Tobias Okwuru: APC clarifies Buhari’s appointment of ‘dead’ ex lawmaker

The All Progressives Congress has cleared the air on the alleged appointment of a ‘dead’ man from Ebonyi as a member of the Federal Character Commission.

The party made the clarification at a news conference on Wednesday in Abakaliki by the Ebonyi Chairman of the party, Mr Eze Nwachukwu.

This followed speculations that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had appointed the late Chief Tobias Okwuru Chukwuemeka into the FCC board who died early this year.

But Nwachukwu explained that Chief Tobias was hale and hearty at the time he was nominated for the position by President.

He blamed the family for not making the death of Okwuru official.

Mwachukwu said the nominee, unfortunately, passed away in February between the period he was waiting to be screened and confirmed by the Senate.

“Okwuru was nominated ‘a living man’ in January, healthy, hearty for the position and he updated and submitted all his necessary curriculum vitae by himself.

“What happened is that in-between his nomination and letter conveying his nomination to the Senate, Okwuru painfully and sadly answered the ultimate call.

“We accept responsibility and take the blame because as a party we are supposed to have written the national leadership of our party and the Presidency informing them on the demise of Chief Okwuru as a ranking party member.

“But unfortunately, the family has not made the death official and has not commenced burial arrangements before the coronavirus pandemic that led to lockdown, ban on burial and other social gatherings.

“So, it is the responsibility of the party to put the record straight and that is why we are using this medium to correct the erroneous impression.

“It is not the fault of Mr President and the Presidency that Okwuru’s name later appeared in the nominees’ list.

“It is the fault of the party in Ebonyi for not informing relevant authorities on the death and we accept full responsibility whole-heartedly though it is not intentional or deliberate, but rather caused by what I have enumerated above.

“We want to put it clear that Mr President has not appointed any ‘dead man’ from Ebonyi,” Nwachukwu said.

Okwuru, who represented Ezza South/Ikwo constituency in the House of Representatives, had also served as Chief Whip in the Ebonyi House of Assembly on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He later joined the Labour Party in 2015 before he moved to the APC where he played active roles and became one of the financiers of the party in the state.