Nigerians criticising Buhari for appointing dead persons, ‘stupid, senseless’ — Sagay

Itse Sagay

A Nigerian legal scholar and supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday launched an attack on those scolding the president for offering federal appointments to dead persons.

Itse Sagay Chairman, a law professor, who now serves as the chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, said the fallout that greeted the appointments was unnecessary and those expressing outrage are “senseless” and “stupid.”

But a pro-democracy activist fired back at Mr. Sagay in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday morning, raising concerns that the law professor’s age might be taking a serious toll on his ability to the alacrity that comes with modern governance.

Mr. Sagay spoke with Daily Independent on Monday, three days after the presidency released the grossly erroneous list to the anger of Nigerians.

The appointments comprised 209 board chairmen and 1,258 board members.

Several commentators rebuked Mr. Buhari specifically for his alleged incompetence, tardiness and even corruption in releasing the list, which was later found to have included up to nine dead persons.

Some reports said the list also contained names of ex-convicts and appointments into a private firm’s board and a government agency whose board members are required to be elected by law.

The presidency explained over the weekend that the list was initially compiled in 2015, but a series of delays beyond its control left it untreated by the president for over two years.

Even this defence was immediately punctured by critics who spotted the appointment of Herman Hembe, a former Nigerian lawmaker who was only sacked by the Supreme Court in September 2017.

Some of those on the list, like Francis Opozo who was named as chairman of the Nigerian Press Council, died as far back as 2016.

In another twist, the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, apologised for Mr. Buhari’s naming of persons into the board of Nigerian Football Federation against the agency’s governing statute, describing it as an oversight that had since been corrected.

The presidency acknowledged several persons on the list were dead, but played it down as nothing serious since they would easily be replaced.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sagay saw the controversy from the same lenses in his interview with Daily Independent.

“The way I see these comments coming in over the list, it is like Nigerians are looking for something to quarrel about,” Mr. Sagay said. “A list containing so many names under preparations for that length of time should not surprise anyone that some of them had died as at the time the announcement was made two years later.

“To see that list and begin to quarrel about it seems to me a level of senselessness that I cannot imagine,” he added. “I regard their attitude as collective stupidity and evidence of idleness of mind.”

Mr. Sagay further slammed Nigerians as “Lilliputians” who dwell too much on trivial matters.

“Mr. Sagay clearly doesn’t appreciate the implications of the controversial list,” said Ariyo-Dare Atoye, the executive director of Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative.

He said the inclusion of dead persons shows that the list was not vetted and could have contained names of enemies of the state, or worse.

The pro-democracy campaigner said many of those on the list are unlikely to achieve much in their respective roles before they resign to run for office.

“We know that Segun Oni is on the list as the chairman of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, but he’s also eyeing the governorship in Ekiti State,” Mr. Atoye said. “This means that he might resign within the next three months.”

The activist said the consequences of the delay are far-reaching and should be glaring to anyone.

“It’s sad that someone like Mr. Sagay is no longer the same person we used to know in the past,” Mr. Atoye said.

“Otherwise, he would have been far more cautious about what he says in this matter. Like most Nigerians lately, I could only pray that the professor changed his way in this new year.

“That he would be more keen on preserving his image as people’s advocate than ruining himself in an attempt to give his principal the impression that he’s a loyal appointee,” he added.


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  • Nkem

    “A list containing so many names under preparations for that length of time should not surprise anyone that some of them had died as at the time the announcement was made TWO YEARS LATER.”

    So Mr. Sagay thinks that it is ok for a four-year tenured administration to make appointments and then release it after more than two years – barely one and half years to the end of its tenure? Unbelievable!!!

  • MP-001* [Joint Chief]

    Goodness me. Doesn’t blind sycophancy have a limit

    • Solomon Brown

      Not when it comes to bootlicks like Sagay.

  • thusspokez

    A Nigerian legal scholar…

    Could PT reporters cut the crap accolades and get to the news report? I have no interest in these people’s academic achievements or titles or both – only their arguments and logic, which many of them seem to be poor at.

  • thusspokez

    Itse Sagay Chairman, a law professor, who now serves as the chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, said the fallout that greeted the appointments was unnecessary and those expressing outrage are “senseless” and “stúpid.”

    The people and their governments. The former is the master and the latter the servant. If the master is not satisfied with any aspects of the servant’s service, it is perfectly legitimate for the master to highlight the failings of the servant to avoid future repeat of the failings or improve an unsatisfactory situation or both.

    Granted, what sort person would bring themselves to object to this process? Itse Sagay is clearly the stúpíd person here. Describing him as a professor of sort, only makes things worst. If in spite of being a professor, he is still this stúpíd, I cannot begin to imagine how much stúpíd he would be without (proper) education.

  • thusspokez

    “The way I see these comments coming in over the list, it is like Nigerians are looking for something to quarrel about,” Mr. Sagay said. “A list containing so many names under preparations for that length of time should not surprise anyone that some of them had died as at the time the announcement was made two years later.

    Mr. Sagay may not agree but Nigeria is a democracy with freedom of expression enshrined in its constitution. Further, billions of nairas of public fund go to pay the salaries of federal government advisers and civil servants in return for their professionalism. Where is the professionalism? Obviously, it is the lack of professionalism that had brought about the faux pas.

  • Romberg

    With people like this beside Buhari, you dont need enemies. What worries me is that Buhari seems to claim ignorance in these matters.

    The other time, people were labouring to get fuel. Buhari’s advisers think Buhari’s documentary will sooth the pain. And what was this about? Buhari’s funny side – he laughs while the rest of the country groans!

  • Say the truth

    All of you can now see that this psychopath called Sagay is shamefully and hopelessly deranged. Calling the rest of Nigerians names because they blamed his master is not only pathetic it is also unreasonable. This zombie has lost it because of filthy lucre.

  • abraham ayinde

    Dear Itse, see what age is doing to you? Is it not better you had died in your youth?

  • Okakuoofbenin

    So in summary, everybody here agrees that Itse Sagay is one of the dead bodies appointed by Buhari. Professor my ass

  • Intrepid

    SAN Sycophant. Shameless old Man!

  • Bakanridi

    Kudos Prof, for always telling the truth and standing by it. Besides, of what material benefit is this noise about? Enough explanation has been given by the Presidency. I am in support of your argument Prof. Keep it up and never keep quite or remain silent whenever the truth need to be told. HAPPY NEW YEAR PROF.

    • Bassey Frank

      Both of you are calibrated fools.

    • Kola Koleola

      Chalatant lasan lasan

    • Otile

      Allah. Instead of closing your stinky mouth in shame you are here defending the certificate forger and his horde of incompetent praise singers who feel no shame for including multiple dead people in public payroll. Moron.

    • Triple C

      Celebrating mediocrity huh! How can a human being think this way…

      • Bakanridi

        I really wonder how somebody that claims to be “educated/civilized” can think,behave and act like a dummy. This is democracy everybody is entitled to his view.

        • Triple C

          U mean he’s entitled to call us names?

  • ijelejames

    What type of professor is this? This person is supposed to be SAN. Nigeria is in trouble

  • Lanre

    Beware of pro-democracy activists.

  • Kola Koleola

    Prof Sagay, who did this to you? You who was once a beacon of hope at Uniben …From Prof Itse Sagay to Prof. Itsetse fly Sagay …. Oma se o

  • Musa M. Dantsoho

    “But a pro-democracy activist fired back at Mr. Sagay in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday morning, raising concerns that the law professor’s age might be taking a serious toll on his ability to the alacrity that comes with modern governance.”

    Who is the pro-democracy activist? Anyway, this type of rubbish can impress only PDP social media cheer group.

  • Triple C

    That nobody took time to verify d list is a show of incompetence…. Reason this country is in shambles….

  • Martins

    Mr. Itse Sagay, don’t forget hate speech is an act of terrorism please.