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BREAKING: Ebonyi Govt confirms appointment of dead official by Buhari

The Ebonyi state government has acknowledged the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a dead man, late Tobias Chukwuemeka Okwuru, into the Federal Character Commission (FCC) board.

POLITICS NIGERIA reported how Mr Buhari named late Okwuru among 37 others into the commission, established to implement and enforce the Federal Character Principle of fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socio-economic infrastructures among the various federating units of the country.

Mr Buhari announced the appointment after it was ratified by the Ahmed Lawan-led Senate.

Speaking to this paper on Wednesday morning, the Chief Press Secretary to Ebonyi state Governor, Francis Nwanze, made it known that it is a common knowledge that Mr Okwuru had died.

Although he does not want to be quoted verbatim, Mr Nwanze stated that he is aware of the recent appointment by the Federal Government.

POLITICS NIGERIA understands that Mr Okwuru died at age 59. Born on August 26, 1961, the late Okwuru gave up the ghost in February 2020.

He was the Ward Secretary of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Amudo/Okoffia ward between 1991 and1993. He proceeded to be the Councillor of Amudo/Okoffia ward between 1996 and 1997; Supervisor for Works, Ezza South Local Government Area in 1997; State Administrative Secretary, Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), among other positions.

Between 2011 and 2015, Mr Okwuru represented Ikwo/Ezza South Federal Constituency in the 7th House of Representatives. However, this is not the first time Mr Buhari will appoint a deceased into pivotal government offices.

This paper recalls that the same scenario played out in 2017 when not less than 6 dead persons were appointed into boards of Federal government agencies. 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.

Another was Donald Ugbaja, the late Deputy Inspector General of Police who died in November but listed was as one of the members of the Consumer Protection Council.

Also on the list was the late founder of Fidei Polytechnic, Rev. Christopher Utov, who died in March but was listed as a board member of the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Activists kick

Human rights activists have however moved against the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari. Constitutional lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, described Mr Buhari as being incompetent of governance.

“The government is a government of a fed person. Since this government came into power, Mr Buhari has demonstrated unparallel incompetence. During the first tenure, it took him more than six months to appoint his cabinet yet he appointed eight dead people. Same has repeated itself again”

He decried that the dead are getting recognitions than the living under the administration of President Buhari. “I think what the President did was to appoint representatives for Nigerians that are dead,” Effiong said.

Another activist, Festus Ogun termed the action of the President a national embarrassment and monumental disgrace.

Mr Ogun who spoke with our reporter on Wednesday said: “If the President can consistently appoint the dead in a list of living appointees, then we should be more troubled about the dangers ahead.”

“As much as humans are prone to errors, there are some things completely unacceptable from the leadership of our country who are paid handsomely to do the job. I cannot guarantee the competency of anyone who keeps appointing the dead to sensitive offices. We must all be worried and the President, most respectfully, must be properly guided,” He added.

Presidency, Senate keep mum

The Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has refused to answer telephone calls from our reporter.

Also, the spokesperson of the Senate, Ajibola Bashiru, did not pick phone calls put across on Wednesday to seek clarifications on the new appointments ratified by the legislative arm.

Both spokespersons, however, did not respond to text messages containing the enquiries sent by POLITICS NIGERIA.

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