Integrity can be defined as moral soundness, honesty, freedom from corrupting influence or motive-rectitude, uprightness, probity, virtue, goodness, principle, etc.
Political appointees such as commissioners, Chairmen of agencies/parastatals, Special advisers, are officers having charge of certain Ministeries, Departments, Agencies or Bureau of the public service.
Section 192(1( of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, provides for the appointment of State Commissioners. The objective is to enable the governor appoint some citizens to assist him in the onerous task of governance.
Commissioners are required to generate ideas that would propel the speedy growth and ignite fire of confidence in their ability to deliver the dividends of Democracy to the Citizenry of the State.
However, the way and manner Commissioners are appointed and disengaged seems to substantially derogate from the importance of the office.
Primarily, a Commissioner gets appointed on the basis of political expediency (‘’loyalty’’) only. No consideration is given as to the person having any cognate service experience. Where consideration is given to experience, the appointees are made to undertake to be 100% loyal,stripping them of their fundamental Freedom of association and free movement, as they are barred from attending meetings and travelling without the consent of the governor.
Commissioners are neither appointed nor retained in the State to do any meaningful work Instead, they are essentially mere disposable elements at the whims and caprices of the governor.
A novice can be made a Commissioner in Rivers State and be in office throughout the tenure(s) of a governor while a Specialist/Technocrat who gets appointed as a Commissioner seldomly stays through a governor’s term in office.
The reason and difference is that, while the novice Commissioner is 100% loyal, offering no productive advice/proposal to the governor, but runs all manner of errands, both personal and official that the governor may send, the Technocrat feels discouraged and disappointed each time his proposal that could grow the State is trashed by the governor.
This is more so, when the Technocrat Commissioner is of the opinion that the governor is not getting it right. Over time, these feelings of discouragement result into disenchantment on the part of the Commissioner. The governor notices it and one day, while the Commissioner prepares to go to work, he hears on radio that he has been fired.
The 100% loyalty requirement is such that you must not accept to the public, failure of government in providing dividends of Democracy to the people. You are expecred to lie or be silent on issues within your dormain as a Commissioner, if doing otherwise would reveal the governor’s short comings.
Have you wondered why a Commissioner for information would announce to the public the death of someone, an agent of government, who was attacked while discharging his duty and deliberately withhold the identity of the diseased but was swift in disclosing the Coronavirus Status of the manager of the government demolished hotel in Eleme, an act contrary to medical practice? Pastor Poulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for In formation, did exactly that.
How would you explain a situation where a Commissioner for Health, a professor of Medicine, Princewill Chike, with acclaimed several years of experience would not know that Medical and other health workers are essential service providers that should be allowed to operate even under the worst condition of war? So as to impress on his boss that they should be exempted from the COVID-19 lockdown in Rivers State?
That as a Commissioner for Health, he is expected to be abreast with the happenings in his Body of Professional, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and not to disagree with the NMA on news medias ,as to whether Doctors working at COVID-19 Isolation Centers are provided with PPEor not? Several Medical workers were harrassed, arrested, detained and called names as a result of his actions and inactions, in an attempt to shield his boss from blame.
Have you wondered why every Political appointee, while addressing the public in any fora, would use his/her first five minutes to eulogize,praise and thank His Excellency, the Executive Governor on issues they know, the governor has’nt done well?
How would you explain the rational behind a professor of law, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, accepting re appointment as Commissioner for Education after he had served previously in that capacity for two years or thereabout and without creating any impact other than distributing WAEC Examination materials, later redeployed to Ministry of Water Resources where he is a novice? Expectedly, he created no impact as he was only supervising the drilling of boreholes.
As current Commissioner for Education, is Professor Kaniye not woried over the poor state of Education in Rivers State? What is he doing about it? What lagacy will he leave behind
Men with CHARACTER and INTEGRITY would not abide under a canopy where their lights are prevented from shinning. They would rather ‘’CURSE GOD AND DIE’’