The current hysteria over President Muhammadu Buahri’s skewed appointments, which has favoured the North, did not begin now. Indeed, it was in June this year, when some Yoruba elders earlier raised the alarm over the anomaly and pending tendencies. The leaders reportedly had bitten their fingers in regret for voting Mr. President, who in their view turned the other way when lawmakers from both chambers of the National Assembly elected the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives without recourse to candidates from other regions South of the country.
As it were, the South-West zone was angry with the President, as the party leader, for tolerating the outcome of National Assembly leadership election, which did not favour the zone. “For the fact that the South-West played a key role in the emergence of Buhari as the President, it is expected that they would occupy a more strategic position than the post of Vice President”, said one of the leaders. They had also argued that the election of the National Assembly leadership, which eventually placed the North Central and North-East geopolitical zones at a vantage point through the emergence of Bukola Saraki, as Senate President and Speaker, House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara, presented the North as a strong political bloc. On the other hand, it presented the South-West, in particular and South-South, South-East in general, as a weak power bloc in the equation. With the power structure now, they noted that the South-West had been relegated to the background in the power structure of the country.
Again President Buhari, last Thursday, in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, his media aide, assigned Bachir David Lawal form Adamawa state as Secretary to the government of the federation, and Abba Kyari from Borno state as Chief of staff: retired colonel Hammed Ali was announced as Comptroller general of Nigeria Customs Service and Kure Martin Abeshi to head the Nigeria Immigration Service as Comptroller General. Ali and Abeshi hail from Bauchi and Nasarawa respectively.
With the list, it is clear that those who will form the heart of this administration are northerners. We therefore note with utmost concern the attendant outcry, which is not different from previous lamentations of the South-West leaders. So far, pressure groups, individuals, even former President Olusegun Obasanjo has reacted to the lopsided appointments.
Similarly, the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural organisation of the Igbo people, expressed its “deep anger” in a statement jointly signed by its President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro and National Public Relations Officer, Hon. Obinna Adibe. The group said the appointments has sent strong signals that with his ethnic agenda, Buhari was “not ready to accommodate Ndigbo in his government (as) none of the positions came the way of the South-East region.
On his part, constitutional cum human rights lawyer, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, condemned the appointments as insensitive and wrong to concentrate appointments into sensitive positions in the country in the North. Adegboruwa said, “In recent times, the President, Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari, has announced certain appointments, to some very sensitive positions, without any regard for the unity and progress of the nation… Virtually all major positions in the country, from the President, to the National Assembly, the judiciary, the financial sector, the armed forces, etc, are mostly occupied by candidates from the northern part of the country, in total disregard of the provisions of the Constitution.”
We see Mr. President’s action as an infraction on the collective will of the people and a clear violation of good conscience. We also note the disservice done to the South-South zone particularly in the present appointment of a new head of customs and it shows how the people will again be marginalised and play second fiddle in the affairs of the nation.
In this instance Buhari’s ally, former President Olusegun Obasabjo knocked his confidant hard. Obasanjo is said to be visibly angry that President Buhari did not appoint a professional and insists on the reversal of the appointment of Col. Ali. The former President who reportedly expressed his reservation over the uneven appointments said that a core professional should head the Customs Service.
Even at that, imagine the disservice meted out to the South-South between 1975 till date, seeing as every other zone has been represented in the appointment of Comptroller General of Customs except the South-South zone. Sadly, the last time an indigene from the area was head of customs was in 1968, in the person of HE Duke. This is unacceptable and a clear violation of the principle of federal character.
While we join others to condemn the uneven appointments, notwithstanding presidency’s last minute excuse that all will benefit, we unequivocally urge that the appointments be reversed and properly constituted for everybody to have a say, even in the kitchen cabinet that will later emerge. This is to avoid other zones playing second fiddle in the administration of the country.


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