Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Director, The Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts (ASSPT), Dr Sam Amadi, has turned down his appointment into the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Campaign Council as Director of Research.
Amadi, the former chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in a letter addressed to Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State who is the Director General of PDP Presidential Campaign Council, cited conflict of interests and the need to maintain political neutrality as reasons for declining the offer.
The letter entitled: “Non-Acceptance of Appointment as Director of Research for the PDP Presidential Campaign Committee,” was dated October 10, 2022.
Below is a full text of the letter made available to Ikengaonline:
“Greetings and compliments!
“First , many thanks for the offer to be the Director of Research for the PDP Presidential Campaign Committee for the 2023 presidential election. I consider it a great honour to be considered fit for such a high office of a great presidential committee. I am also delighted that the committee is headed by a man of your character and pedigree, someone I have had the honour and privilege of working with in the past. I have no doubt that you will, as always, make a huge success of this opportunity.
“Notwithstanding that I am honoured to be appointed as one of the directors to work with you, I humbly want to decline the appointment, and hereby abstain from participating in such a role. The decision to decline the offer has stemmed from the conflicts of interest emanating from various responsibilities in which I act as a leader of different platforms where political neutrality and objectivity are required of me. These platforms are as follows:
“The Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts (ASSPT): As Director of the school, I bear the responsibility to lead a group of intellectuals and scholars of diverse political and ideological stripes with a commitment to rethink the nature of the social, political, and economic crises of statehood in Africa, and to develop new ideas and policies to transform Nigeria and other African societies. The school is working on a detailed review of the economic plans of the leading candidates and their manifestos on how to enhance Nigeria’s electoral democracy. This clearly requires me to maintain a high degree of non-partisanship.
“The Political and Strategy Committee of the Christian Association of Nigeria: As the Secretary of the Committee, I bear responsibility to support other distinguished Christian leaders to guide the leadership of the Christian community to work together with leaders of other faiths to fashion a common agenda for justice, freedom, unity, and prosperity of the Nigerian state. As part of this responsibility, I helped to put together The Charter for A New Nigeria, a non-partisan, not denominational Christian vision of justice, fairness, freedom, and prosperity for all Nigerian peoples and citizens. Members of the committee have different political views and interests, and my leadership needs to be non-partisan in order to be effective. An acceptance of this appointment will undermine the neutrality expected of my standing and membership of the committee.
“Arise News: For some years I have been an analyst on Arise News, which I consider
one of the most strategic institutions for national development and sane deliberative democracy through analytical news reporting. My role in that reputable media platform also requires non-partisanship, even as I am free to express my opinions.
“I greatly cherish these institutional roles and believe that they require me to maintain the non-partisanship posture that has allowed me to provide insights that have helped both institutions and critical stakeholders deliver on their mandates. Whereas as a policy expert, I am free to offer ideas and insights to a presidential campaign, I believe that the level of objectivity I am identified with in these strategic roles will be compromised if I am to become a director of a political party’s presidential campaign. I know that in developed democracies, non-partisans are often co-opted into presidential campaigns to offer professional services without compromising their objectivity and intellectual neutrality. But Nigeria is not yet at this stage in our politics.
“In all these premises, again, I humbly plead that I will not be able to accept the offer and appointment. My rejection of the offer is in no way a vote of no confidence in the PDP presidential campaign or a rejection of the virtues of the members of that great party and its presidential candidate. You may recall that when you were an aspirant for the presidential candidacy of the PDP during the period of the primaries, I provided you with professional advice, believing that Mr. Peter Obi and you were the best candidates in that race, who could solve the crises of the Nigerian state. I also believed that the PDP presented the best pan-Nigerian platform for national salvation, considering its nationalistic outlook and liberal orientation. As a nationalist, I am interested in political platforms that can mobilize the diverse Nigerian peoples towards a common vision of democratic citizenship. As a liberal in politics, I believe that Nigeria needs a party that respects its religious and ethnic diversities and guarantees each citizen fairness and equality. As an institutionalist, I believe that Nigeria needs a political organization with a good bureaucracy to drive development and stability. The PDP checks these boxes and fulfills, in more than one measure, these values.
“I recognize the appointment is somewhat an acknowledgement of the role I have played in the past, as a technocrat and from a professional standpoint, to help the party to develop ideas for development. My relationship with the PDP started with my appointment as Special Adviser to Senator Ken Nnamani when he was elected Senate President. I continued with Chief Ojo Maduekwe advising him, first as Secretary of the PDP, and later as Foreign Affairs Minister. In these roles, I worked with other people in the PDP Reform Committee put together by President Obasanjo to turn the party into a developmentalist platform in the fashion of some Asian countries. Although I was not a party member, I continued to support the work of the then ruling party through its think-tank, the Peoples Democratic
Institute (PDI). I was engaged in these activities as an ‘ideas man’, in order to build a veritable policy making institution that will guarantee development for the country. It is partly in recognition of these technical roles and support to the party to generate ideas for transformation that President Goodluck Jonathan appointed me Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). Interestingly, the APC government has also once head-hunted me to chair the Ad hoc Senate Committee on Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Bill and the Senate Committee on the Reform of the Transport Sector in an ad hoc capacity
“Your Excellency, I have gone to this great length to express my gratitude for the honour done to me by this important appointment. In all essence, I regret that I will not be able to accept the appointment because of the responsibility of political non-partisanship arising from my leadership and roles in several non-partisan platforms.
“I wish you and the campaign the best of luck.”