By Emman Ovuakpori
ABUJA—Former Minister of Education and first Director General of Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, yesterday, advised President Goodluck to stop presiding over meetings that involved award of contracts.
She also urged members of the National Assembly to kick against the proposed amendment to the Public Procurement Act, 2007, to make the President chairman of the National Council on Procurement, NCP.
Ezekwesili, who advised President Goodluck Jonathan to steer clear of the proposed amendment as it was against global best practices in procurement, gave the advice at a two-day interactive session organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement on the procurement processes with stakeholders.
She said the world over, Presidents and ministers had no business awarding contracts to its citizens, stressing that there was a plan to amend the Public Procurement Act to make way for the President as chairman of the NCP.
Dr. Ezekwesili advised President Jonathan not to allow himself to be misled.
She said: “I learnt that there is a move for an amendment of the legislation, PP Act, in order to give the chairmanship of the council to the President. Why would anybody do that? He should not allow anybody to do that to him.
”The man who is carrying the elephant cannot be using his feet to look for a cricket. To make the President chairman of the National Council on Procurement is totally not the most effective and most efficient thing to do in the arena of public policy. If you understand what I’m saying, understand it; if you don’t understand it, oho.”
She argued that it was not late for Nigeria to start moving in the direction of other prosperous nations, noting that President Obama needed not to call cabinet meetings to discuss contracts.
Ezekwesili added: “The prime minister of Singapore does not call cabinet meetings to discuss contracts.
”What business does a President or minister has sitting with a contractor in a meeting? That is not what their contemporaries do in other nations.
“Whereas the leaders of other nations spend their times thinking about vision, strategy and policy, the others spend their time haggling over contracts. It is time for FEC to let go of spending its time on mundane things.”