Appointment of New FCT Permanent Secretaries Sparks Controversy Over Seniority and Protocol

Taiwo Ajayi
5 Min Read
There are strong indications that many senior directors in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) may be on their way out following the appointment of new permanent secretaries by the administration.

FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, is set to inaugurate the pioneer Head of Service for the FCTA, alongside 10 permanent secretaries, presumed to have risen through the ranks in the administration’s civil service.

However, this development may mean the end of the road for several directors who have been at the directorate cadre for upward of 6 years.


The FCTA has a total of 367 directors, out of which 10 of them were appointed as permanent secretaries.

Before the appointments, many had expected that all the Directors of Administration and Finance (DAF) in the 9 secretariats of the FCTA would automatically be made permanent secretaries, given that they are the longest serving, and by implication, the most senior directors in the administration.

This, however, was not the case as the FCT Administration announced the appointment of ten pioneer permanent secretaries on March 12.

READ ALSO: I’m Not Willing to be Your Friend, It’s Not by Force —Wike Tells FCT Senator, Kingibe

Some of the permanent secretaries include Dr. Adam Babagana (North East), Wanki Ibrahim (North East), Asmau Mukhtar (North West), Wadata Bodinga (North West), and Olusa Olusegun (South West).

Others are Adetoyi Rabiu Kolawole (South West), Grace Adayilo (North Central), Olubunmi Olowookere (North Central), Ibe Prospect Chukwuemeka (South East), and Okonkwo Nonubari (South South).

Research show that while the DAF at the Agric and Rural Development Secretariat, as well as those of Transport and Area Council secretariats are among the most senior directors in the service, none of the trio made the permanent secretaries’ list.

Meanwhile, some directors who were only confirmed as substantive directors about 3 years ago, were appointed as permanent secretaries.

Sources in the Federal Capital Territory Administration say the establishment of the FCT Civil Service Commission is a mixed bag for the senior directors, particularly the DAFs, who had expected to be made permanent secretaries.

Already, the appointment is generating tension among the top echelon in the FCTA as some directors who spoke to our correspondent in confidence noted that many of them wonder what the order of protocol would be in getting approvals.

They fear many of these senior directors may be forced into voluntary retirement even before their due dates, given the civil service tradition where senior officials hardly ever answer to their subordinates.

Seniority in the civil service is mostly determined by the entry date and time one assumed duties or as reflected in the appropriate register, while time-bound promotions are attained after doing ones job for a certain length of time (mostly years).

Inspite these rules, the minister may have been guided by the revised civil service rule, 2021, which became operational on July 27, 2023.

READ ALSO: Nyesom Wike Unveils Abuja’s Largest Waterpark

The rule which has been domesticated by all states civil service and the FCT, introduced a tenure policy for permanent secretaries who are now required to spend four years in office which is renewable subject to performance.

This may have been the bases which the minister appointed directors who still have over four years in service.

Some also argue that advancement within a cadre in the civil service is not entirely based on the number of years spent at cadre, but based on additional qualification or cognate experience acquired as provided in the Schemes of Service for such cadre.

Similarly, the Civil Service rule stipulates that seniority promotions should be based on one’s fitness to discharge duties of the post. While if the most senior official is unsuitable for promotion, the authority can pick someone from the lower rank.

The rule also allows for promotion by merit or selection, where promotion is based upon merit only (seniority is not given precedence over performance).

Share this Article
Leave a comment