There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari has acceded to the request made to him by the leadership of the amalgamated workers union of parastatals in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to sack heads of cultural agencies and some top directors in the agencies.
A Presidency source confirmed that the President has communicated his approval of the request of the union to the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed. The directive will also affect some top directors in the agencies who have been accused of misconduct or who were engaged without due process. The source also revealed that the President subsequently directed that all the CEO’s and Directors accused of ‘corruption, embezzlement and maladministration’ be investigated and ‘brought to book’ where necessary.
The leadership of the unions had in a joint petition addressed to the President through the Secretary of the Government of the Federation requested President Buhari to sack all the heads of the culture and film agencies in the same manner he ordered the sack of all the heads of the information agencies earlier in the year.
A source explained that the Workers Union had alleged that most of those who are heading the culture and film parastatals are ‘square pegs in round holes’ while others who were employed by the Jonathan Administration under questionable criteria lack the capacity to run the agencies. The union leaders also alleged ‘wide scale abuse of public funds and embezzlement’ by most of the CEO’s. ‘’They even alleged that some of the CEO’s were involved in employment racketering and were squandering capital and over head votes on self serving scheme. They even gave an example of a parastatal in Lagos whose CEO padded his capital budget. They said he included organizing a workshop for kannywood filmmakers in his 2016 budget and was funded. Meanwhile they have no business with film. The agency is just a monument’’ the source said.
There are about 11 parastatals in the culture and film arm of the Ministry of Information and Culture. The parastatals are the National Council for Arts and Culture, National Theatre, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, National Gallery of Arts, National Troupe of Nigeria, National Museums and Monuments and National Institute for Hotel and Tourism Services. Others are the Nigerian Film Corporation, Nigerian Tourism Corporation, National Film and Video Censors Board and the National Institute of Cultural Orientation.
It will be recalled that President Buhari earlier in the year approved the sack of CEO’s of the parastatals in the information arm of the Ministry of Information and Culture. Those affected in the sack include Sola Omole of the NTA, Emeka Mba of the NBC and Ladan Salihu of the FRCN.