Controversy trails Wike’s order on FCT’s Perm Secs to bow before Tinubu


Controversy has continued to trail last week order by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, Nyesom Wike, on the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries to bow before President Bola Tinubu during the commissioning of a road named after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, in Abuja.

President Tinubu had named the newly commissioned road from Northern Parkway to outer Northern expressway in Abuja after the playwright, following the recommendation by the FCT minister.

Naming the road, President Tinubu highlighted Soyinka’s contributions to literature and his role in elevating Nigeria’s global cultural standing.

The president also asserted that the novelist had brought honour and fame to Nigeria through his contributions to literature and commitment to human rights and social justice.

Tinubu added that the gesture was a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth, freedom, and artistic excellence.

He said: “Professor Wole Soyinka has brought immense honour and fame to Nigeria through his unparalleled contributions to literature and his unwavering commitment to human rights and social justice.

“Naming this highway after him is a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth, freedom, and artistic excellence,” the president said.

Commending Wike for his recommendation, the President also said: “Your recommendation to name this road as ‘Wole Soyinka Way’ is well received.

“He is our foremost playwright, novelist, and Nobel Prize winner, who has brought fame to Nigeria; a pride of international acclaim.

“Thank you for thinking that way. We accept your recommendation on behalf of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Wike caused a frenzy after he ordered the newly appointed permanent secretaries to bow before President Tinubu in appreciation of their appointment.

He stated that the Permanent Secretaries had lost the hope of rising to the peak of their career, and should be grateful and appreciative that President Tinubu had helped them to attain that height.

Speaking during the event, Wike said: “Most of them have never dreamt in their lives that they will ever get to the peak of their careers. That is very important; not just the infrastructure every day.

“So, if you permit me, I don’t know those beneficiaries; I don’t know whether the Permanent Secretaries are here. Come out, come out.

“You are the beneficiary here; you are supposed to be the agents of the Renewed Hope Agenda, come out.

“Both women and men, everyone; face here and take a bow before Mr. President; you are the lucky ones. Your Excellency, these are the first set of permanent secretaries that you made.

“Head of service, are you not a permanent secretary? And that is their head of service. These are the technical teams now that we have. So I want to sincerely thank you.”

Wike also said most of the Permanent Secretaries had been visiting churches and mosques, praying for the new position.

He added that they should be happy that God has answered their prayer and that they could only express their gratitude by bowing down before the President through whom their prayers were answered.

“Now, most of them have been going to churches and mosques. They have been praying that God should help them to be head of service. But it was not there before.

“For them to be head of service, it was not available. But now, you have made it available. I know some of their pastors who have been praying for them.

“So, I also told them that they should pray for me to recommend them to you. That is also very important.

“Your Excellency, this road was awarded in 2020. In fact, this is the fastest; not the one that was awarded 15 or 16 years ago.

“It was awarded in 2020 at the cost of N30.6 billion, and luckily, this is the one that has never had variations,” he said.

On March 12, Tinubu appointed Atang Samuel as head of the civil service in the FCT. He also appointed some permanent secretaries in the FCT.

The permanent secretaries were Adam Babagana (North-East), Wanki Adamu Ibrahim (North-East), Asmau Mukhtar (North-West), Dogo Bodinga (North-West), Olusa Olusegun (South-West), Adetoyi Rabiu Kolawole (South-West), Grace Adayilo (North-Central), Olubunmi Olowookere (North-Central), Ibe Prospect Chukwuemeka (South-east), and Okonkwo Florence Nonubari (South-south)

However, while some Nigerians saw Wike’s action as a joke, others did not.

But, as some Nigerians were still discussing the matter, Wike repeated the drama on another occasion, asking the six area council chairmen to take a bow before the President.

The FCT minister, who ostensibly was aware of the barrage of attacks on him for ordering the permanent secretaries to bow before the President, did not feel he did anything wrong.

Instead, he wondered why Nigerians find it difficult to appreciate somebody’s good works, and were always willing to criticise unnecessarily.

Speaking at the second event, he said: “Some Nigerians can never see anything good in what we do. They keep criticizing and asking: how can you ask people who are Permanent Secretaries in their level to come out and take a bow?

“Instead of them to comment that Mr President has done well by giving hope to these people who had no hope before. Their anger is that the Permanent Secretaries were asked to come out and take a bow before Mr President.

“Today, I want to call on the agents of the Renewed Hope Agenda; let me call on the Area Council Chairmen.

“These are the six area council chairmen; Mr President, it is not about party, it is about agents of Renewed Hope Agenda in the Area Councils and they are doing well working with us. And I want them to take a bow before you.”

One of those who took serious exception to the minister’s action is a top civil servant with the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ray Mufti, who said Wike should understand that the permanent secretaries were not appointed by the president because he loves them or because they belong to his ethnic or religious group.

He said they were appointed because they merited the position following their long years of service, coupled with their dedication and hard work.

He warned the minister to desist from reducing the self esteem of civil servants, particularly the very senior ones among them because it will not do him any good in the long run.

“With the way Wike is telling the permanent secretaries to bow before Tinubu, you will think that whatever promotion they got was from the president.

But, it was their hard work and years of service to the nation that got them there, and not Mr President as Wike was trying to paint the picture.

“So, if the minister wants to be in the President’s good books, he should know that running down the senior civil servants the way he did will not help him in any way,” he said.

Also commenting on the development on Arise TV’s Morning Show, Reuben Abati equally said the FCT minister didn’t do well at all.

He was also of the view that nobody has done any favour to the senior civil servants as they got what they deserved as a result of hard work and years of service.

He said: “Nobody has done those Permanent Secretaries any favour. These are career civil servants, who rose to the very top.

“I think the Minister didn’t do well by asking them to bow before the President; that was not good enough.”

He added that if the minister wanted to impress the president, he should have asked the permanent secretaries to bow down the Yoruba way since the president is a Yoruba man.

“The President is a Yoruba man, so, Wike should have asked the men to prostrate, and the women to kneel.

“So, next time he wants to do this kind of thing, the men should prostrate, while the women kneel down. That will be more appropriate,” he submitted.

Another concerned Nigeria and legal practitioner based in Lagos, Marcellus Onah, also said he wouldn’t have obeyed the minister if he was among the permanent secretaries.

“Well, if I were in their shoes, I would politely tell the minister that I will not bow before any man.

“We can only bow before God. Perhaps, if you are in court, the judge there is your lord, so you can bow before the judge,” he said.

For Chidiebere Eze, he wondered why such seasoned men and women who have risen to the highest office in the Nigerian civil service would line themselves up in servile subservience and took their turns to bow before the president, just because a minister, an appointee of the president commanded them to do so.

He stressed that after all the ceremony was not an item on the programme for the day’s event, but Wike deliberately forced it in, just to curry the President’s favour.

He condemned Wike’s contempt and disrespect for the Perm Secs.

“The disdain was so clear, as demonstrated by every word with which he summoned the men and women to that enterprise.

“The permanent secretaries disappointed me and a lot of Nigerians as they marshaled themselves out in a single file to bow before the President.

“What I saw was a group of men and women who were completely stripped of any iota of respect and who have lost the aura of their offices in exchange for their seats,” he said.

Share your story or advertise with us: Whatsapp: +2348179614306 Email:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here