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Sunday, 31 December 2017



•‘DSS failed in background checks’

•Unpardonable national embarrassment –PDP

•SGF, Buhari boys not serious –Lawyer

•APC’s National Secretariat compiled list

Controversies yesterday, trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s list of over 1950 board members for Federal Government agencies and parastatals with the inclusion on the list of, at least, six dead persons. The President appointed Rev Christopher Utov as a member of Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Rev Utov, the proprietor of Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko passed away on March 17, 2017. The President also appointed Chief Donald Ugbaja as a member of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC). Chief Ugbaja, a former DIG of the Nigerian Police, died on November 29, 2017.

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The third man Senator Francis Okpozo was appointed as chairman of the Nigerian Press Council. Okpozo, a senator in the Second Republic died on December 16, 2016. Other dead persons appointees are: Garba Attahiru (Kaduna); Umar Dange (Sokoto); and Dr. Nabbs Imegwu (Rivers State).

Speaking on the controversies, an elder statesmen and the former Leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said it’s a pity for such to be happening in Nigeria.

When he was contacted by Sunday Telegraph, he spontaneously said, “Is that so?

Hahaha! It’s a pity. It’s unfortunate. That shows you the kind of person the President is. He doesn’t even know those he is leading. There is no hope for the country under this government. I’m really tired of this government,” he added.

Also reacting, an Abujabased political and legal analyst, Barr. Charles Ndukwe, said: “It’s a pity that such a thing could happen. How can six dead persons be included in the President’s appointment list?

That means there was no security check to determine whether the persons are security threat to the country.

“Usually, there is a background check on the proposed appointees duly perfumed by the Department of State Services (DSS), to ensure that such persons do not have any criminal records that would affect the office. If they did such, there is no way this grave mistake would arise.

“Mr. President cannot do this alone. It is either the people around him are not serious or they are fraudulent. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) is supposed to be aware of this.

There is no other way for me to explain this rather than to say that Buhari’s boys are not serious.” But Lagos-based business mogul, Mr. Michael Opene, has a different opinion on the issue.

He believes that the names were fraudulently added to be either replaced with their candidates later or to take retain them as ghost workers and take their salaries.

“If it were one person, it would have been understandable but one, two, three, four, five, six, is more than a mistake. All the same, this is the country we are in.

We have seen cases of ghost workers in Nigeria. So, it is not a new thing in Nigeria but it’s unfortunate. “We have said it severally that Buhari’s handlers are his worst enemies.

How can Buhari face the international community with this kind of shame? We said it before and we are saying it again, Buhari should overhaul his cabinet,” he said.

Also reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the inclusion of deceased persons as members of the newly constituted federal boards of parastatals and agencies by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government is an unpardonable national embarrassment.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, yesterday, said the development has further confirmed PDP’s position that the APC’s administration is completely confused, disorganised and grossly incompetent to administer the affairs of the country.

He said: “Nigerians can now see why the nation’s economy has been in 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.

“This inability to tidy up a simple issue of list of 209 appointees has completely exposed the extent the APC’s government is bereft of simple organisational skills to manage a country like Nigeria, which is in dire need of development.

“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?”

The party also noted that the mix up in the list exposed the corruption in the APC government, and urged Nigerians to disregard the lame excuses by the government but to hold them responsible for the country’s woes in the last two years.

“The fact is that the government of our dear country has been in wrong hands in the last two years and the situation will continue to worsen unless the nation is rescued from them in 2019,” the statement warned.

However, the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, had acknowledged and apologised for the mix-up, saying that the list has a history, which explains the controversy around it.

He said: “In 2015, Mr. President requested all state chapters of the party to submit names of 50 party members for board appointments. The names were compiled by the national secretariat of the APC and forwarded to the then SGF, Babachir Lawal.

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“However, complaint arose from some governors, who felt they were not carried along in the process. To answer this, the President constituted a committee under the vice president to review and reflect the interest of the governors.”

Shehu said action was delayed on the report of the committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, as President Muhammadu Buhari took ill.

“The President’s trips for medical attention abroad slowed down completion of the process. The current SGF was only directed to complete that process by releasing the list, which he apparently did without altering it,” Shehu explained.

Meanwhile, the Osun State House of Assembly under the leadership of its Speaker, RT. Honourable Najeem has congratulated the government of the state, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, indigenes of state and the new appointees who have been appointed as chairmen and members of Federal Government Boards and Agencies.

The Assembly men also felicitated with the former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Sola Akinwunmi on his recent appointment as the Chairman, Oodua Investment.

The Chairman House Committee on Information and Strategy, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, in a statement, in Osogbo, said, the appointment displays the Federal Government’s belief in equal representation to enhance true democracy.

He then charged the appointees to be outstanding in the discharge of their duties and be good ambassadors of Osun State.

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