The Labour Party and its standard bearer in the last presidential election, Peter Obi, have kicked against the offer of board slots to state governors, including those elected on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party, by President Bola Tinubu.
Kwara State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, disclosed at a meeting of the forum in Abuja on Tuesday night that the President asked the governors to nominate competent persons to serve in the boards and parastatals of Federal Government agencies which were dissolved last month.
The dissolved boards were among the 209 constituted by former President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2017.
No fewer than 2,000 vacant positions on the boards were expected to be filled by new nominees.
Notable agencies include the North-East Development Commission with 12 vacant board slots, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission with seven board seats; Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, seven; Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, 21; Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, 12; National Universities Commission, 21 and Transmission Commission of Nigeria, 14; National Health Insurance Authority,12
Others are the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, 7; Nigerian Meteorological Agency, seven; Nigerian College of Aviation Technology,8; Nigerian Police Trust Fund, 8; Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency,10; Federal Institute of Industrial Research, 11 and National Centre for Technology Management, 11.
Also on the list are the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, 11; Nigerian Customs Service, 11; National Pension Commission, 17; National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons, 11; National Identity Management Commission, 19; West Africa Examination Council, 8; Niger Delta Development Commission, 13; National Institute of Sports,12; Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company,12; National Bureau of Statistics,15; Federal Inland Revenue Services, 15; Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, 8 and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency,7, among others.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the NGF meeting on Wednesday, Governor Abdulrazaq said the members of the forum resolved to commend the President for extending an opportunity to the governors to nominate board members across the party lines.
The governor also disclosed that that forum received briefings from the National Emergency Management Agency and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency on the cases of flooding across the country and moves adopted so far to curtail them.
This is just as they also played host to United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed alongside Nobel Peace laureate and UN Ambassador of Peace, Malala Yousafzai who is in Nigeria for girl-child advocacy.
The state chief executives expressed their readiness to partner with the UN and Malala Fund in advancing gender-responsive and inclusive policies, including access to quality education for girls and other affirmative actions across the country.
At the end of the meeting, the governors resolved to adopt strategies to address incidences of natural disasters at the local government and community levels, to prevent the loss of lives and properties.
The communique read in part, “Members (of NGF) resolved to commend the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President, Bola Tinubu for showing leadership by extending the opportunity to governors across party lines, by asking them to nominate competent people from their fold for appointment into boards of parastatals.
“The forum received a briefing from the Director Generals of the National Emergency Management Agency and Nigerian Meteorological Agency on the incidence of flooding across the country and deliberated on urgent proactive measures to save lives, livelihood, critical infrastructure and safeguarding national food security.
‘’Members resolved to collaborate with relevant agencies at arriving at a comprehensive and federation response while leveraging the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction, Annual Flood Outlook, flood risk maps, and the Climate-Related Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Strategy.
“National Emergency Management Agency briefed governors on how to achieve shared goals of building a safer and more resilient Nigeria in the face of the growing rate of occurrence of disasters globally.’’
The statement further said, “NEMA called on state governors to set up functional State Emergency Management Agencies, Local Emergency Management Committees and community volunteers with adequate legal backing, funding and trained manpower to:
“Support knowledge, assets and experience sharing between states, NEMA and other responsible partners.
“Support the signing of Mutual Aid Agreements between states as disasters hit different geographical spaces at different times.
“Encourage private sector participation as part of its corporate social responsibility and foster policy alignment and community engagement for Disaster Risk Reduction.’’
“According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, every United States dollar invested in risk reduction and prevention can save up to $15 in post-disaster recovery.”
The communique also noted that the governors urged NEMA and NiMet to develop a comprehensive partnership framework to drive their engagement with states.
The governors further commiserated with their Plateau and Zamfara states’ counterparts, Caleb Muftwang and Dauda Lawal, respectively, over the senseless killings in some parts of their states.
They solicited the cooperation of the Federal Government in safeguarding lives and properties across the country.
But commenting on Tinubu’s offer of board slots to the governors across party lines, the LP described it as a ‘gimmick’ to lure the opposition governments and chieftains into the ruling party.
The Chief Spokesman for Obi-Datti Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko stated such a subtle move ‘’will not change the fact that Tinubu’s presidency is an illegitimate government.’’
He said, “APC is doing everything in their crooked book to ensure they legitimize this government, which we have resisted vehemently. We will only do what is rightfully ours when the court makes its decision and pronouncement.
‘’But as far as we are concerned, every attempt we see them do is a means to cajole people to believe and legitimize their government. That is the truth about it.’’
Tanko wondered why the APC would want to appease the sole LP governor with board offers when the party has hundreds of supporters in Abia State that could be given board appointments.
He added, ‘’Sending letters to state governors is part of the process of legitimizing their governance, which we are resisting. At the moment, LP has only one governor. The belief is that the governor may likely dance to their tune.
‘’But the truth about it is that will the APC tell you they don’t have party people in Abia State that they can nominate? Why must they go through the governor to do so? What they are aiming to do is to indirectly co-opt him into their party. That’s the truth.”
Speaking in the same vein, Obi’s media aide, Tai Obasi, said as much as what the president is attempting to do appears positive, it is not enough to legitimise his government.
“It is obviously a gimmick. Of course, you know the man (Tinubu) and the problem he is facing in court. It is easy for one to see what he is trying to do even though it looks positive though.
“But again, the oppositions are not fools. As we are concerned, we still see his government as an interim one,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has said it cannot comment until its governors took a position on the offer.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, said, “I am not even aware that the President has asked the governors to make their nominations to the boards of parastatals.
‘’I have not spoken with the PDP governors and until I do so, it would not be appropriate to make a comment on this on behalf of the party.”
On his part, the PDP presidential candidate in the last election, Atiku Abubakar said a reaction is unnecessary.
Speaking through his media aide, Mr Paul Ibe, the former Vice President said, “It is not within our purview to react to issues like this. So, no comment”
But the Social Democratic Party commended Tinubu for the initiative which it said would bring about national integration.
Speaking with our correspondent on Wednesday, the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Rufus Aiyenigba, described it as a good development.
“This is a good development, and it shows the commitment of President Tinubu to engendering national integration and a government of national unity towards sustainable growth and development. It is commendable that he wants to harness all good hands to contribute their quota to national development,’’ the SDP spokesman submitted.”