Saturday, 9 May 2015

President Jonathan’s Questionable Characters Over Political Appointments

By Polycarp Onwubiko.

It is irresistible to asseverate that when certain and somewhat mean, awkward and patently reprehensible things gain momentum in public governance especially at the Federal level, realistically minded, concerned and patriotic Nigerians would be unsettled, dejected and exasperated. 

This writer makes hold to say that it is a proven case of lack of morals, decency and gross disregard for the imperative of laying noble precedence that is behind the precipitately and haphardly done political appointments into the strategic federal government agencies, departments statutory commissions and parastatals by the obliviously crest–fallen and out-going president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
        There is no need for the flurry of political appointments into board membership of key offices in the federal governments when the president is expected to be very busy perusing through volumes of daily mails, memos in the office files and editing of write-ups in the handover notes by cabinet members for onward transfused to the winner of presidential election, General Muhammadu Buhari.  The enormous work of hand-over notes is better imagined than described given the fact that this writer is a seasoned and versed administrative staff on retirement. The hand-over notes of local government chairmen is burden-some, then come the bigger one for  the governors; talk-less of the president with  over thirty six ministries plus departments, agencies and statutory commissions.
It is lamentable that it is only in Nigeria that governance is not taking as very serious business. This naïve predisposition is the root and branch of bad governance accompanied by gross impunity, recklessness, pervasive corruption and lack of diligent monitoring of projects and sunday aspects of governance. Chief executives of the national and sub-national levels of government hardly deem it expedient, to sit down in the office and thoroughly read volumes of daily mails and peruse elaborate memos from the departments so as to profer realistic  directives for efficiency and effectiveness in public administration. Rather they prefer to embark on junketing to foreign countries, party meetings, religious programmes, funeral and wedding ceremonies. The fact is that rigging of elections do not allow serious minded people to be in elective positions who are fired by the zeal to work as seen in civilized countries of the world. Sadly, what is observed in public offices are lazy and despicable human beings and crass opportunities foised on the masses by conscienceless god fathers, primitive minded traditional rulers and basterdized party primaries to govern at the three tiers of government. Granted that vacancies need to be filled in the board membership of statutory commissions and headship of agencies, departments and parastatals but rationally-minded presidents and governors take their time to make such strategic political appointments. Employment and political appointments do not need to be haphazardly and precipitately done on the eve of leaving office so as not to have square pegs in round holes as it were. Since the political appointments could be delayed due to campaign and election matters, career officers in the offices are sufficiently capable of piloting the affairs since they are trained properly even when the units and departments are manned by professionals worth their salt.
        There has never been a time when political appointments in the   boards, commissions and headship of agencies and is very urgent without which disaster would fall. That is why president Goodluck Jonathan closed his eyes on the political appointments in the boards and some of the agencies for the period that spanned preparations for electioneering campaigns and elections. He accorded urgency and priority on the appointment of directors general for his presidential election campaign whereby after he had won, he could need many months to reorganize and inaugurate the new administration and cabinet members before looking in the direction of appointment of board membership and chief executives of departments and agencies  
        Since providence has denied him of a second tenure in office as president, decency  and morals would have made him to forget about the political appointments into the statutory commissions, agencies and other departments and directorates for the in-coming president to do, which have to be in the handover notes.  Well informed democrats have condemned the action. Prof. Itse Sagay reportedly argued that it is not only “immoral and politically immature but averse to democratic norms and practices world-wide”. Prof. Pat Utomi contended as follows: “the convention in countries where there are stable democracies is that once there is an incoming administration, the outgoing one typically does not make any major decision without consulting the incoming one. That is the tradition in the United States”. Wining of elections goes with distribution of political appointments as reward to party members and capable persons outside the party. It is therefore immoral to fill all the vacancies with the appointments on the nebulous contention that legally he remains   president till May 29. For instance, the appointment of  the former governor of a state who was the director general of election campaign in his geo-political zone to head a statutory commission  was ridiculous as it was laced with feverish appeal to have something to fall upon since his blurred vision in cross carpeting  to PDP has let to his political ruination. It is an act of desperation akin to a drowning man clutching at straws. It is also an attempt to evade the clutches of EFCC for hijacking local government council monthly statutory allocations for eight years and leaving the 21 local government areas dead even as he banqueted the monstrous illegality to his successor where local government chairmen cannot initiate and execute projects and settle staff and petty suppliers’ bills.   Again, the appointment of the minister of state into an agency is nauseating since the official is expected to automatically switch over to the new position after May 29. These precipitate and hurried appointments although legal, lacks moral underpinning    and remains balderdash which ought to be reversed by the in-coming administration.  The affected opportunists can go to law court if they are brazen–faced and desperate even as law courts have options in judgment.  It is pertinent to state that law devoid of morality is a farce and cannot advance   the cause of good governance and civilized setting which Nigeria needs in terms change mantra of the APC.

Mr. Onwubiko, an author and public affairs commentator wrote in from Awka, Anambra State.    



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