The Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, has voiced its opposition to the appointment of Seun Onigbinde, an avowed critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, as Technical Adviser to the Minister of Budget and National Planning.
The appointment had for days attracted widespread reactions from supporters of the Buhari administration, many of whom totally condemned the move, in the same way they condemned the appointment of Dr. Festus Adedayo, another Buhari critic as special adviser to Senate President Ahmad Lawan.
BMO in a statement signed by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke, Chairman and Secretary respectively, described the appointment as a travesty that desecrates the characters of honour and integrity which are the hallmarks of President Buhari and those who are called to serve in his government.
They pondered how “an imbalanced caustic denigrator of the government of President Buhari would be called to serve in the same administration he had described in the most unpalatable terms.
“Seun Onigbinde lacks honour and integrity, which are characters known of President Buhari, and thus could not be in the same team with him.
“He has severally described the President with the most distasteful terms, and has shown, especially on social media, that he sees nothing good in the administration of President Buhari.
“Onigbinde had also gone to the shameful extent of describing those who support the President and his administration as ‘ethnic jingoists’. He once referred to the President as ‘incompetent’, and accused him of being a dictator committing illegality.
“We cannot but wonder that this same man accepted an appointment to serve in this same administration he has described in the most odious terms. It shows he lacks honour.
“He perhaps was browbeating all the while so he could achieve some notice and be sneaked in at night into the same government he publicly threw invectives at.
“We believe that a man must stand for something, and live by it. If Seun was called by anyone to take an appointment in a government he ridiculed and called illegal and dictatorial, he should have turned it down, if he had any decency or morals.
“Does he now want to serve in this same government and become part of what he had called an illegality and dictatorship?” the group asked.
“He went as far as deleting his Twitter account so that his ridiculous and denigrating posts against the President Buhari administration would not be recalled. That is enough evidence of Seun Onigbinde’s lack of character,” they will not added.
The group also called on the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a party, to reject Onigbinde’s appointment and call for his ouster from the government.
“There are countless supporters of the President who have more powerful backgrounds and records, who are better qualified, and who would offer better professional and intellectual support to the attainment of the President’s ideals and goals, which they believe in – which Seun has said he does not.
“These are the ones the government should engage, not imbalanced critics with unstable morality.
“We do not expect a man to rain curses at the conductor of an orchestra for the music he is playing, and yet still seek to play an instrument in that same orchestra. That is a travesty of integrity. It must not stand.”
In a reaction to criticism about the appointment, Onigbinde said the appointment is at the initiative of an international development agency for six months.
“Friends, I have accepted to take up an advisory role underwritten by an international development agency for an initial period of six months . I believe that to guard the reputation of BudgIT, I need to take an operational break and make my new position public.
“In a technical advisory role, I shall be supporting the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, along the issues of budget reform, development planning, and revenue growth.
“It is similar to a task Joseph Agunbiade (my BudgIT co- founder) and I worked on in 2013–14, under the DFID-FEPAR program for the National Assembly Budget and Research Office.
“I see this as an adventure considering an accepted steep curve on public sector structure. I wish to state I remain loyal to my values — of appreciating the right of every citizen to ask the hard questions; that public resources must be accounted for, and that civic spaces and individual rights must be keenly protected.
“I have spoken to our partners, advisory board, and mentors, and I believe this is part of multi-pronged approach towards accelerating the long-term objectives of BudgIT and exploring new experiences. I will constantly review the objectives that I have set for this period and provide updates as I proceed.
“My belief in the capacity of BudgIT, led by Gabriel Okeowo, to do great work in demanding effective transparency and accountability remains unshaken”.