Magnus Eze, Enugu
President Muhammadu Buhari has once again appointed a dead person into the board of one the federal government agencies.
The dead man is Chief Tobias Chukwuemeka Okwuru, the member-nominee for Ebonyi State, listed as number 12 in the president’s letter to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; he died on February 27, 2020.
The president had in compliance with section 154 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), in a communication to the President of the Senate, dated March 18, 2020, requested for confirmation by the Senate, the appointment of 38 nominees as chairman and members of the Federal Character Commission (FCC).
Okwuru aka Aliezza as he was fondly called was a former member of House of Representatives (2011-2015).
His bid for reelection on the platform of Labour Party (LP) in 2015 failed after he dumped his former party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Okwuru and his supporters later joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) after he lost his case at the Election Tribunal and Appeal Court.
He was also the pioneer chief whip of Ebonyi State House of Assembly (1999-2003) and a one-time commissioner in the state.
Former Commissioner for Information in Ebonyi State, Dr Chike Onwe, an indigene of Ezza South Local Government Area, where Okwuru hailed from, posted on his Facebook page, on Tuesday, when the late nominee’s name was announced in the Senate, that Buhari should leave them to mourn their dead.
“PMB, please, in God’s name, leave us alone to mourn our dead. Keep your belated appointment!,” Onwe said.
Another Ezza indigene, Comrade Kitzito Nwankwo also lamented the death of the nominee on his Facebook page.
Nwankwo wrote: “How I wish you’re here to hear your name reverberating in the chambers of the National Assembly as an appointee of Mr President.
“We all waited for it, and it came only when you had gone, deepening the hole in our hearts, reminding us the vacuum your departure created.
“For over four good years, you worked and hoped for today to come. You rejected advances from the main opposition party to your party, you kept faith with APC and trusted in Mr President.
“It’s a pity you’re no more here to receive the presidential handshake we had all expected on your swearing-in day.”
The last time such an inauspicious appointment raised eyebrows was in late December 2017, when Nigerians noticed that among a list of new appointments into the governing boards of agencies and parastatals were no fewer than eight deceased persons, among whom were: Late Reverend Christopher Utova as member of Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research; Late Senator Francis Okpozo as Chairman of Nigerian Press Council; and Late Chief Donald Ugbaja as a member of the Consumer Protection Council.