A civil society group, Centre for Leadership Legacy Int’l (Centre LLI) has cautioned President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to avoid people with failed past leadership engagements into his government as public servants in his government.
Specifically, the Centre LLI warned against prioritising party patronage over competence, character, pedigree and track records.
A statement signed by Executive Director of the Centre, Dr Yakubu Yiri Idris, reminded the president that the buck stops on his table, and that if he fails to meet the expectations of Nigerians on account of appointment of people of questionable character, he has posterity to contend with.
In the statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, the CSO told Tinubu categorically that no one will share the blame with him if he allows politicians with selfish motives to misguide him.
It specifically gave instance of former Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), who it said is being paraded before the president for appointment after she was eased out of office following allegations of sleaze, high-handedness and abuse of office.
The Group decried the brazen manner in which Hadiza Bala-Usman terminated NPA’s relationship with Intels despite the enormous contribution of the company to Nigerian ports development, including lifting revenue accruals from ports to enviable hieght.
“As MD of the agency, Hadiza Bala-Usman severed NPA’s relationship with Intels, notwithstanding the huge amount of revenue and infrastructural upgrade that the company brought to the Authority.
“The Port facility at Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT) Onne is the biggest and most modern of such facility in Africa. The huge development was engendered by the revenue generated from service boat operations where Intels served as the monitoring agent for the Authority.
“Before the outsourcing of the service to Intels for management, the Authority was earning a paltry sum of $6million per annum from service boat operations, but when the company took over, it deployed modern facility and expertise, helping to grow the revenue from about $6million in 1998 to over $200million per annum.”
The CSO alleged that practically every decision Bala-Usman took while in office was to benefit her personal interest and those of her cronies, adding that she exhibited gross incompetence.
It said, “As growing oil and gas economy, the need for the development of an oil and gas logistic zone in replica to what obtains in the East was necessary. Just like Intels that took a lead in the development of oil and gas logistics base in the East, Messrs Ladol limited also took a lead in the west. However, following the mismanagement of the dispute between Ladol and one of its tenants, Messrs Samsung ltd, the matter became an issue of litigation and eventual intervention by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation following a presidential directive.
“The lack of respect for public policy and procedure resulted in the former NPA Managing Director flouting a Presidential directive on the settlement of the dispute by acting in a manner that controverts the Presidential directive through wanton and reckless abuse of discretion. This action also resulted in spending scarce government resources in defending the action instituted in court by Samsung. ”
The CSO asked President Tinubu not to place too much emphasis on political patronage in appointing his ministers and other officials of his government.
“It’s time to go for competence and character and pedigree. Nigeria is already at the precipice and we cannot afford to toy with its destiny any further.
“Our note of caution to the president is against the backdrop of the purported plans to pressure him into appointing people who were found to have abused their offices in the past.
“There are reports that there are plans to impose certain persons whose track records are tainted on the President for appointments into his cabinet. The need for the President to appoint individuals of unblemished character is more urgent now than ever.
“We’re sounding this note of warning because, as we speak, the President is being bombarded with names from every nook and cranny of our country. Worse still, political jobbers are at their games, peddling names of likely ministers that will be appointed to work with Tinubu. Some of those names are people with questionable character, pedigree and blemished track records of public service.
“The most worrisome of those names being peddled around is a former managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who was disgraced out of office because of allegations bordering on corruption, high-handedness, disloyalty, arrogance and breach of due process with reckless abandon,” Centre LLI stated.
Speaking on additional criteria, Centre LLI explained that though some constitutional provisions mandate the president to pick a minister from all states of the federation, in doing so, he should however be careful not to appoint who will pose to be liability to his government, instead of asset.
“Care must be taken to avoid appointing caterpillars and cankerworms into the new government. Doing so will be heartbreaking for Nigerians given that they believe in the redemptive hope that Tinubu’s government holds for the country,” it noted.
The CSO explained further that the Bola Tinubu government holds redemptive hope for Nigeria, hence the people are waiting with huge expectations, which the president cannot afford to disappoint.
The Centre urged President Tinubu to exercise restraints in the appointment of ministers and other officials of government, noting that “the success and failure of any government starts with the calibre of people appointed into positions.
“It will amount to playing Ostrich, if we tread old paths and expect a positive change. Tinubu has a golden opportunity to rework Nigeria. We would be behaving like the Ostrich if we continue to repeat old mistakes and expect our system to get better. Tinubu has a golden opportunity to rewrite the history of this country. And that can only be possible if he avoids politicians like a former MD of the Nigerian Ports Authority and her ilk, who for the pursuit of pedestal interests short-changed Nigeria.
Disregarding this warning, the Centre for Leadership Legacy Int’l warned, may bring despair and despondency to Nigeria and Nigerians.
“In governance, like any other facet of human endeavour, trust is the coin of the realm. If a new government starts appointing people who are already known to be of questionable character, it will be a recipe for dashed hope,” it stated.