Presidential committee on federal board appointments chaired by Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, has submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari, our reporter learnt yesterday.
A member of the committee, who spoke in confidence, said: “We did what we were assigned to do and you should know that it is at the discretion of the Mr. President to act on it.
“Ours is to collate names from all the states in the federation, looked at the credentials of the nominees and then advise the president on where they should be placed.” A government official, who did not want his name in print as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, blamed the current economic recession in the country, security clearance and federal character balancing as some of the reasons for the delay in constituting the boards.
Our source said a number of recommendations were said to have been turned down by the Presidency, which is presently considering complaints from top APC chieftains, traditional rulers and groups across the country.
He said: “We know the committee had concluded their job, but many personalities, including traditional rulers especially from the North, were still meeting Presidency officials apart from petitions across the country.
“If not for the decisiveness of President Muhammadu Buhari the knotty issue of the NIPOST Postmaster General would still not have been resolved.”
On why President Buhari has not applied same decisiveness in the other appointments, the official said the many interests and conflicts had to be resolved to avoid embarrassment and division.
The delay has led to grumblings within the ruling party across the country. Supporters and chieftains of the APC, who worked for the success of the party during the 2015 general elections, said they had laboured in ‘vain’, having wrestled power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“We deserve to be compensated after sweating to install this government but here we are, completely left not only in the dark but suffering in excruciating poverty,” said a chieftain of the APC in Bauchi state.
“The normal tradition is that immediately after winning election, either at the state or national level; those who worked for its success are considered for membership of boards. This is what the PDP did in its 16 years at the helm of affairs but the APC… it is something else,” he said.
Another member of the APC from Kano, Yunus Aliyu, accused party leaders at the state and national levels of not doing enough to compensate members.
“Our leaders at all levels are weak, it seems they don’t have the guts to tell the president of the dangers in leaving the APC faithful redundant,” he said.
It was gathered that there are over 500 federal government agencies whose boards have not been constituted.
In many of them, those at the helm of affairs were appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as compensation for PDP members.
Buhari in October last year empanelled an eight-member committee, mostly drawn from the ruling APC to compile names of prospective appointees into federal government boards of parastatals and agencies.
The committee chaired by the SGF had Alhaji Mai Mala Buni (North-East Zone), Alhaji Zakari Ede (North-Central), Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir (North-West), Chief Hillard Etagbo Eta (South-South), Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West), Chief Emmanuel Eneukwe (South-East) as members while Mr. Gideon Sammani, a Senior Special Assistant to the President was Secretary.
The boards were initially to be announced in January but when the list was submitted to Buhari, he returned it to the committee on the grounds that most of the nominees “have skeleton in their cupboards.”
Chairmen of the APC in some states said they were under intense pressure from members over “compensation for a job well done” that culminated in the ouster of the PDP.
Some APC members said they were running out of patience and asked President Buhari to compensate them before it is late.
A former Youth Director of Masari Restoration project in Katsina State, Mustapha Radda said most of those who worked tirelessly for the victory of the party had been neglected.
He said Katsina state Governor Aminu Masari has failed to secure state or federal appointments for some of the party’s loyalists saying people who had done nothing were given. “We have resolved to move out or embark on massive sensitization of voting for personality not party,” he said.
Stalwarts of the APC in Cross River State said they had been sidelined at the centre after working for the party.
A member of the party in the northern senatorial district of the state, Norberth James said their patience was running out because the few appointments made by President Buhari did not favour them.
In Adamawa State, APC members have called on President Muhammad Buhari to hasten the appointment of loyal party members.
Some of the members, who spoke to Daily Trust in Yola, argued that those who worked for the victory of the party at the polls deserved the opportunity to serve the federal government.
A party loyalist, Muhammad Bello wondered why the President had not rewarded hundreds of party loyalists, who sacrificed a lot to get him elected.
Another chieftain, Dahiru Hammandikko emphasised the need for the party to identify qualified party members for appointment into federal positions.
He added that people who made immense contribution in uplifting the APC to victory ought to be rewarded.
When asked for comment, the Director Press, Office of the SGF, Bolaji Adebiyi said the SGF was not responsible for the appointments, pointing out such appointments were the prerogative of the President.
He however said that government would always act in the best interest of the nation.
The SGF Babachir David Lawal had denied a report that he was receiving kickbacks from candidates seeking board appointments.
Daily Trust reports that President Buhari recently approved board members for Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), but the boards are yet to be inaugurated.