SERAP, Ezekwesili, others react to Buhari’s controversial board appointments

Oby Ezekwesili
Oby Ezekwesili [Photo: Daily Trust]

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has expressed disappointment at the board appointments recently made by President Muhammadu Buhari which contained names of dead persons and duplication of names. The group also urged the president to withdraw the list in order to remove a clear and recognisable danger to the integrity of these bodies.

SERAP also admonished the president to allow the civil service systems carry out the appointments.

The appointments of 209 board chairpersons and 1,258 board members were announced on Friday. PREMIUM TIMES reported some of the controversies surrounding the appointments such as the inclusion of dead persons and the duplication of same names on different boards.

Among the dead persons appointed is Christopher Utov who was appointed a member of Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research. Mr. Utov, the proprietor of Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko, died on March 17.

Others include Donald Ugbaja who was appointed a member of the Consumer Protection Council, CPC. Mr. Ugbaja, a former deputy inspector general of police, died on November 29, 2017.

The presidency on Saturday tried to explain the inclusion of the dead persons, saying the list was compiled in 2015.

In a statement signed by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, SERAP said appointing at least eight dead people as board members would seem to suggest that the 1,467 appointments approved by the president were unscreened for competence and merit.

“Going ahead with these appointments would neither advance due process nor Buhari’s oft-expressed commitment to prevent and combat corruption. It would create a lack of trust and confidence among the general public.

“Withdrawing the appointments and directing and allowing the civil service systems to follow due process to reappoint chairpersons and members to the boards of these agencies and parastatals would bring the government’s practices and operations into conformity with Nigeria’s international anticorruption obligations, particularly the UN Convention against Corruption. Nigeria has ratified the convention.”

The organisation further urged Mr. Buhari to ensure that appointments are transparent and based on merit, adding that a merit-appointment system would produce a better qualified board, and ultimately improve the governance architecture and access of Nigerians to essential public services.

“It should be the practice of this government to make board appointments on the basis of ability, and not because of political influence or connection,” it said.

Similarly, a former minister of education and leader of Bring Back Our Girls movement, Oby Ezekwesili, has expressed her reaction to the controversial board appointments.

Ms. Ezekwesili, in a series of tweets on her verified Twitter handle, expressed disappointment at the presidency for releasing such list as well as defending the errors contained in the list.

“Some “mistakes” are simply indefensible. Who is that defending that a significant # (2, 3 or 4? Which? ) of dead people are on an appointment list of the FG .@AsoRock that the President, @MBuhari signed off on? Haba. This is the height of what Feyi calls, “anyhowness”. #Tragic,” she stated.

While urging the presidency to show penitence in its activities, she said, “There is a Golden Rule in Strategic Communication of Policy where you are advised to “own the fiasco….eat the humble pie….. show penitence….. ride the storm…. avoid any braggadocio….just pray the media & public show mercy & move on.”

Below are reactions of other Nigerians to the presidency’s goof.


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  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    No, the Presidency cannot make mistakes and therefore can never apologise even in clear cases of incompetence.

    APPOINTING 3 DEAD PERSONS AS BOARD MEMBERS CAN ONLY HAPPEN IN A ZOO , THAT IS NOT ENOUGH, NIGERIANS ARE EXPECTED TO SWALLOW IT HOOK ,LINE AND SINKER BECAUSE IT CONCERNS “gOD” BUHARI .

  • Liberty

    Much ado about the wtongful inclusion of 5 or is it 6 names on a list of over 2,000+ board appointments just released by FG.

    While, the error is quite regrettable I am still at a loss why so much hell is being let loose over the matter. For God’s sake, this is Nigeria!

    The ommission, and if you like commission could not have been the worst gaffe by this regime or any regime in this country.

    At a time of crushing pains from the seemingly intractable fuel crisis, some interests wants Nigerians to believe the board appointment gaffe is calamitous enough to warrant drawing the daggers against PMB and his regime.

    This, to me is simply absurb! Rather than continuing to mount pressures on the administration to remain focus and determined in its efforts to rescue the ship of state from the deadly clucthes of the greedy predators, these interests are threatening rainstorm and thunder over 5 board appointments, out of how many.

    Our country is indeed fantastic.

    • Mayo

      You totally miss the point. The fact that the FG could release a list that they said was prepared about 2 years ago without bothering to carry out any verification (2 years after) is seen as a synonym for how governance is being conducted and how the country is being run. For crying out loud, the average person knows to double check their work before submitting it, especially if it’s something you did years ago.

      To compound the issue, instead of the FG (via their media aide) to eat humble pie, they are trying to justify this action. This is also another synonym for Govt’s hard-headedness when it comes to issues. It portrays the government as one that is unwilling to accept criticism, one that is unwilling for some introspection and one that will always continue down a path even when the path is wrong because they never see anything they do as being wrong/incorrect.

      • Kallah Bature

        Pure opposition coming from people sympathetic to the opposition period.What has a simple mistake got to do with purposeful,serious and anti corruption approach of this decent government?

        • Mayo

          1) A list that was prepared 2 years ago and then published (2 years later) without a review is NOT a simple mistake. It is gross incompetence. It also does not portray the government as being serious.

          2) Dismissing the mistake as not scandalous (as the President’s spokesman has done) compounds the issue.

  • Mizch

    PMB is sick and sick people do not read nor revise papers, unless you have never been sick. Unfortunately his sickness has affected the Nation. Yet he holds on to his version of integrity. Now he enters Guinness Book of Records as one who appoints “dead people” to serve the living.

  • emmanuel

    Why do people loose sleep over this appointment? When i said Buhari has been rejected by God, so many people were not happy with me. But what we see daily since his return from exile in the UK point to the fact that he has been overtake by the spirit of error.
    There is no single thing, outing or statements he made since then that indicate someone who is in his clear state of mind.
    2016 AND 2017 budget proposals were filled with so many cut and paste details some from 1984.
    Unfortunately, he gathered people of yesterday as his strategist, think tank and image makers.
    What a waste of time, money and destiny.
    Unfortunately, what was meant to be a contemporary member of the team – Kemi, also does not have brain, while the ehad of the economic team is a serial liar Pastor who does not have a way with figure or time

  • emmanuel

    Buhari is not interested in governance, because he like the devil came to kill – herdsmen, steal from NNPC, and destroy through recession, depression and goaless leadership.
    Wetin concern am with list?
    Let him tell us about MTN fine, Non trial of Mr. Oke, Grass cutter, Abba Kyari, Burutain, Magu, Dambazzau, Mahmud Yakubu of INEC.

  • Annabelle

    Nigerian federal and state governments have had dead people on their pay rolls since time immemorial! It’s laughable that Nigerians are now alarmed. Because, that was one of the issues Murtala Mohammed tackled when he came into power in 1975 until his assassination, as Nigerians are good at killing their competent leaders with assistance of their foreign cohorts who do not want the country to escape its comatose state. It’s only logical that if there can have dead people on the payroll for decades, they might as well be directors on a board! Another method of theft! Talk about corrupt stupidity at its peak!

  • Curtx Maccido

    Very soon femi adesina and garuba sheu will be sacked and replaced with dele giwa….to be honest, am still struggling with how managers of N7 trillion budget will announce DEAD PEOPLE as members of agency boards. It’s scary and disappointing….but the most disappointing is the arrogance of the FG communication team, so so disgraceful and pathetic!

  • Pluti

    Nobody has resigned, nobody has been sacked, nobody has taken the blame for not reviewing names for agencies that serves the system of Nigeria to function to par, at least to build the foreign exchange issues to par too yet Muhammadu Buhari wants to still contest by 2019? Even in a poor home, reviews are made daily cos it requires little or no expense. Honestly from the heart how can an individual think you can reduce people’s senses and insult them to their face and expect them to accept you again? GEJ was a curse to Nigeria, this administration is just another curse and it’s still ongoinG