The number of those identified as dead on the list of appointment of 1,468 Nigerians into the boards of agencies and parastatals, released by the Federal Government on Friday, has risen to eight.
However, the spokesman of the President, Garba Shehu, reacting to the controversy that trailed the list, said there was nothing scandalous about the list, as “the list has a history”, since 2015.
He explained that the list was prepared by the embattled Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal.
He added that the current SGF was only directed to complete that process by releasing the list which he apparently did without altering it.
Notable among the list was Francis Okpozo, a former Senator, who died on December 26, 2016, and was on Friday appointed to be the chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Press Council.
Mr Okpozo was a former deputy speaker of defunct Bendel State who died in Benin City after an illness, was also elected to the Senate on the Social Democratic Party platform.
Those further identified now as dead on the list are Christopher Utov, Donald Ugbaja, Garba Attahiru, Umar Dange, Magdalene Kumu, Dr. Nabbs Imegwu and Comrade Ahmed Bunza.
Mr Ugbaja, a former Deputy Inspector General of Police, died in November 2017 but came up as a member of the Board of the Consumer Protection Council.
Mr Utov, the founder of Fidei Polytechnic, who died in March, was named to the Board of the Nigeria Institute of Social and Economic Research.
Mr Dange, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Sokoto State, came up on the list as a Board member of the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta, Lagos State.
Mr Umar, a former Emir of Katagum in Bauchi State, who emerged as a Board member of the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi State, died on December 9.
Mr Bunza, a member of the APC and former Sole Administrator of Jegga Local Government Area of Kebbi State, was buried on May 22.
This development led to a face-off between the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress on Saturday.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja, said: “Nigerians can now see why the nation’s economy has been in shambles in the last two years. When we say that this government is completely inept, some Nigerians did not know to which level, but now they do.
“This inability to tidy up a simple issue of list of 209 appointees has completely exposed the extent the APC government is bereft of simple organizational skills to manage a country like Nigeria, which is in dire need of development.
“How on earth can a government that cannot compile a common list handle intricate issues of national planning and budgeting; issues of health, education, aviation, agriculture, infrastructure and management of the huge civil service?
“How can they possibly initiate and successfully implement national and international instruments for national development in today’s competitive world?
“This also explains why nothing has been working under the APC government. Furthermore, the mix up in the list also exposes the corruption in the APC government.
“The fact is that the government of our dear country has been in wrong hands in the last two years and the situation will continue to worsen unless the nation is rescued from them in 2019.
“Finally, we urge Nigerians to disregard the lame excuses by the APC government and hold them responsible for the woes that have befallen our country under their inept and undesirable regime.”
Reacting to the PDP’s statement, the APC National Publicity Secretary and also a beneficiary of the appointments, Bolaji Abdullahi, said: “It is embarrassing that the PDP sees every move as evidence of APC’s inability to rule the country.
“Things happen. I don’t think the PDP which has governed the country before should respond in such embarrassing manner to a situation where in a list of over 200 a few names, which ought to have been removed, escaped scrutiny.
“These people died while the process of compiling the list was still on. It is nothing more than an honest mistake.
“With the way it is trivializing every issue, PDP is embarrassing itself and belittling governance.
“If after several years in power, they still don’t know that governing a country is more than the trivial things they take so serious, then it is quite embarrassing.
“How on earth can a party like PDP say because of such honest mistake, APC is not qualified to rule Nigeria?
“But we understand their desperation to take advantage of everything to gain prominence and seek political mileage.
“But it is ridiculous for them to now see everything as an opportunity to attack this administration without looking at the seriousness of their claims. It is quite embarrassing.”