Nigeria: Frank Kokori Vows to Gatecrash Inauguration Ceremony As Minister Delists Name From NSITF Board

A former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union (NUPENG), Frank Kokori, has vowed to show up for inauguration tomorrow as the Chairman of the board of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Mr Kokori has not been invited to the ceremony taking place on Thursday morning at the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

Although he was named chairman when the then acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, announced the appointment of the board in October 2017, Mr Kokori's name was omitted on the list of members of the board to be inaugurated on Thursday.

A copy of the programme of events obtained by PREMIUM TIMES indicates that the inauguration will hold at the minister's conference room.

According to details of the agenda, 11 members of the committee will be confirmed.

However, of these 11, the names of only 10 were provided on the agenda.

The programme contains names, contacts and designations of the 10 board members but had no information on the board chairman.

The belated inauguration is at the instance of back and forth that has greeted the constitution of the board since 2017.

The board membership was constituted by Mr Osinbajo in October 2017 in his capacity as acting president.

Statutorily, ministers are empowered to inaugurate boards of agencies under their control.

However, Mr Ngige has failed to inaugurate the NSITF board citing several excuses at different times.

The Planned Inauguration

On Thursday, PREMIUM TIMES sighted a programme of events designed for the inauguration.

According to the programme, the committee will consist of 10 members and the chairman.

The members include Mohammed Yinusa and Timothy Olawale as representatives of Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Ibrahim Khaleel and Waheed Adeyanju representing the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Others are Ifeoma Anyawuataku of the Labour Ministry, Dutse Aminu of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and Jasper Azutalam, Tijani Suleiman, Kemi Nelson, Bayo Somefun, all of NSITF.

Curiously, the name of the board chairman approved by the vice president, Mr Kokori, was omitted.

Nwachukwu Nbadiwe, spokesperson to Mr Ngige, could not provide an explanation for the omission. He referred PREMIUM TIMES to the presidency.

"Why don't you find out from the presidency why the name was removed? I don't know about that," he said.

Mr Nbadiwe was again evasive when asked who would chair the committee.

"When you come tomorrow, raise it as a question, there is an opportunity for you to ask questions," he replied.

I will show up - Kokori

Mr Kokori on Wednesday evening told PREMIUM TIMES he was not aware of any reason for the omission of his name.

He, however, insisted on making himself available for the inauguration with or without invitation.

"There are no issues. Why they are treating me like that I don't know. I heard this story that they want to launch the board, I called people there and they told me that the chairmanship position was left vacant. But the whole world knows, I'm the chairman.

"Why not. I'm the chairman, why should I give up? Unless the president tells me to do otherwise, I must show up."

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