Since last Thursday when the presidency announced some
key appointments the issue has dominated public discourse
across the country. In this piece Assistant Editor, MIKE
ODIAKOSE, posits that this development portends clear
and present danger to the unity of the country if not urgently
addressed by the federal government

ThE AnnOuncEMEnT
of key officials of the federal
government on Thursday
sent shock waves round the
country. The angst about the
appointment is not about the
competence or otherwise of
the appointees but rather about
the geographical spread of the
appointments as enshrined
in the 1999 Constitution (as
amended).
Section 14 of the Constitution
of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria says: (3) “The
composition of the Government
of the Federation or any of its
agencies and the conduct of its
affairs shall be carried out in
such a manner as to reflect the
federal character of Nigeria and
the need to promote national
unity, and also to command
national loyalty, thereby
ensuring that there shall be
no predominance of persons
from a few State or from a
few ethnic or other sectional
groups in that Government
or in any of its agencies.
(4) “The composition of the
Government of a State, a
local government council, or
any of the agencies of such
Government or council, and
the conduct of the affairs of the
Government or council or such
agencies shall be carried out in
such manner as to recognise
the diversity of the people
within its area of authority
and the need to promote a
sense of belonging and loyalty
among all the people of the
Federation.”
Among those appointed by
the President on Thursday are
Babachir David Lawal, from
Adamawa State, who was
appointed Secretary to the
Government of the Federation
and Abba Kyari, from Borno,
as his Chief of Staff.
President Buhari also
appointed Hameed Ali,
a retired colonel, as the
Comptroller General of
Nigerian Customs Service
and Kure Martin Abeshi as
the Comptroller General of
Nigerian Immigration Service.
Ali and Abeshi are from
Bauchi and Nasarawa states
respectively.
A former Senator from
Akwa Ibom State, Ita Enang,
was appointed senior special
assistant to the president
on Senate affairs, while
Suleiman Kawu of Kano,
who is a former House of
Representatives member, was
named the president’s senior special assistant on House of
Representatives.
Prior to the six officials,
President Buhari had earlier
made some key appointments
of frontline administration
staffers who will handle the
economy, energy, defence and
other important sectors of
governance.
Among the appointees are:
Aide de Camp to president,
Lt. Col Abubakar Lawal,
(Kano State); Special Adviser,
Media and Publicity to the
president: Femi Adesina,
(Osun State); Senior Special
Assistant, Media and
Publicity: Garba Shehu,
(Kano State); State Chief of
Protocol/Special Assistant
(Presidential Matters), Lawal
Abdullahi Kazaure (Jigawa
State); and Accountant
General of the Federation,
Ahmed Idris from Kano State.
Also appointed are
National Security Adviser,
Babagana Monguno (Borno
State) Chief of Defence Staff,
Abayomi Olonishakin (Ekiti
State); Chief of Army Staff:
Tukur Buratai (Borno State);
Chief of Naval Staff: Ibok-Ete
Ekwe Ibas, (Cross Rivers);
Chief of Air Staff, Sadique
Abubakar (Bauchi State);
Chief of Defence Intelligence,
Monday Riku Morgan (Benue
State) and Director General,
State Security Services, SSS:
Lawal Daura from Katsina
State.
President Buhari
also appointed Acting
Chairperson, Independent
National Electoral
Commission, INEC, Amina
Zakari from Jigawa State);
Managing Director, Nigerian
Ports Authority, Habibu
Abdulahi, (Kano State);
Special Adviser, Niger Delta
Amnesty Office, Paul Boroh
(Bayelsa State); Acting
Director General, Nigerian
Maritime Administration,
Safety and Security
Agency, NIMASA, Baba
Haruna Jauro (Yobe State);
Executive Vice Chairman/
Chief Executive Officer,
Nigerian Communications
Commission: Umaru
Dambatta (Kano State);
Executive Chairman,
Federal Inland Revenue
Service, FIRS, Babatunde
Fowler (Lagos State) and
Director General, Budget
Office of the Federation,
Aliyu Gusau from Zamfara.
others are Group Managing
Director, Nigeria National
Petroleum Corporation,
NNPC, Emmanuel
Kachikwu (Delta State);
Director, Department Of
Petroleum Resources,
DPR, Modecai Baba Ladan
(Kano state); Managing
Director, Asset Management
Company of Nigeria,
AMCON, Ahmed Lawan
Kuru and Commissioner for
Insurance and Chief Executive
of the National Insurance
Commission, Mohammed
Kari from the North-West.
Reactions over the
appointments clearly indicate
that Nigerians are not cheerful
with what appears to be a
breach of the constitution as
regards the national spread of
the appointments for lack of
equity and fairness.
President of Ohanaeze
Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife
said President Buhari has not
been fair to the South-East in
his appointments so far but
urged the people to wait until
the appointment of ministers
before crying over exclusion.
According to Ikedife, if it were
to be a matter of competence,
Ndigbo can even provide 80
percent of Buhari’s cabinet.
“It is clear to everybody that
so far, Ndigbo have not got a
fair share of the appointments
which Buhari has made so
far. However, let us not be
too hasty as he has still many
appointments to make,” he
said.
In his own reaction, former
governor of Anambra State, Dr
Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said that
he was short of words, “I don’t
understand what is happening
and the motivation for what is
happening,” he said.
From the South West the
Publicity Secretary of Afenifere,
Chief Yinka Odumakin, noted
that the latest appointments
followed the same pattern of
previous ones, most which
came from a particular section
of the country.
He said that the appointment
reflects the 97 and five per cent
ration mindset of the President
in terms of votes he garnered
during the election.
“When he visited the United
States, he made it clear that
those who gave him 97 per
cent votes cannot have the
same thing with those who
gave him five per cent votes. I
do not think it is the best thing
considering the mood of the
nation now. I think the earlier
he realized that, the better for
the country. He should realise
that inclusivity brings stability,”
Odumakin said.
The same feeling is also
expressed from the North
where the apex body of youths
in the region described the
development as sectional and
“unfortunate’.
According to the President,
Arewa Youths Consultative
Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima,
“It is unfortunate the way
the situation is, because one
becomes worried. We must be
seen to be nationalistic than
being sectionalised.
“I am beginning to feel
uncomfortable because
the complaint is that the
appointments are seen to be
lopsided. I also do not think
that is the intention of the
government.
“However, no matter how
we pretend, the reality is that
things are not done in the right
way.”
“The government should be
seen to be more nationalistic
than sectionalized. If we truly
believe in true federalism and
federal character, it should go
round.
“We cannot say that a
particular area has the best
brains in the country. I think
the government should look
into that area thoroughly in as
much as the President has good
intentions.”
Another opinion leader
in the North and retired
Commissioner of Police, Alhaji
Abubakar Tsav said, “I see
the appointments as lopsided.
Nigeria is too big to have
majority of the appointees from
one section of the country.
“We have competent people
in every part of Nigeria. For
that reason, he (Buhari) should
spread the appointments to
every part of Nigeria.
“If he (Buhari) is looking for
honest people, there are honest
people in every part of Nigeria,
just as we have dishonest
people in every part.
“Most Nigerians voted for
him, even those who did not
vote for him are his subjects
and he is bound to carry every
one along.”
However, the Vice President,
Prof. Yemi Osibanjo has allayed
the fears of Nigerians saying
the Buhari administration is not
harbouring any ethnic agenda.
He said this when traditional
rulers of the Yoruba extraction
in Northern Nigeria and Abuja
paid him a courtesy visit at
the state House and urged
Nigerians to discard such
notions.
Special Adviser to the
President on Media and
Publicity, Femi Adesina has
also reassured Nigerians
that the imbalance will be
corrected in the nearest future
when his boss makes other
appointments.
Adesina also called on those
criticising his principal for
appointing mostly northerners
into his government to look
first at how qualified those
appointed are for such
positions, adding that it is
the President’s prerogative to
appoint whomever he pleases
into his government.
While enjoining those already
crying wolf over Buhari’s early
appointments to first take
cognisance of “the personal
merit of each person that has
been appointed,” he stressed
that: “You cannot run away
from the fact that each person
appointed merits the position.
They are qualified!”
Adesina, who made this
known on Friday while
speaking on RayPower’s
flagship programme in Abuja,
said, “But then in terms of the
spread, the thing I will also
like to say is that the President
has the prerogative to make
appointments and he knows
that there is federal character
in our constitution. I’m sure he
bears that in mind as he makes
the appointments that will
come in the future. I believe
that at the end of it all, there is
going to be a balance.
“These are still early days in
the appointments he is going
to make. At the end of it all, I
believe we are going to have a
balance,” he stated.
Responding to the need for
Buhari to make appointments
bearing in mind that Nigerians
of northern extraction are
already leading the legislature
and the judiciary, Adesina said:
“Let’s not forget that some of
those were by elections, some
were statutorily the next person
in rank. There is nothing the
president can do about that.
If it’s by election, what will
he do about it? Because he
doesn’t control the election; the
National Assembly came by
election.”
The presidency also said they
were picking the best of hands
to run the administration but
this line of argument was
shot down Nigerians that
argued that the best brains
and qualified persons are not
concentrated in only a section
of the country.
In spite of the assurances
from the presidency that the
lopsided appointment will
be corrected to give sense of
belonging to every part of the
country, some Nigerians are
still not convinced that the
administration will match its
words with action. This is not
unconnected to the fact that
when there was uproar over the
first set appointments that were
made the presidency promised
it will not repeat itself in future.
There are also fears that the
lopsided appointments were
deliberately done in tune with
the much-publicised position
of Mr. President that he will
take care of those that gave him
“97 percent” votes during the
election before his radar will
turn those that gave him “five
percent.”
Political observers are of
the view that it will do the
administration a lot of good
if Mr. President sticks to
him inauguration position
that he “belongs to nobody
and belongs to everybody.”
Nigerians applauded that
declaration and had hoped that
Mr. President will abide by it.
Luckily, there is still an opening
when future appointments are
made to prove to Nigerians that
he belongs to everybody and
not only to those that gave him
97 per cent.


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