Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) chairman Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) yesterday condemned those criticising President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) for naming dead men among board appointees.
Sagay said the outrage amounts to making a mountain out of a molehill.
The professor of law said he was even angry with the Presidency for appearing to be apologetic over the development.
Sagay in an interview with The Nation said, “What I find irritating is the so-called outrage by the Nigerian elite that in a list of almost 3,000 people nominated for various agencies, five or six had died.
“And there is a general pretence by the Nigerian elite that it was of huge, monumental importance; that it shows incompetence and all that.
“I ask myself: a list that has been under compilation for over two years, revised and re-revised, do they expect that about 3,000 people would all still be alive after two years?
“If not, do they expect the Presidency to go knocking from door to door 24 hours before the announcement to ask who was dead or alive, or to ask if they would survive until the announcement? Are they supposed to have done that?
“So, the whole thing (criticisms) is extremely unreasonable.”
Sagay said the critics reminded him of Lilliput and Blefuscu, fictional island nations that appear in the first part of the 1726 novel, Gulliver’s Travel,by Jonathan Swift.
“In the book, the nations are inhabited by tiny people who are about one-twelfth the height of ordinary humans. They went to war. What did they go to war for?
“Lilliput believes an egg should be broken from the small end before it is eaten, while Belfuscu believes it should be broken from the big end.
“This gives the impression that the Nigerian elite are filled with Lilliputians, who quarrel over nothing and ignore major issues of importance. And I call this collective stupidity and idleness of the mind,” Sagay said.
Asked if the Presidency should not have verified the list and ensured the appointees were ready, and whether he was absolving the Presidency of blame completely, Sagay said: “I am absolving them of every blame.
“And I am very annoyed with the Presidency for looking apologetic over it. As I said, we’re talking about 3,000 people.
“At what stage should they be checking? Can they verify 3,000 names in 24 hours? Suppose they do it one week before announcement and someone died in-between? Is it their fault too?
“So, since nobody can guarantee life, out of 3,000 within two years, there is nothing unreasonable about that.
“Those vacancies will be filled, and Nigerians should stop quarrelling over nothing and start taking on more important things. They should not behave like idle minds.”