The Buhari administration believes it is weathering the storm wrought by the disgraceful appointment of six dead persons among the 209 chairmen and 1,258 members appointed by the Federal Government.
The mood largely reflects the cool attitude of the media team that the appointed dead members will be replaced very soon.
“Whoever is dead will be replaced, said Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Shehu, who is well known for his gaffes and shocking statements, said that the list was prepared before President Muhammadu Buhari took ill and was released by the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha without any alteration.
The Presidential Media Aide who gave the history of the list, said Buhari 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.
Subsequently, he revealed, the names were submitted to the then SGF, Babachir Lawal but following complains from some governors who felt they were not carried along in the process, the president constituted a committee under Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to review and reflect the interest of the governors.
He noted that action on the report submitted to the president by the Osinbajo-led committee was delayed because of the President illness and his subsequent medical vacation abroad.
“This list 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 as 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 complied like over two years ago, obviously people would have died. Nobody can stop that from happening.
“Whoever is dead will be replaced. There is nothing extraordinary about it.”
The appointments which was released late Saturday night to mainly online media by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, read: “Mr. President considered the approval for the constitution of the Boards as well as the appointments, very necessary, so as to provide a proper Governance and oversight structure for Government Agencies and Parastatals. The constitution of the boards with the appointments, is a demonstration of this Government’s efforts aimed at building strong institutions of Governance, and by extension, improving the quality of Policy formulation and supervision.
“While these appointments represent a substantial number of hitherto pending board appointments, some more appointments are still being processed and will be released in due course.
“The appointments take immediate effect and Honourable Ministers are advised to inaugurate the boards after letters of appointment have been issued.”
These appointments are the single largest President Buhari has made since he took office in 2015.
The dead are Senator Francis Okpozo, who died at 81, in 2016, was named Chairman, Nigerian Press Council (NPC), Deputy Inspector General of Police and elder statesman, Donald Ugbaja (retd), appointed member of Consumer Protection Council and the founder of Fidei Polytechnic Very Rev Fr Christopher Utov appointed a member of the board of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research.
Umar Dange Sokoto, a former emir of Katagum in Bauchi state, who died on December 9th, was picked to join the board of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, also in Bauchi.
Also dead but appointed are Garba Attahiru Kaduna and Dr. Nabbs Igbokwe of Rivers State.