What is the civil service procedures, especially when it comes to one government official writing to the other.
Or are we in an era of “anything goes”.
Procedurally, can a Chief of Staff to the President has the power to write that letter, especially the way it was worded.
Not the following:
1. First, he used the “we” word TWICE in the letter. Who was the “we”? Was there a committee set up to review performances of the FIRS? Was Abba Kyari a member of that committee? The people need to know.
2. Abba Kyari never used the kicker: “I was directed by the President…” in the letter. Significantly, we never knew on whose behalf he was writing that letter. Was it on behalf of the President? The Minister of Finance which Fowler should ordinarily report to? Or himself as CoS to the President.
3. Going by the first paragraph, Fowler had sent an earlier memo to Kyari(?) which the latter was responding to. But Kyari is NOT the Presidency but a staff of that office. If he was now replying to Fowler memo (the reference number of which he quoted), in what capacity was he writing the reply?
This is what a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Seyi Sowemimo, has to say about Kyari’s letter to Fowler.
“I suppose he wasn’t acting on his own. I would assume that he was acting on behalf of the President. I don’t think he (Kyari) in his capacity could query the FIRS chairman. It would have been different if he had said he was acting on the instructions of the President; that would have made it quite clear.”
Another school of thought believes “we”, “on the instructions of the president”, “was directed by the president” .
There’s a PRESUMPTION of authority that the Chief of Staff of the President, a cabinet level position, acting as the agent of the president can do that. That’s trite. That position is copied from US system. The president’s COS can be deemed to do anything on behalf of the president. It’s the clearing house for all issues referred to the president.
The chief of staff to PMB is the 2nd most powerful person in the country. His word and action are presumably approved by the president. If you resist him you might find yourself going against the President. That is the order of things.