The Leadership and Dialogue Initiative, an NGO, on Friday criticised the process that led to the appointment of a new State Project Coordinator for the IFAD funded LIFE-ND, Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Project -Niger Delta.
The LIFE-ND, is an IFAD assisted project, with the objective of enhancing income, food security and job creation for rural youth and women through sustainable Agricultural enterprise development.
President of the NGO, Prince Chibuike Echem, who alleged ethnic bias in the selection process, said the IFAD-LIFE-ND interview held between Nov. 3 and 4, 2019, had raised a lot of credibility questions and backlash on Ngwa people of the state.
Echem expressed this view in an interview with Newsmen in Abuja.
“As an eyewitness, I observed with dismay the irregularities that transpired especially in the interview. It is indeed a mis-procurement to call candidates that did not apply or were not shortlisted to come and partake in the interview.
“But it should be brought to the limelight that IFAD and NDDC, with emphasis on Dr.Oyebanji Olusola that shifted the SPC interview from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is to blame, they indeed diluted IFAD and FGN (Federal Government of Nigeria) ethics.
“Though the Perm. Sec. of the ministry of Agric was the chairperson of the interview panel, he should have been objective enough to protect the integrity of IFAD, FGN and NDDC and ensure that the process was not abused.
“Rather he sold them all out for a pot of porridge, by aligning with the Permanent Secretary to bring in people that were not shortlisted, which is the bone of contention.
“On this note, I recommend that IFAD, FGN and NDDC, should always send people of integrity to such critical missions,’’ Echem stated.
According to him, such acts often give rise to ethnic tensions and cast aspersions on a particular tribe.
“On the other hand, I am proudly Ngwa, we are noted for equity and justice; the public should judge people as individuals, not as an entity, so a backlash on Ngwa people is unfair,” he said.
Echem advised the aggrieved parties to take their grievances to the Governor of Abia State, whom he described “as a noble Ngwa man that believes in justice and equity.”