Following the appointments of ministers by President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on intensive lobbying for appointments into the boards of federal parastatals and agencies.
New Telegraph learnt that the national leadership of the APC has submitted a list of 1,850 party members to the Presidential Committee on the Reconstitution of Federal Government Boards of Parastatals, Agencies and Commissions, chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal.There are hundreds of federal agencies, parastatals and commissions.
Not all the 1,850 party nominees will be appointed into the boards. A source in the Presidency said Buhari is also looking beyond the list of nominees submitted by the party. The source said Buhari is giving consideration to some people who worked for his success and have been supportive of his cause, but are not on the party list.
Impeccable sources told New Telegraph that party leaders and members lobbied powerful forces in the APC at the state and national levels to be included in the list of nominees for federal boards. The lobby for the inclusion in the list was so intense that it caused disaffection in some state chapters of the party, which led to the submission of different lists to the APC national leadership.
It was learnt that those who were lucky to make the list of nominees have intensified efforts to ensure that they are made chairmen or members of powerful boards. A source told our reporter that some of the nominees are using their contacts in APC and the presidency to influence their appointments. New Telegraph was informed that party leaders at the state level, who could not make the list of ministers featured prominently on the list.
Some former chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who defected to the APC before and after the March\April general elections, also made the list of nominees. Usually, board appointments are reward for party leaders and chieftains.
This has been the practice since 1999. In the last administration, senior party officials and leaders were made chairmen of boards of federal agencies, parastatals and commissions. New Telegraph learnt that the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had requested the 36 states chapters of the party and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to submit a list of 50 members each for consideration and screening for appointments into the boards of federal parastatals and agencies. Oyegun, in the letter, gave November 30 as deadline for the submission of the list, which must be accompanied with their curriculum vitaes.
The APC national secretariat has, since, forwarded the lists to the Lawal-led committee, except those of some states where there are internal crises, which led to the submission of two to three different lists. “Some states with factions submitted about three different lists of nominees.
The national secretariat is trying to resolve the crisis,” a source said. Oyegun confirmed the submission of party nominees for consideration as board chairmen and members. “It is true that we requested our state chapters to submit the list of prospective board members and chairmen. We have sent the list of nominees to the presidential committee headed by the SGF for consideration,” Oyegun told New Telegraph. One of the nominees told New Telegraph that while it was not difficult for him to get his name on the list from one of the South-West states, he is pulling all the necessary strings to ensure that he makes the final list and be on important board. “As one of the leaders in the party, my name was among the 50 nominees from my state. But we, the nominees, are not leaving it at that; we are lobbying to ensure that we make the final list and allotted a good board,” the nominee said. Another nominee said the board appointment is meant for party leaders and chieftains who worked for the success of the party at the polls. He said there is no crime lobbying for consideration. “Don’t forget that I contested for the governorship poll in my state. The expectation was that I would make the ministerial list. But as it turned out, someone else got the slot. So, I’m hopeful that something tangible will come out of this. I’m consulting with those that matter to see that I don’t just be on a board, but where I can make impact,” a party leader told New Telegraph.
The Federal Government had, on October 26, inaugurated an eight-man committee headed by the SGF for the reconstitution of the boards of federal agencies, parastatals and commissions. Other members of the committee are: Alhaji Mai Mala Buni (North-East), Alhaji Zakari Idde (North- Central), Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir (North-West), Chief Hillard Etagbo Eta (South-South), Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West), Chief Emmanuel Enekwu (South-East).
Mr. Gideon Sammani is the Secretary of the committee. In its terms of reference, the committee is to determine and recommend to the president the governing boards of Federal Government parastatals, agencies and commissions to be reconstituted immediately; identify the available positions of the chairmanship and membership levels in each of the parastatals, agencies and commissions and to allocate the chairmanship and membership positions to each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The terms include receiving and screening of the nominees received from the states and the FCT, recommend the nominees to the president for consideration and approval. The committee is to also ensure balance in the distribution of board members along the geo-political zones of the country.
Despite the plan of the president to constitute the boards of the federal parastatals, commissions and agencies, many APC leaders and members are restive about the development. An APC leader told New Telegraph that members of the party believe that Buhari should first remove the chief executive officers and directors general of the federal parastatals, agencies and commissions before the appointment of the boards’ chairmen and members. The party leaders feel that the appointments of ambassadors and heads of the federal parastatals, agencies and commissions should come first before the boards.
“There is restiveness in the APC over the planned appointments of boards’ chairmen and members. We feel that it is like putting the cart before the horse. Many party members feel that the heads of the various parastatals and agencies should be removed first.
“The fact remains that over 80 per cent of the heads of the agencies and parastatals were appointed by the past PDP government. We believe that their loyalty is still with the PDP. So, we feel that the president should remove the PDP appointees before the constitution of boards’ chairmen and members.”