President Muhammadu Buhari has made 141 appointments in 81 days, an investigation by Daily Trust has revealed.
The investigation shows that the flurry of appointments is the highest since assumption of office by President Buhari on May 29, 2015.
- New MD of TCN, 4 others get appointment letters
- Daily Trust’s editor-at-large appointed director at City University London
The surge in appointments by President Buhari into the boards of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) specifically started in early April, a period when the Federal Government imposed a total lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun states.
The latest move is a clear departure from the past when it took the president long time to make vital appointments, a development that earned him the nickname “Baba-Go-Slow.”
Experts have lauded the recent appointments, saying they would fast-track decision making.
The constitution of the boards of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) and nomination of ambassadors topped the list of the appointments.
On April 2, President Buhari approved the appointment of medical directors for the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State, and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jalingo, Taraba State, Bassey Edet and Aisha Adamu respectively.
Equally, on April 9, the president appointed Musa Ahmed as the Vice Chancellor of the newly established University of Agriculture, Zuru, Kebbi State.
On April 28, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read a letter on the floor of the upper chamber announcing the appointment of 38 persons to the board of the Federal Character Commission (FCC).
This was few days after a report by the Daily Trust which indicated that the commission would be left without a single commissioner as almost all the members had exhausted their tenure.
The agency was bereft of commissioners since 2019, and by February, 2020, only one, being the acting Executive Chairman of the commission, Amb. Abdullahi Halidu Shinkafi, was left. He retired in April, 2020.
To fill the vacuum, President Buhari appointed Muheeda Dankaka as the chairperson, with 37 others as members.
On May 2, President Buhari approved the appointment of AVM Muhammadu Alhaji Muhammed (Rtd) as the new Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); with effect from April 30.
As the spree of appointments continued, Buhari approved the appointment of Sunday Thomas as the substantive Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). Thomas replaced Mohammed Kari, who was in acting capacity.
Two persons were also appointed into the board of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), adding to the existing members raised since January 24, 2019.
The senate, on Tuesday, June 9, via official Twitter handle, announced the confirmation of the appointments of two non-executive directors for the NDIC and three members on the board of the Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC).
Those confirmed as non-executive directors for NDIC were Mrs. Diana Okonta, representing the South South; and Mrs. Ya’ana Talib Yaro for the North East.
The NDIC had operated for three years without board members.
Also, the confirmed board members for NLRC were Prof. Jummai A.M. Audi (North Central) as chairman; Bassey Dan-Abia (South South) and Mohammed Ibraheem (South West) as commissioners.
But on May 5, Buhari reconstituted the board of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) after five years and moved the agency to the Ministry of Finance, with the minister being the board chairperson.
Also, on June 15, 2020, Dr. Nnaemeka Ewelukwa was appointed by President Buhari as the new and substantive Managing Director/CEO of NBET. Dr. Ewelukwa replaces Dr. Marilyn Amobi whose tenure will end on July 24, 2020.
Before then, in a letter dated May 5, Buhari appointed Alwan Hassan as the acting Managing Director for the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) while dissolving the interim management team.
On May 6, President Buhari approved the appointment of a retired Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF).
Also appointed was Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto as executive secretary of the board.
On May 12, Buhari’s nomination of 42 ambassadors-designate, all of them career officers, was announced through a letter he addressed to the senate president requesting their confirmation.
The same day, President Buhari approved the appointment of Prince Paul Ikonne as the Executive Secretary of the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) for an initial period of five years, effective June 1, 2020.
On May 13, President Buhari unveiled his newly appointed Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, shortly before the start of the inaugural virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
On May 19, Buhari approved the appointment of the Chairman, BoT of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), in the person of Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam with effect from May 14, 2020.
Still, on May 19, the president appointed Mr. Lamido Yuguda as the substantive Director General for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and his commissioners.
Also confirmed were the appointments of six nominees as members of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). They are Salamatu Mohammed Bala (Adamawa), Alfred Egba (Bayelsa), Adamu Shettima Yuguda (Borno), Oladele Semiu Gboyega (Osun), Bello Abubakar Wamakko (Sokoto) and Ahmed Yusuf (Taraba). The Red Chamber, however, stood down the confirmation of Barr. Emmanuel Nwosu (Imo).
A day after Prof. Gambari assumed office on May 13, he acted on a letter from the Minister of Power, Engr. Mamman, requesting the removal of the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Usman Mohammed.
Four days after, precisely May 19, and about two months after that letter was first written to the late CoS, Abba Kyari, by the minister, Buhari gave the approval for the sack of the TCN MD.
The president then appointed Mr. Sule Abdulaziz as the acting MD of TCN.
In the same announcement, the government also confirmed the appointment of four TCN executive directors who had been in acting capacity. On May 22, Buhari appointed the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission for Ebonyi State, Prof. Godswill Obioma, as the Registrar/Chief Executive of the National Examinations Council (NECO).
On May 30, the president approved the reconstitution of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The reconstitution came after the expiration of the term of the board members appointed in 2016.
The new board that would be in place for three years include Mohammed Lawal (North West), Tajudeen Umar (North East), Adamu Mahmood Attah (North Central), Senator Magnus Abe (South South), Dr. Stephen Dike (South East) and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West).
The tenure of the old board constituted on Monday, July 4, 2016, by President Buhari expired last year. It was not constituted until after the death of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Kyari, who was a member.
The same day, Buhari approved the reappointment of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
On June 8, President Buhari sent the nomination of Her Lordship, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, acting President, Court of Appeal, to the senate for confirmation as President, Court of Appeal. The senate, on Thursday, June 11, confirmed the appointment.
On Tuesday, June 16, the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, announced that President Buhari had approved the appointment of 12 new permanent secretaries in the Federal Civil Service.
Daily Trust reports that despite the increased number of appointments and confirmations by President Buhari of recent, there are some people including the acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, who have been in acting capacity for long.
Recent appointments clear departure from the past
The president is known to have delayed appointments, including constituting his ministerial cabinet in 2019. And despite winning re-election on February 23, and taking oath of office on May 29, 2019, it took him nearly five months to make any appointment.
He made his first appointments after his re-election on July 5, 2019. Those appointed were Boss Mustapha as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the late Malam Kyari as Chief of Staff (COS).
He later constituted his cabinet and inaugurated 43 ministers.
In 2015, it took President Buhari about six months to appoint his ministers. That was the longest time for any Nigerian president since 1999. From May when he assumed office, there were no ministers until November, 2015.
Experts speak on appointments, actions
With the latest loads of appointments and actions so far, experts have poured in their reactions, saying the constitution and inauguration of the board members of the NDIC for instance would ensure maximum service delivery.
Dr. Binta Yahaya, an economics lecturer at the Yobe State University, said NDIC would work better and efficiently.
Dr. Yahaya said, “The period when the corporation was functioning without a board, the Federal Government was violating the act that established it.”
Dr. Yahaya added that the board should continue to work on enhancing corporate governance, which she added was a strong template for the supervision of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
An Abuja-based financial expert, Samson Simon Galadima, said NDIC with a board would function properly and guarantee the health of the economy through the financial system.
Galadima said, “I think it is too early to say the impact the board has had given that they are just over a year since their inauguration.
“However, the functions of the board would now be properly done since the board is now on board.”
FCC board may reduce job racketeering
Experts say the recent appointment of new commissioners and reconstitution of the board of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) have saved an agency hitherto on the brink of collapse. According to them, the job of FCC is not limited to ensuring equitable distribution of jobs, but also allocation of federal government projects.
An industrialist and CEO of Links Consulting, Abuja, Dr. Sunday Adewale, said the operations of the agency would be fully restored now, adding that with the new development, it would henceforth be bad market for job racketeering and nepotistic distribution of jobs.
Dr. Adewale said, “The commissioners will soon start meeting to consider recruitment requests from agencies. There is no way one of them will no spot an irregularity; if any.”
New CoS doing well
Reacting to the development, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Connected Development (CODE), Hamzat B. Lawal, said he believed that the new Chief of Staff was settling in fine and making some key adjustments around appointments and also for the president’s general daily governance structure.
Lawal said, “It was refreshing to have the president sent the nominations of the appeal court for confirmation to the senate and other developments.”