By Nwafor Sunday
The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-corruption PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay has on Monday slammed Nigerians for criticising APC led administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, over an error in the board members list during the weekend, saying that those criticising the presidency are collectively stupid and can be described as Lilliputians.
Sagay made the statement in an interactive session with newsmen.
Recall that Buhari has on 29th December 2017 approved the constitution of the Governing Boards of Agencies and Parastatals, under some Ministries, as well as the appointment of “eminently qualified Nigerians to fill the Board positions, numbering 209 Chairmen and 1258 members”.
Among these appointees were dead persons. They include several members of the National Working Committee NWC of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC and a hordes of other party stalwarts.
The National Legal Adviser of the party, Dr Muiz Banire chairs the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON. Other NWC members in the list are the party’s National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu who chairs the board of the Nigerian Communications Satellite NIGCOMSAT Ltd; its National Organizing Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso chairs the board of National Automotive Design and Development Centre (formerly National Automotive Council); Deputy National Chairman, South, Engr. Segun Oni (Nigeria Export Processing Zone); its Ntional Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi (National Sugar Development Council); and the party’s North west zonal vice chairman, Inuwa Abdulkadir who chairs the board of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC. APC’s Secretary, Mai Mala Buni heads the NIGERIA Shippers’ Council while its Deputy National Chairman North, Sen. Lawal Shuaibu heads the Federal Housing Authority. Other party. Executives heading various boards Zakari Idde and Sen. Ayo Akinyelure while a former Deputy governor of Plateau state, Dame Pauline Tallen, Gen. John Shagaya, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora and many others are also heading different boards. A former Governor of Ekiti state, Otunba Niyi Adebayo is also to chair the board of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN.
However, the presidency has through the President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu admitted the errors and said “no human undertaking can be free of mistakes”.
Read Sagay’s full statements bellow
“What I find irritating is the so-called outrage by the Nigerian elite that in a list of almost 3,000 people nominated for various agencies, five or six had died.
“And there is a general pretence by the Nigerian elite that it was of huge, monumental importance; that it shows incompetence and all that.
“I ask myself: a list that has been under compilation for over two years, revised and re-revised, do they expect that about 3,000 people would all still be alive after two years?
“If not, do they expect the Presidency to go knocking from door to door 24 hours before the announcement to ask who was dead or alive, or to ask if they would survive until the announcement? Are they supposed to have done that?
“So, the whole thing (criticisms) is extremely unreasonable.”
Sagay said the critics reminded him of Lilliput and Blefuscu, fictional island nations that appear in the first part of the 1726 novel, Gulliver’s Travel,by Jonathan Swift.
“In the book, the nations are inhabited by tiny people who are about one-twelfth the height of ordinary humans. They went to war. What did they go to war for?
“Lilliput believes an egg should be broken from the small end before it is eaten, while Belfuscu believes it should be broken from the big end.
“This gives the impression that the Nigerian elite are filled with Lilliputians, who quarrel over nothing and ignore major issues of importance. And I call this collective stupidity and idleness of the mind,” Sagay said.
Asked if the Presidency should not have verified the list and ensured the appointees were ready, and whether he was absolving the Presidency of blame completely, Sagay said: “I am absolving them of every blame.
“And I am very annoyed with the Presidency for looking apologetic over it. As I said, we’re talking about 3,000 people.
“At what stage should they be checking? Can they verify 3,000 names in 24 hours? Suppose they do it one week before announcement and someone died in-between? Is it their fault too?
“So, since nobody can guarantee life, out of 3,000 within two years, there is nothing unreasonable about that.
“Those vacancies will be filled, and Nigerians should stop quarrelling over nothing and start taking on more important things. They should not behave like idle minds.”