Metro SERAP Urges Buhari to Withdraw Appointments to Board of Agencies

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the list of appointments to the boards of agencies.

The group stated that the list was a recognizable danger to the integrity of these bodies, adding that the withdrawal of list would enable the civil service systems to carry out the appointments, in strict conformity with established rules of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday, announced the appointment 209 board chairmen and 1,258 members of government owned agencies and parastatals.

The late Senator Francis Okpozo and seven other dead persons were in the list.

SERAP in a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, said, “Appointing at least 8 dead people as board members would seem to suggest that the 1,467 appointments approved by Buhari were unscreened for competence, merit, equity, aptitude and conflicts of interest. Going ahead with these appointments would neither advance due process nor Buhari’s oft-expressed commitment to prevent and combat corruption. It would create a lack of trust and confidence among the general public.”

“Taking partisan politics out of the appointments to boards of agencies and parastatals is one surest way for Buhari to show that his government is truly one of change, that would do things differently from successive governments that apparently handed out board appointments to reward party members, supporters and cronies.

“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 anticorruption 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.”