Why Oyo-Ita opted for early retirement

Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, has opted for early retirement due to pressure from family members, Daily Trust reliably gathered yesterday.

Oyo-Ita was recently quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N3bn contract scam among others.

A family source told Daily Trust yesterday in Abuja that the embattled Head of Service, 55, caved in to pressure from her children who asked her to quit.

According to another source, Oyo-Ita’s argument on the need to see Mr. President to explain her side of the story was rejected by her children who insisted that her case was not unknown to him.

“Madam (Oyo-Ita) tried and could not secure a direct appointment with Mr. President. She was unable to see him either in Katsina or Abuja. She had no option than to send her early retirement notice to the president,” the source said.

“The president must have seen the letter today (yesterday) and I want to believe that he will endorse it. When he would take action is what we (referring to himself) don’t know now,” he added.


Presidency not aware of retirement

Contacted, a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said the presidency was unaware of Oyo-Ita’s retirement.

Replying to a text message by our correspondent, Shehu said: “We have no such letter here, in the event that such a letter exists.”

Our correspondent reports that she was absent at the presidential retreat for ministers-designate held at the State House, Abuja.

According to the programme of event, Oyo-Ita will today speak on “Consolidating Ongoing Reforms in the Public Service” at the retreat.

It is not clear whether the Head of Service will attend. She had checked in at a hospital in Jabi, Abuja after she was quizzed by operatives of the EFCC.

Mrs. Oyo-Ita was appointed on October 21, 2015 to replace the then Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Mr Danladi Kifasi. She was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, at the time.

She is supposed to retire in two years, by which time she would have put in 35 years in service.

Some close associates of the Head of Service insist she was being targeted for “not playing ball.”

It was also learnt that she stated in her letter to the president that some of the powerful allies and government officials were frustrating her efforts to reposition the civil service with ‘unreasonable’ demands.

Mrs. Oyo-Ita (nee Nyong), who hails from Adiabo Okurikang in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, and was born on the 20th April, 1964, had worked closely with President Buhari when he was the Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).

If Oyo-Ita’s retirement is approved by the president, the most senior of the permanent secretaries is expected to be named the acting HoS, pending the appointment of a substantive HoS by the president.

The Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office (EFO), Dr. Habiba Muda Lawal, is said to be the most senior.

Daily Trust had earlier reported that the investigation of the Head of Service by the EFCC had caused apprehension in the Federal Civil Service.

Two former federal permanent secretaries had also told the Daily Trust that the investigation had unsettled forces in many ministries “because if the probe persisted, many top officials including permanent secretaries may be affected.”

A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Independent Public Service Watch (IPSW), had also called for the resignation of the HoS, giving her 72 hours to quit or face mass protest.

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