Friday, May 1, 2020

President Buhari appoints dead man to run government agency

NIGERIA'S president was left red-faced after he appointed a man who died more than two months ago to a top job.

Muhammadu Buhari, 77, has previously appointed at least five other dead people to the boards of government agencies - meaning its the sixth time he's made such an error.

President Buhari - who is nicknamed "Baba Go Slow" - appointed Tobias Chukwuemeka Okwuru to Nigerian agency the Federal Character Commission.

He appointed the man despite his funeral taking place in February.

Applications for the job were reopened when journalists pointed out the error, with Mr Okwuru dying aged 59.

The president's aides have hit back and claimed the embarrassing mistake was actually down to the long screening process for the role.

It comes after he had previously handed out at least five top jobs to the dead back in 2017.

Among those promoted was Francis Okpozo, who had been dead for almost a year when he was named chairman of the board of the Nigerian Press Council.

President Buhari earned his nickname due to that fact he took six months to name his first cabinet in 2015.

And back in 2018 he was forced to deny rumours of his own death and that he had been replaced with a body double named Jubril.

He was previously Nigeria's military ruler for two years between 1983 an 1985 after leading a coup, and has blamed democracy for slowing him down.

Previously, the president said: "It’s not Baba that is slow but it is the system, so I am going by this system and I hope we will make it."

The late Mr Okwuru's name was part of a list of 37 new appointees which was read aloud to the senate.

President Buhari's media aide Lauretta Onochie defended the move - saying he wasn't dead when the recruitment process started.

She said: "He even came to update his CV in readiness for the appointment after the senate screening.

"When he sadly passed away while waiting for the screening by the senate, that information was not communicated."

Friends of the deceased politician slammed the government for the mistake.

Dr Chike Onwe said: "Please, in God’s name, leave us alone to mourn our dead. Keep your belated appointment."

Kitzito Nwankwo added: “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."

President Buhari was first elected in 2015, and was re-elected last year in a landslide by more than 3million votes.

He came under critcism back in September, 2016, after he was found to have copied Barack Obama's inauguration speech.

The leader later blamed "overzealous staff" - and his team were given anti-plagiarism software to make sure it didn't happen again.

President Buhari also denied his own death in December, 2018, amid claims he had been replaced by a Sudanese man named Jubril.

Addressing the nation he said "it is the real me I assure you" and assured he was not a "clone" after he came back from a number of health problems.

Meanwhile, a 70-year-old man was arrested in Nigeria for "insulting" President Buhari.

In a statement, cops said: "Any person found taking undue advantage of the social media to insult others will face the wrath of the law."

The Sun

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