Abuja – President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday directed the Minister of Finance and Health to advertise the vacant positions of chief executives of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for competent Nigerians to apply.
Jonathan gave the directive when he handed over awards to six eligible winners of “You Win Programme” at a Presidential Award Ceremony in Abuja.
The President said that all vacant Federal offices would now be advertised to enable competent Nigerians apply for such jobs.
He said that henceforth, all appointments into sensitive government offices would be based on merit, adding that the era of Godfatherism was over.
“This administration is committed to make changes. The feeling that a Nigerian must know somebody who knows somebody who will talk to somebody before he gets something must end. And we are beginning to demonstrate that even in our political appointments in some of the political offices.
“We have decided that some of these political offices will be advertised for all Nigerians to compete and we will select the best.
“Recently, we wanted to appoint the MD and the Executive Directors that will be in charge of our Sovereign Wealth Fund and they were advertised to all Nigerians. You don’t need to know Mr President to get the job as long as you are competent. ”
Jonathan said that the position of the Executive Secretary, National Insurance Scheme, and that of the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), would soon be advertised to enable government select competent persons for the two offices.
He said the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, had already been directed to set up bodies for the selection of the best candidates to fill the vacant positions.
“And recently, I have directed the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and the Hon. Minister of Finance to advertise two positions, Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service will be advertised for all Nigerians, I don’t need to know who will be there and then of course the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“These are very, very sensitive offices that so many people are clamouring for them. We have directed that the Hon. Minister of Health should also advertise and get a neutral body to interview and get somebody.
“You don’t need to know any politician to be there. We are going to do that for some of these sensitive offices that we need professionals. ”
The President said that his administration had started off a litmus test that would resolve the issues bordering on “Godfatherism when appointments are to be made into public offices. ”
Jonathan stressed that it was the same reason the winners of the You-Win programme were not picked according to their states of origin but based on their achievements.
“Time has come for everyone to realise that where you find yourself as a Nigerian should be known as your home. ”
President Jonathan urged the awardees to work harder with dedication and integrity to ensure that the goal and aspirations of the programme were met.
According to him, the beneficiaries have become extra ordinary Nigerians that should lead in youth patriotism and on selfless services.
In his remarks, the Minister of Youth Development, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi, thanked the president for spearheading the smooth implementation of the You Win Programme.
No fewer than 1,200 participants emerged winners in the first batch of the programme with six of them winning the Presidential award of N500,000 each from a commercial bank. (NAN)