- The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the president to withdraw the list of appointment of board of agencies
- SERAP said the withdrawal of the list will eliminate any danger to the integrity of the boards
- The organisation also said allowing the appointee to continue as board members of various agencies would only put the competence, merit, equity, aptitude and conflicts of interest of the appointees in doubt
A civil society organisation, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the newly released list of appointments to the boards of agencies and parastatals.
SERAP said the withdrawal of the list will eliminate any danger to the integrity of the boards.
The group also said the removal will give the civil service the opportunity to make the appointments in strict conformity with established rules and Nigeria’s international anti-corruption obligations and commitments.
In a statement released by the organisation's deputy director, Timothy Adewale, SERAAP said the appointment of eight dead people as board members would only suggest that the over a thousand appointment just approved by the president were unscreened.
Adewale said such action would also put the competence, merit, equity, aptitude and conflicts of interest of the appointees in doubt.
He said: "Going ahead with these appointments would neither advance due process nor Buhari’s oft-expressed commitment to prevent and combat corruption but create a lack of trust and confidence among the general public.”
“Withdrawing the appointments and directing and allowing the civil service systems to follow due process to reappoint chairpersons and members to the boards of these agencies and parastatals would bring the government’s practices and operations into conformity with Nigeria’s international anti-corruption obligations, particularly the UN Convention against Corruption. Nigeria has ratified the convention.
It’s absolutely important for Buhari to ensure that the process through which board appointments are made is transparent and merit-based.
A merit-appointment system would produce a better qualified board, and ultimately improve the governance architecture and access of Nigerians to essential public services. It should be the practice of this government to make board appointments on the basis of ability, and not because of political influence or connection.
Taking these appointments out of the hands of a small elite group and strengthening the civil service systems and allowing them to deal with board appointments and other similar appointments in a professional, efficient and effective way would greatly decrease political influence or bias in the appointment process, and make the operations of these agencies and parastatals less dependent on partisan politics, which would in turn help improve the ability of the government to deliver effective policies and the much-needed good governance, growth and development to Nigerians.
Letting the civil service systems get on with board appointments would also assure basic bureaucratic ‘hygiene,’ and help to facilitate the establishment of strong boards that would be better placed to ‘deliver the goods’ to Nigerians in the democratic context. It would ultimately bring about higher effectiveness and improved government legitimacy.
Specifically, Article 8 of the convention makes it mandatory for the government to promote integrity in public administration and to synchronize systems, measures and mechanisms for handing out public jobs. Similarly, Article 7, paragraph 1, requires the government to establish and strengthen systems for board appointments based on the principles of transparency, efficiency, and objective criteria such as merit, equity, and aptitude.
The government is equally obligated to establish systems to prevent conflicts of interest and influence peddling in board appointments," SERAP noted.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that the wife of one of the deceased appointee said she was surprised like everyone else to see her dead husband's name on the list of appointments.
Anna Okpozo said blames President Buhari's staff and not him for failing to properly vet the selection process before publishing the list.
Also some lawyers have expressed disappointment at the errors which they described as unfortunate.
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