The Presidency has received knocks over the list of board appointments released by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday had approved the appointment of 1,467 Nigerians to fill the board positions of the agencies and parastatals of some federal ministries. The board positions consisted of 209 chairmen and 1,258 members. However, controversy began when it was discovered that four names on the list were those of people who are dead. The number of identified dead appointees on the list are: Senator Francis Okpozo, Rev Fr Christopher Utov, DIG Donald Ugbaja (rtd), Garba Attahiru Kaduna and Umar Dange Sokoto.
Okpozo, who was a senator in the Second Republic, was appointed chairman of the Nigerian Press Council, NPC, died in December 2016. Ugbaja, who died in November 2017, on the other hand, was a retired deputy inspector-general of police. He was appointed as a member of the Consumer Protection Council, CPC. While Utov, who was appointed a member of the board of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, was a former proprietor of Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko. He passed in March 2017 and the fourth person, Umar, a former emir of Katagum in Bauchi State died on December 9. He was expected to join the board of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, also in Bauchi.
The federal government also appointed Herman Hembe, a sacked lawmaker, as the board chairman of the Michael Imoudo National Institute for Labour Studies, MINLS. Hembe was on June 23, sacked by the Supreme Court of Nigeria as led by Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN. He was removed on the grounds that he did not win the All Progressives Congress ticket to represent Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituency at the National Assembly. The five-man panel of judges led by Onnoghen had declared Dorathy Mato as the winner of the primary election of the APC instead.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the controversy has embarrassed the President and they are indications that heads will roll. On its part, the Presidency has said that errors in the list will be corrected.
Senior Special Assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the history of the list, saying that it was prepared before President Buhari took ill and was released by the SGF without any alteration. He said the president requested for the submission of 50 names each by the state chapters of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in 2015, which were later complied by the national secretariat of the party.
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