Faux Pas In The Presidency By Ebuka Nwankwo

The presidency has finally released the long awaited appointments into the governing boards of parastatals and agencies. The list consists of 209 board chairmen and 1258 board members. But like many things the presidency has done in the last few months, it was fraught with errors.

Similar mistakes were made a few weeks ago when the presidency released the list of appointments the president has made since he assumed office in May 29, 2015. It turned out that many names were missing from the list and that some titles were wrongly assigned to some appointees. There were also some other errors that make one wonder how proficient the initiators of the list are with Microsoft Excel.

The first glaring mistake in the just released list was the appointment of Late Donald Ugbaja. Thelate deputy inspector of police was appointed into the Consumer Protection Council. Ugbaja, who hails from Delta State, died last November. His death was widely publicized and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa even poured encomium on Ugbaja, who he described as a gentleman.

You could excuse the presidency for having Ugbaja’s name on the list because he died a few weeks ago. But it is difficult to justify the inclusion of members who died many months ago on the list.

The list hadLate Senator Francis Okpozo, who died in 2016 at 81 and hails from Delta State, as the chairman of the board of the Nigerian Press Council.Interestingly, Buhari sent a condolence message to Okpozo’s family in 2016.

Same mistake was made with Reverend Christopher Utov. Utov, founder of Fidei Polytechnic, who died way back in March, was appointed as a board member of the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research.

A number of appointees in the just released list must have been submitted by party leaders from states in line with President Buhari’s directive to compensate stakeholders in hisparty. According to Lai Mohammed, the president gave party leaders some criteria in selecting these potential appointees.

Ordinarily, these appointees should havealso been screened by the presidency and contacted immediately before the list was released. And if this was done, it could have saved the presidency the embarrassment of appointing people whose deaths were widely publicized.

These mistakesgo a long way in showing the quality of research and due diligence conducted at the presidency. And if basic records like these are hard to keep in the presidency, one wonders how more complex research that could influence policies are conducted at that the highest level in Nigeria.

A case in hand is the lack of deep thinking in the fuel supply problem that has bedeviled the country, which some key members of this administration argued that there wasn’t anything like fuel subsidy. Sadly, it has become apparent that unappropriated subsidies are being paid by this government.

Research and record keeping are basic things any government should take time to do properly. And if these aren’t done properly, it would surely reflect on the quality of governance.


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