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Outrage As Dead Appointees’ Names Buhari’s Boards Rise

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There was outrage, last weekend over President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of eight dead persons into boards of Federal Government agencies.
This follows the release of a list of 1,258 members into 209 boards of Federal Government- owned agencies and parastatals by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, last Saturday.
Prominent lawyers and civil society groups, in separate interviews, 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 (NPC).
Another was the late Deputy Inspector General of Police, Donald Ugbaja, who died in November, 2017, but listed was as one of the members of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
Also on the list was the late founder of Fidei Polytechnic, Rev Christopher Utov, who died in March, 2017, but was listed as a board member of the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER).
Others included on the list are 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; and Kabir Umar, a former Emir of Katagum in Bauchi State, who died on December 9, 2017, appointed into the board of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi.
According to the list, a staunch supporter of the APC, Ahmed Bunza, who died at Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, and was buried May 22, 2017, was also on the list, among others.
Condemning the appointment of dead persons into the boards, the President, Campaign for Democracy (AD), 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.”
The Centre for Democracy and Human Rights 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.”
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.
Also speaking, the Second Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), 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.”
The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, and a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, described the controversial list as belated.
Sani, in his tweets, said Buhari should have posthumously honoured those who were deceased on the list instead of giving them appointments after their death.
Similarly, Mohammed 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.”
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.”
But in a swift apology, the Presidency apologised for the errors, but quickly added that 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, who gave the explanation in an interview with journalists in Abuja, added that 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, and 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.”
However, the Peoples Democratic Party 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 in response, 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.”
Reacting to the appointment, wife of the late Chief Francis Okpozo, Anna, said she received the news of the appointment of her deceased husband by President Muhammadu Buhari with surprise.
The widow, however, said 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 speaking, a nephew to the late Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Chris Utov, whose name made the list, Bunde Upurugh, described the appointment as a belated honour.
He further said the Federal Government recognised the contributions of the late 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, said 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.

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No Party Can Win Election Fighting Itself, Wike Warns …Inaugurates Government VIP Lounge For FAAN

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has described as inconsequential confession of support by some politicians for Atiku Abubakar, if they are not working to mobilise grassroots voters to secure electoral victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Wike said it was the quantum of individual votes from units, local governments and states that would determine victory for the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubukar, in 2023 and not rumour peddlers.
He spoke, yesterday, at the inauguration of the new Government VIP Lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area, built by the Rivers State Government.
Wike said it was unfortunate that some politicians now based in Abuja, derive pleasure insinuating something against him to curry favour from the PDP presidential candidate.
“We are busy campaigning with our projects on how our party will win election in the state. Other people are busy in Abuja carrying rumours and gossips. We are busy here (Rivers) from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We’ll start Monday again, flagging off projects, commissioning projects that will sell our party.
“Every day in the newspapers, Wike did this, Wike did that, then, they will call the candidate, you see what I said about Wike today. Rent seekers. No job. Instead of you to do something that will make your party to win 2023 elections, you’re only busy, everyday Wike said this. When you heard from Wike I do not know. Maybe in your dream.
“You want to support the candidate, you’re not at home, and you’re in Abuja. Come home and campaign and work for the party. Stop this Abuja politics of carrying rumours to the candidate.”
Wike, who asserted that he was a practical and practicing politician, admonished that any party that wants to win election cannot be fighting itself.
“I think a party that wants to win election cannot, on their own, be causing problem for themselves.”
Wike pointed to how his administration has continued to flag-off and inaugurate projects that serve as evidence of fulfilled electoral promises, which have sustained the trust that the people have for the PDP in the state.
The governor expressed the belief that it is the services and projects that his administration has done that would sell the PDP to the electorate.
“We have said that whatever promise we have made, we are going to fulfil them before we leave office on May 29, 2023.
“And let me say; only one person can be a minister from the state. I would not be a minister. I am not a liability. Rivers State is an asset. If you don’t want to win election it is your business.
“I am not running for election. He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. So, allow Rivers State to continue to do what they are doing by using our projects to campaign to our people.”
Wike explained that though the Port Harcourt International Airport is owned by the Federal Government, his administration decided to build the VIP lounge in order to offer Rivers people the best.
He assured that the Rivers State government would cater to the maintenance of the building so that it can serve the people for a long time.
Wike also commended the indigenous contractor that handled the project for the tasteful structural work that was accomplished.
“And let me commend the contractor. Of course, he is an indigenous contractor from Rivers State and of Port Harcourt Local Government Area. This is a good job well done. See the quality of what has been done. You can see that the difference is clear.
“We are willing to support our own. But you must also give us that assurance that when the job is given to you, you will complete it without any problem.”
Wike directed the Commissioner for Works to ensure the immediate arrest of a contractor handling a road project for the Rivers State Government in Trans Amadi Industrial Layout in Port Harcourt.
The governor accused the contractor of having collected 100percent of the project sum, but has failed to deliver the job.
In a brief, Rivers State Commissioner for Special Projects, Deinma Iyalla, said the edifice depicts the detribalised nature of Wike, and also serves to market the state positively.
According to him, the entire project comprises of a one storey building that has main lounge, bar, kitchen and administrative section on the ground floor.
He added, on the storey floor, there are Presidential Lounge, Governor’s Lounge and Executive Lounge.
Iyalla further added that there was a screening building that has installed screening and scanning machines with office space for FAAN, and a security house that would serve as waiting place for drivers.

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Buhari Signs Bills On Electoral Act, Money Laundering, Terrorism, Others

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President Muhammadu Buhari has given assent to some major bills. The bills include: Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022; Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, repealing the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended; Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, which repeals the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013.
Others are, Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act, 1993 (Amendment) Act, 2019, for increased revenue; Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Amendment Acts of 2019 and 2021; Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022, which approves the seizure, confiscation and forfeiture of properties derived from unlawful activity.
The rest include, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Bill, the first legislation focused on curbing anti-competition practices, establishing the FCCPC; Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Establishment Act, 2018; The Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act 2021; Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2019.
The bill facilitates the identification, tracing, freezing, restraining, recovery, forfeiture and confiscation of proceeds, property, and other instrumentalities of crime as well as the prosecution of offenders in criminal cases regardless of where in the world they might be;
The president also signed an Act establishing the Police Trust Fund, which will improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force (2019). “ Nigeria Police Act, 2020 – the first comprehensive reform of Police legislation since the Police Act of 1943.
He also signed the Repeal and Re-Enactment of the Companies & Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, the first comprehensive reform since 1990; Not Too Young to Run Bill (2018), a Constitution Amendment Bill to reduce the age of eligibility for running for elective office in Nigeria; Nigerian Correctional Services Bill, 2019, the first comprehensive reform of prison legislation in close to five decades; Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, 2019 – the first anti-piracy legislation in West Africa.

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TCN Begs Electricity Workers To Suspend Planned Strike

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has appealed to the electricity workers to suspend their proposed strike billed to begin, today.
The Managing Director, TCN, Dr Sule Abdulaziz, made the appeal in a letter to the workers, yesterday, following their threat to embark on strike to drive home their demands.
The workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) had on August 15 directed its members to picket TCN offices nationwide on August 16, after which they would embark on strike on August 17.
The General Secretary, NUEE, Comrade Joe Ajaero, had in a statement, said the picketing was to protest the directive by the TCN board that all principal managers in acting capacity going to acting general manager must appear for a promotion interview.
Ajaero said the directive was in contravention of the workers’ conditions of service and career progression paths and alleged that it was unilaterally done without the relevant stakeholders.
Other issues raised include stigmatisation of staff from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation from working in other areas in the power sector and non-payment of the December 2019 entitlement of ex-PHCN staff.
Abdulaziz said: “We are pleased to inform you that management has suspended the said proposed interview for those on acting appointment of assistant general managers and general managers while we conclude discussion with the board.
“On the other two issues: circular from the office of Head of Service on the stigmatisation of the defunct PHCN staff; payment of entitlement of ex-PHCN staff by market operator, the management has contacted the Honourable Minister of Power for his further action.
“In view of this development, we appeal to your union to stay in action; please accept the assurances of our highest regards.”
Also, the Federal Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, in a letter dated August 15, 2022, to the union, said that the ministry was committed to proffering solutions that would be acceptable to all parties concerned.
“May we appeal to your great union to allow us two weeks from the date of this letter to address the issues and come up with proposals toward acceptable resolution of all issues,” he said.

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