LAST week, Nigerians woke up to a rude shock with the announcement of the disgraceful exit of several Directors-General (DGs) of agencies and parastatals and of thirteen university Vice Chancellors. Many of the sacked technocrats have served brilliantly in their respective postings while others have done their best with the available dwindling national resources at their disposals. Even if we do not consider them to saints or sinners, we do know that many of them are equipped with a litany of academic, cognate experiences and professional acquirements that befits their respective posts.
In sacking the experienced technocrats mentioned below, President Muhammadu Buhari may have fallen for the narrow-minded and egotistical considerations of party hawks, who have been demanding for the termination of former President Goodluck Jonathan appointees. Whether this action is a positive or negative track in our democratic dispensation that requires our leader to promote an inclusive and patriotic social democracy devoid of party pressures, tribe, tongue or ethnicity, public pundits may yet give us an answer. What is certain is this. We have, on the one hand, an assemblage of change-obsessed triumphalists, with their pressures on President Muhammadu Buhari to unfold radical plans (that may be inimical to the new administration) and, on the other hand, those with a troubled suspicion that important parts of the vision of the President’s radical steps may have calcified and become obstacles to real change. Of course, Nigerians expect President Muhammadu Buhari to be determined, swift, zealous and radical but not tyrannical. Whatever he does in the realms of the economy, corruption, even security, the provision of infrastructural facilities, etc. must be governed by the RULE OF LAW and the DUE PROCESS OF LAW to avoid slipping into slippery slope of tyranny.
We are of the opinion that the mass sacking of the Directors-General and the Vice-Chancellors is tyrannical, hasty and ruthless. The action omitted all the canons of decorum and decency, which must be applied to public office-holders, especially those who have been diligent and patriotic in the heat of duty. The palpable party prejudice aside, the action of President Muhammadu Buhari seems emblematic of a dictatorial and militaristic approach to national challenges on a democratic terrain. We dare say that President Muhammadu Buhari’s susceptibility to political combat rather than social solidarity will open our democracy to internal conflicts and socio-political cleavages if there continues to be absence of informed judgment on national issues.
A cursory analysis of the mass disengagement exercise would reveal that Buhari usurped the statutory functions of the Governing Councils of the Universities, whose statutory duty it is to appoint and remove University Vice-Chancellors. As for the DGs, some or most may have appointments with statutory flavour, those whose appointments cannot be determined without statutory notices. The DGs’ replacements were not thought of beforehand, that is, before the termination of their appointments, the evidence being that they should merely hand over to “the most senior officers” in their agencies or parastatals! If it took about four months to constitute a cabinet, it will certainly take an aeon to replace the sacked DGs!! May we also add that everything should not be reduced to politics: government is supposed to be a continuum.
Below are the names of all the sacked “bad” agencies’ and parastatals’ heads, embodying massive intellectual and professional qualifications:
The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) – Sola Omole; Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) – Ladan Salihu; Voice of Nigeria (VON) – Sam Worlu; National Orientation Agency (NOA) – Mike Omeri; Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) – Emeka Mba; News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) – Ima Niboro; Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) – Femi Ajayi; New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – Ibrahim Mayaki; Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) – Juliet Ngozi Olejie; Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) – Denzil Kentebe; Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) – Gimba Ya’u Kumo; Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) – Prof. Suleiman Bogoro; National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) – Peter Jack; Petroleum Equalization Fund – Asabe Asmau Ahmed; Nigeria Railways Corporation (NRC) – Bamanga Tukur; Bureau of Public Procurements (BPP) – Emeka Ezeh; Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) – Ngbede Oloche; Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) – Farouk Ahmed; Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) – J.I Odumodu; National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) – Paul Orhii; Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) – Uju Aisha Hassan Baba; Bank of Industry (BoI) – Rasheed A. Olaoluwa; National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) – Onyeka Onwenu; National Orientation Agency (NOA) – Mike Omeri; Industrial Training Fund (ITF) – Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko; Nigerian Export-Import Bank – Roberts U. Orya and National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic In Persons (NAPTIP) – Beatrice Jedy-Agba.
President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) may have succeeded in removing the old landmarks of the PDP (Jonathan’s) appointees, but Nigerians will watch the impact and positive difference which the new appointees will make (if austerity will allow them to be appointed before the end of the year).