President Muhammadu Buhari on 30 December announced the appointment of chairmen of the 209 boards of major Federal Government agencies, as well as the appointment of another 1,258 members of Boards and Parastatals. What attracted public attention in the appointments was the announcement of the names of the dead as members of boards and even as chairman of one of the boards.
Presidential spokesmen, in defending the appointment of dead people into boards, admitted that the list has been prepared in the last two years but was only released last week, obviously without any efforts to scrutinise and vet it for accuracy, competency and integrity of those being appointed. The list was just simply moved straight out of the cupboard and sent to the public.
This is a clear indication that the purpose of the appointment is not necessarily guided by the need to ensure that those being appointed have the capacity to deliver on the job that they are being asked to do but more on the need to reward those who supported the party to win the elections and also to entrench loyalty. This is simply job for the boys or girls as far as the Presidency is concerned, hence there were no need to vet it.
It is a huge betrayal of the much talked about “change” mantra on which this administration was elected. There is nothing really wrong in giving job to the boys or girls but at the minimum and in line with the much-hyped ‘change’ mantra; there should have been some effort to ensure that the right people were put in the right places.
Another huge betrayal is the much talked about quest to run a lean government. More than a thousand people have just been appointed to consume government’s increasingly lean resources.
But still sitting unimplemented is the Oronsonye civil service reform report, which recommended a drastic cut in the number of parastatals in a bid to save costs. This government, like previous ones, that commissioned the report, has failed to take action on it.
The lure of political patronage through the handing out of government appointments is obviously stronger than the higher need for financial and governance discipline. Like previous governments, this government is satisfied with the status quo. Change was just an election bait that got them power. It has no place in governance obviously.