Outrage over six dead appointees on Buhari’s board list

There was outrage on Saturday over President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of dead people into boards of Federal Government agencies.

Prominent lawyers and civil society groups, in separate interviews with NationReformer.com, said the inclusion of dead people on the list of appointees was a demonstration of incompetence by the Buhari administration.

They noted that the appointments, which were made two and half years after Buhari’s assumption of office, should have been done without errors.

Some of the dead persons on the list released included late Senator Francis Okpozo, who died in December 2016 but was named the chairman of the board of the Nigerian Press Council.

Another was Donald Ugbaja, the late Deputy Inspector General of Police who died in November but listed was as one of the members of the Consumer Protection Council.

Also on the list was the late founder of Fidei Polytechnic, Rev. Christopher Utov, who died in March but was listed as a board member of the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Included on the list was the late Alhaji Umar Dange, an APC leader in Sokoto State, who was appointed as a board member of the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta.

Similarly, Kabir Umar, a former Emir of Katagum in Bauchi State, who died on December 9, was on the board of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi.

According to TheCable, another appointee, Ahmed Bunza, died at Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, and was buried May 22.

Bunza was reported to be a staunch supporter of the APC. He served as the sole administrator of Jega Local Government Area of Kebbi state.

This govt is confused —CD

The President, Campaign for Democracy, Usman Abdul, said, “This tells you how confused the leadership of Nigeria is. First, you will realise that coming up with a list of such significance requires careful scrutiny.

“The release of the faulty list shows that neither the President nor his aides has the memory of the people they are ruling at heart, otherwise, they would have spotted the errors.”

Also, the CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, described the development as “quite unfortunate.”

Ugwummadu said, “It is a sad commentary. In a country where we have surplus disciplined and credible people for appointments, it shows that background checks were not done before the list was released.

“There should be a rigorous investigation as to how such names found their way into the appointments.”

Presidency not serious—Ali

Also, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Yusuf Ali, said the shocking discovery showed that the Federal Government was not diligent in its responsibilities.

He said, “The constitution of the boards has been long overdue. This government came to power about two and a half years ago. The discovery shows that the list was compiled a long time ago and due diligence was not done before it was released.

On his part, the Second Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Monday Ubani, described the appointment of dead persons into the Federal Government boards as unfortunate.

He said, “It is unfortunate that the President delayed in doing most of the things he was supposed to do; and those things have come to haunt him.

“It is obvious that the dead people were appointed after they died. It does not speak well of any serious government that dead people are appointed into public offices.

“Had it been that they were appointed as of the time their names were submitted, this embarrassment would not have happened.”

Shehu Sani, Junaid Mohammed knock Buhari

The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, and a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, have described the controversial list as belated.

Sani, in his tweets on Saturday, said Buhari should have posthumously honoured those who were deceased on the list instead of giving them appointments after their death.

Mohammed on his part said, “The list confirms a trend that has been the hallmark of this government since it took power in 2015. It shows how unprepared the President and the cabal in the Presidency are for the serious work of governance.”

Buhari condoled with Okpozo’s family –Afenifere

Also, the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, criticised the Federal Government, describing the blunder as an untidy approach to governance.

The spokesman for the group, Yinka Odumakin, said some officials should be sanctioned for the embarrassment.

He added, “To have one dead person on the appointment list is scandalous, but to have many shows lack of thoroughness, no attention to detail. And, if this is the way our lives are being run, it is very shameful that the government at the highest level cannot sort the living from the dead.”

Presidency dismisses criticisms, says nothing scandalous

But the Presidency said there was nothing “scandalous” or “extraordinary” in the inclusion of the names of some dead persons in the list of appointments into the boards.

It said the list was prepared over two years ago and nobody could stop some of those included on the list from dying between then and now.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.

According to Shehu, the process of compiling the list started in 2015, while a reviewed list was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 shortly before his health challenges.

The presidential spokesman said, having recovered fully, Buhari only instructed the new SGF, Boss Mustapha, to release the list.

He assured Nigerians that the nominees who are dead would be replaced.

Shehu explained, “This 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.

“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.

“The panel did its work and turned in its report early in 2017. The President had his health challenges during that period.

“Now that he is back and strong, he asked the SGF to go and release the list. So, the new SGF did what he was asked to do. There is nothing scandalous or extraordinary about what has happened.

“If a list was compiled over about two years ago, obviously some people would have died. Nobody can stop that from happening.

“Whoever is dead will be replaced. There is nothing extraordinary about it.”

APC, PDP clash over controversial list

The Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday described as an unpardonable national embarrassment, the appointment of deceased persons into the various boards of federal agencies by the Federal Government.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbodiyan, said in a statement that the development had further confirmed the PDP’s position that the APC “administration is completely confused, disorganised and grossly incompetent.”

He added that the development exposed Nigerians to the level of recklessness and shoddiness inherent in the management of the nation under the APC.

Ologbodiyan noted that the situation also revealed why the nation’s economy is in a shambles under the APC.

He wondered how a government which could not tidy up a routine issue like board appointments for over two years, could successfully handle the complex issues of governance.

“Nigerians can now see why the nation’s economy has been in a shambles 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,” he added.

Ologbodiyan asked Nigerians to disregard what he described as lame excuses by the APC government, urging Nigerians to hold them responsible for the woes that have befallen the country under President Muhammad Buhari.

But the APC described the PDP as sore losers for “making a fuss over the secretarial error which led to the inclusion of deceased persons’ names on the list of board appointments.”

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, said, “It is pathetic that the PDP has yet to overcome its loss of the 2015 elections. They should get used to the fact that we are in government and in power.

“It is becoming laughable that even if a NIPOST member of staff fails to deliver a letter they claim it is evidence of APC’s unpreparedness.

“How can they say a secretarial error involving five names out of over 300 is a sign of failure? This administration is focused and will not be distracted.”

Family members, Nigerians express shock

Anna, the wife of the late Chief Francis Okpozo said she received the news of the appointment of her deceased husband by President Muhammadu Buhari with surprise.

The widow, however, told NationReformer.com on Saturday that she did not take offence at the development.

The late Okpozo, a former senator in the Second Republic, who died on December 26, 2016, made the list released by the Presidency alongside his son, Harrison.

Mrs. Okposo described her late husband as one of the founders of the All Progressives Congress, and a close friend of the President.

She said, “Although the news of my late husband’s appointment raised some concerns, I will not take it in bad faith.

“If he was aware that his (late Okpozo) name was on the list, he (Buhari) would have corrected it.”

“I am not taking offence at all because, as a President, he cannot know everything about everybody in the whole country. Maybe he had delegated the selection to some people to do and they did not consult but just published it (list).

“I cannot cry over spilt milk. He is gone; the living can forge ahead. But I commend him for remembering my son.”

Meanwhile, Harrison, the second son of the late Okpozo, has described the ‘posthumous appointment’ of his father by Buhari as an honour of the Second Republic senator.

Harrison, who was appointed as a board member, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, said it was regrettable that his father never lived to witness his appointment.

Also on Saturday, Bunde Upurugh, a nephew to the late Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Chris Utov, whose name made the list, described the appointment as a belated honour.

He further said the Federal Government recognised the contributions of the late Rev. Utov to the development of the nation.

He said, “The sad thing is that the appointment came many months after he died. Why did it take the Federal Government over two years to appoint board members?”

Upurugh is the Dean, Student Affairs of the Fidel Polytechnic, Gboko, which was established by the deceased.

In Sokoto, Alhaji Hassan Umar, a relation to the late Alhaji Umar Dange, told NationReformer.com that the publication of his deceased brother’s name on the list was a great embarrassment.

He said, “Dange died early this year. He was a great politician and I am not aware that he was ever given any appointment in his lifetime.

“This is a clear demonstration that President Buhari is not in control of his administration.