government of the Federation ridicules the citizen’s identity with a specific State and devalues the citizen’s membership of the larger entity known as the Federation of Nigeria;

(f) Any restriction placed on the eligibility of any Nigerian citizen to compete on a level playing field for vacancies in the Government of the Federation undermines the citizen’s loyalty and commitment to the unity of the Federation of Nigeria or to any of its constituent parts;

(g) Handpicking a few for public offices and shutting out the vast majority cannot by any stretch of imagination be equated with an act meant to reflect the federal character of Nigeria in the composition of the Government of the Federation, much less, to promote unity, or command national loyalty;

(h) Continued restriction on free-born Nigerian citizens’ eligibility for consideration for public office breeds suspicion and fuels probably unwarranted accusations of marginalization, patronage, nepotism and corruption;

(i) Endless acrimony over the selection of candidates for top offices does not augur well for the smooth workings of government or for the unity and stability of Nigeria.

Now, in consideration of the foregoing premises, the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria hereby enacts as follows:

ARTICLE 1. COVERAGE AND APPLICABILITY

(1) The provisions of this Bill shall apply to the under-listed posts:

(a) Permanent Secretary or equivalents in the Civil Service of the Federation;
(b) Managing Director, Director-General, General Manager, Chief Executive, or equivalents in any arms of the Public Service;
(c) Chairperson or Member of Boards, Commissions, or equivalent Agencies in the Public Service of the Federation;
(d) Ambassador, Special Envoy or equivalent positions in the foreign service;
(e) Inspector-General, DIGs, AIGs, and Commissioners of Police;
(f) Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria;
(g) Head of the Civil Service of the Federation;
(h) Secretary to the Government of the Federation;
(i) Minister in the Government of the Federation; and
(j) Any other post that may from time to time be deemed critical to the effective harmonization of the federal character provisions of the Constitution with the principles of citizen participation and open competition.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as
(a) abrogating, sidetracking, or altering the federal character provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
(b) restricting the power of the President to appoint, deploy, promote, discipline, reassign, or dismiss persons holding any of the designated posts (including posts of confidence) in the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
(c) requiring the President to appoint, deploy, reassign, or dismiss his close aides (like the Chief of Staff, Special Advisers, Special Assistants, and Special Emissaries) in the manner proposed in this Act;
(d) prescribing new methods for filling career service vacancies where procedures for open competitive selection already exist;
(e) directing or instructing State or Local Governments on how to fill vacancies that are within the constitutional purview of each State or Local Government.

(3) This Act does not confer eligibility for public appointments on the following:

(a) Foreign nationals resident in Nigeria;
(b) Nigerians with criminal records, except a convict that duly applies for and is granted a Presidential Pardon;
(c) Nigerian citizens who, prior to the occurrence of designated vacancies, had been indicted by a lawfully constituted panel or commission of inquiry and had been expressly debarred from holding public office;
(d) Nigerian citizens with serious mental or physical ailments, particularly ailments likely to impair their ability to perform the designated functions;
(e) Individuals that are discovered after the fact to have falsely represented themselves or to have affirmed what eventually turned out to be false.

ARTICLE 2: APPOINTMENT TO PUBLIC OFFICE: GUIDING PRINCIPLES

(1) Effective from the date this Act comes into force:

(a) all vacancies in the career and the non-career arms of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be deemed to be collectively owned by the citizens of the country;
(b) no posts falling vacant in the top echelons of Government shall be filled except through open competition;
(c) appointing authorities and agencies shall ensure that the federal character provisions of the Constitution are faithfully upheld, and that vacancies are filled after good-faith efforts have been made to look for the best and the most competent from each State and District;
(d) no Nigerian citizen shall be debarred from competing for posts falling vacant in the career and the non-career arms of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and none shall be otherwise disadvantaged or made to feel like a second-class citizen in his/her own country;
(e) appointing authorities and agencies shall institute mechanisms and design instruments aimed at reconciling the constitutional stipulations on federal character with the principles of merit and inclusiveness.

ARTICLE 3: PROCEDURE FOR VACANCY DECLARATION AND ANNOUNCEMENT

(1) Effective from the date this Act comes into force, it shall be mandatory for all public agencies to notify the President’s Office at least three months before designated positions fall vacant;

(2) The Vacancy Declaration Note from each Agency will come with the Title of the designated post, the Qualifications, as well as the type and length of experience required to perform the designated functions successfully, the Expected Deliverables or Impact, and a draft Vacancy Announcement as an Annex;

(3) On receipt of the Vacancy Declaration Note and draft Vacancy Announcement, the President’s Office will review the contents with a view to:
(a) Amending the designated post’s terms of reference in light of public expectations of the agency in which the post is located, the Government’s medium- to long-term strategies/plans, and performance targets for the sector in which the functions of the office would be performed;
(b) Vetting the Qualifications and Experience against standards dictated by the Government’s strategic priorities and performance targets;
(c) With or without the support of experts/consultants in high-level recruiting, authorizing the preparation, review, and release of Vacancy Announcements;
(d) Designing candidate screening instruments and mechanisms.

ARTICLE 4: OBLIGATIONS OF INDIVIDUAL APPLICANTS

(1) The onus to sight and respond to Vacancy Announcements by or before the stipulated deadlines shall be on every Nigerian citizen;

(2) Nigerian citizens who deem themselves qualified for announced vacancies are obliged to:
a. Complete the application forms on- or offline, and in any format prescribed by the Vacancy Announcements;
b. Indicate how their competencies and personal profiles match the advertised jobs’ requirements;
c. Support their applications with the required credentials;
d. Complete a separate Screening Form on which they will briefly state:
i. Their understanding of the advertised posts, and of the challenges the posts are meant to tackle;
ii. Their accomplishments to date, including track records in meeting the designated posts’ challenges;
iii. The nature of their participation in the political and/or electoral process;
iv. Their Performance Pledges over periods ranging from two to four years (that is, what they expect to achieve at different time intervals if appointed to the posts);
v. Names and signatures of three sponsors/referees (see below).

(3) A copy of the Screening Form is annexed to this Act.

ARTICLE 5: REFEREES AND SPONSORS

1. By ‘sponsor’ or ‘referee’, this Act means any person willing to stake his/her reputation for the candidature of another, in this case, the person applying for a designated vacancy. By appending his/her signature on the candidate’s Screening Form, the referee has accepted responsibility for the candidate’s competence and integrity, and by implication, for the consequences of the candidate’s choices on the image of the Government.

2. For the avoidance of doubt, referees and sponsors are not limited to the ranks of professionals. Among those eligible to serve as referees and sponsors are state governors, Senators, Hon. Members of the House of Representatives, senior government officials, party chieftains, traditional rulers, religious and civic leaders, renowned academics, captains of industry, and the applicant’s current or past supervisors.

3. Each referee’s job is done once the referee’s bona fide signature appears on the Screening Form. The President’s Office reserves the right to call referees to verify the authenticity of signatures or solicit additional information on candidates.

4. In the interest of transparency, equity, and fairness, referees and sponsors shall refrain from exerting additional and undue pressure on behalf of their candidates.

5. A candidate that relies on extraneous influences to sway the selection process in his/her favour intends nothing but the confiscation of the rivals’ rights to full and fair consideration. Such a candidate has forfeited the right to be considered for public office, and shall thus be summarily disqualified.

ARTICLE 6: SCREENING AND SELECTION PROCESS

1. In anticipation of the receipt of applications and completed screening forms, the President’s Office shall constitute a panel of experts whose terms of reference shall include:

a. Compiling a set of criteria for the evaluation of candidates, along with the weighting formula;
b. On the expiration of the deadline, preparing a Long List of 7 (seven) candidates based on the evaluation of the candidates’ applications, credentials, responses to Screening Form questions, geo-political spread, and, depending on the nature of the vacancy, political sponsorship;
c. Vetting the Long List with a view to identifying candidates that have unique qualifications or competencies and placing their names on a Short List of 3 (three);
d. Deciding whether to invite the three shortlisted candidates for personal, face-to-face interviews, or to interview them over the phone or via video-conferencing;
e. Preparing for the record, a comprehensive report on the screening process;
f. Transmitting the Short List to the President with brief comments on the strengths or weaknesses or each candidate.

2. On receipt of the Short List from the expert panel, the President has the discretion either to act on the panel’s recommendations, or carry out additional consultations before taking a decision.

3. The President’s decision on the matter shall be final and not subject to appeal, unless an aggrieved candidate can tender evidence in support of his/her averment that key provisions of this Act have been breached.

ARTICLE 7: INTERPRETATION

In this Act, unless the context otherwise suggests:

A “candidate” is a person apply for a post.

“Deliverables” in the sense conveyed by this Act stand for Quantifiable and Non-quantifiable “Outputs” (like the amount of revenue collected over a period, the mileage of roads constructed, increase or decrease in electricity connection rates, the number of hours and quantity of gasoline saved by timely clearance of urban gridlocks, the number of stolen vehicles recovered, increase or decrease in offending and re-offending rates, increase/decrease in white collar crimes, vaccination rates, the number of jobs created, time taken to contain pandemics and save lives).

“Designated Agency” stands for the agency in which a vacancy is located.

“Designated Functions” are the duties and responsibilities of office, including the impact the incumbent of the office is expected to make if and when appointed.

“Designated Post” is the post that has been declared vacant. It generally comes with a Title, and in some cases, Index Number, to separate it from others, including others similarly titled.

“Referee” is in this Act synonymous with a “Sponsor”. Both the referee and the sponsor have more or less the same objective, to place their candidates in vacant slots.

ARTICLE 8: COMMENCEMENT

This Act shall take effect upon the conferment of the Presidential Assent and effective enactment into law.

SECTION 9: TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Pending the coming into force of this Act, the President’s Office and the National Assembly shall collaborate on the institution of measures aimed at ensuring the smooth implementation of the changes. In particular, vacancies which are yet to be filled shall be thrown open in the manner prescribed under the Act.

ANNEX A:POLITICAL APPOINTEES’ SCREENING FORM (DRAFT)
General instructions

(Please read carefully before you complete this form. The onus for the accuracy of the information appearing thereon is entirely on the affirmer. When you have completed your part of the form, make sure that you obtain your referees’ signatures before returning the form, in duplicate, to the President’s Office).

Biographical sketch

1. Name of Candidate (in full):
2. State of origin:
3. Local Government/District:
4. Nationality:
5. Gender:
6. Married/Single/Widowed/Divorced
7. Party affiliation (APC/PDP/APGA….etc./No party affiliation):
8. Nature of engagement with the electoral process (voting, voter mobilization, electoral observation, etc.)_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Competencies

9. Highest Educational Qualification (and awarding institution):

10. Field of specialization/Profession:__________________________________

11. National experience (national Career History):

Dates (from start to finish):

Organization Position Held:

Nature of Responsibility:

Notable accomplishments:

12. International experience (if any):

Dates (from start to finish):

Organization:

Position Held:

Nature of Responsibility:

Notable accomplishments:

13. Notable achievements (List your notable achievements at national and/or international levels in order of importance):

14. What position do you want to be considered for (include the organization in which the post is located)? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

15. Why do you consider yourself qualified for this post? (Say in not more than three simple sentences why you deem yourself appropriate for this post)

16. What challenges face Nigeria in the area of interest to you? (in 300 words or less)

17. EXACTLY HOW do you see your appointment to the post you seek enabling you to tackle the challenges? (maximum 300 words)

18. What special skills do you have (tick all applicable ones below):
a. Computing
b. Research and analytical skill
c. Written communications/Drafting
d. Oral communications
e. Diplomatic negotiation
f. Management, decision-making and organizational skills
g. Strategic planning/policy formulation competency
h. Civic engagement (including co-governorship skill)
i. Team building and conflict resolution
j. Other____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

19. Were you at any time indicted for corruption? Yes/No
20. Were you at any time convicted of a crime? Yes/No
21. Are you a fugitive from justice? Yes/No
22. Do you have a history of alcoholism? Yes/No
23. Do you have a history of drug abuse? Yes/No (expert certification of narcotics-free life-style may be required)
24. Do you consider yourself physically fit and mentally sound? Yes/No
25. Are you capable of managing ethnic, religious, sectarian diversity? Yes/No

Performance Pledge

26. If appointed, what milestones do you pledge to record:

a. Within the first year of appointment (list a maximum of three/3 pledged accomplishments):

b. By the end of the second year of appointment (list below):

c. By the end of your tenure (list below):

27. I certify that the information supplied on this form is correct (If subsequent to this declaration, it is established that any or all of the information supplied by the prospective candidate is false, the candidate will automatically be disqualified for further consideration. Moreover, in the event that the false information is discovered subsequent to an appointment, any expenses incurred in relation to the position will be recovered).

Signature_______________________________________
Date___________________________________________

Referees/Sponsors

List 3 (three) referees/sponsors/godfathers ready and willing to testify to your patriotism, commitment to the principles of justice and fairness, loyalty, dedication, competence and integrity.
Your referees will be deemed to have so testified if they append their signatures in the appropriate column below.

(Referees are strongly advised to exercise utmost discretion in backing any candidate for key state offices as this will reflect on each referee’s personal integrity):

1st Referee
Name of sponsor:
Profession/Address:
Relationship to Candidate:
Referee’s Signature (testifying to the candidate’s suitability and accepting responsibility for his/her conduct while in office):
Date:

2nd Referee
Name of sponsor:
Profession/Address:
Relationship to Candidate:
Referee’s Signature (testifying to the candidate’s suitability and accepting responsibility for his/her conduct while in office):
Date:

3rd Referee
Name of sponsor:
Profession/Address:
Relationship to Candidate:
Referee’s Signature (testifying to the candidate’s suitability and accepting responsibility for his/her conduct while in office):
Date:

TO BE RETURNED IN DUPLICATE TO THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE FEDERATION, ALONG WITH A TWO-PAGE BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

Speak Your Mind

*