- Seven Deceased Persons Appointed for Agencies, Parastatals
- Presidency: Nothing Scandalous in Appointments
- PDP: It Confirms Incompetence on Part of Govt, APC
News that President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed 209 chairmen of boards and parastatal of some federal agencies has shocked Nigerians when it was discovered that no less than five persons on the list have since died.
At least seven appointees announced Friday by the presidency on a list that has over a thousand board members have been confirmed to have died long before their appointments.
Some of the dead appointees on the list include Senator Francis Okpozo (died December 26, 2016), appointed chair of the board of the Nigeria Press Council and late Deputy Inspector General of Police Donald Ugbaja (rtd) (died November, 2017) was appointed member of Consumer Protection Council while Rev Fr. Christopher Utov, founder of the Fidei Polytechnic (died March, 2017) was appointed a member of the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research.
Others are Garba Attahiru, a former chairman of Kaduna South Local Government who passed on last year but was appointed on the board of the Federal Medical Centre, Yenegoa, and Umar Dange, a former secretary of APC elders committee in Sokoto, who was appointed to the board of FMC Ibute Meta.
Dr. Nabbs Imegwu, a former commissioner in Rivers State who died earlier this year, was appointed to the board of the National Orthopedic Hospitals while Comrade Ahmed Bunza from Kebbi State, an appointee to the Rubber Research Institute in Benin, had passed on in May 2017.
Reports say another appointee to the board of the National Film and Video Censors Board had passed on as well but Daily Trust on Sunday could not confirm this as at the time of going to press.
This brings the total number of deceased persons on the president’s list to eight.
The list also has a number of names repeated while members of the opposition party were also spotted on the list.
The list has created an uproar among Nigerians with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describing the blunder as demonstrative of the “gross incompetence” of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a scathing statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said, “How on earth can a government that cannot compile a common list handle intricate issues of national planning and budgeting; issues of health, education, aviation, agriculture, infrastructure and management of the huge civil service?
“How can they possibly initiate and successfully implement national and international instruments for national development in today’s competitive world?
“This also explains why nothing has been working under the APC government. Furthermore, the mix up in the list also exposes the corruption in the APC government,” he said.
He also added that the blunder in the list clearly demonstrates that the governance of the country has been in the wrong hands in the last two years.
“When we say that this government is completely inept, some Nigerians did not know to which level, but now they do,” Mr. Ologbondiyan said.
However in its defence, the presidency, through its spokesman, said the list was compiled in 2015 but was not release because the president was away on medical leave.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, while speaking to journalists in Abuja on Saturday, said there was nothing scandalous or extraordinary about the list, describing it instead as “historical.”
He explained that the list was compiled in 2015, but when the panel constituted to compile the list submitted its report early this year, President Muhammadu Buhari had health challenges and left the country on medical leave.
“This list is a historical list. It dates back to 2015. The President asked all state chapters of the APC to forward 50 names for appointments to the SGF through the national headquarters of the party,” Shehu said.
“The then SGF, Babachir Lawal, presented the report in October 2016, one year after he was commissioned. The report was disputed by state governors who said they were not carried along or the list was not representative enough.
“So, the President constituted a new panel chaired by the Vice President. The panel has some governors and some leaders of the party as members. They were asked to go and review the list,” he explained.
He said that between the compilation of the list and its announcement, the APC could not stop people from dying but assured that all dead appointees on the list will be replaced.
Efforts to get the spokesman of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Mohammed Nakorji, to comment on the development were not successful.
Daily Trust on Sunday had reported that the refusal of many states, especially those controlled by the APC, to forward their nominations was partly responsible for the delay in the inauguration of the boards.
President Buhari had on 16 July, 2015 dissolved the governing boards of many of the federal parastatals, agencies and institutions.
The former SGF Babachir Lawal on October 26 that year inaugurated an eight-man committee headed by himself on the reconstitution of the boards.
A source told Daily Trust on Sunday that the controversial list contains over 60 percent of the initial nominations by the Babachir Lawal-led committee despite protest of some governors and party bigwigs.
He said, “These controversies would have been avoided if some people, especially the governors, had not protested. I can tell you that many of the initial names were also the same names forwarded by the governors except in few cases.”