Buhari’s Lopsided Appointments Driving Divisive Tendencies – OPC

The Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) has again condemned the lopsided appointments in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, saying that the president had contradicted the constitution he swore to uphold.

In a press conference convened by Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, its founder on Tuesday, the group also asked the president to immediately cancel the recent appointments of directors for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which, according to the group, has 67 percent of the appointees from the North.

“OPC joins other well-meaning patriots to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately cancel the NNPC appointments. Out of the 15 new directors, 10 (67 percent) come from the mostly Hausa- Fulani North, three are Yoruba, two come from the South-South and none from the South-East.

”President Buhari must urgently review these appointments to reflect federal character, failing which the Senate should bar the appointees from resuming in office.”

The group also said that the president’s flagrant disregard for the constitution of Nigeria, which stipulates that no tribe or ethnic region should be given undue preference over another, is what is fueling agitations in the country today, especially in the South East.

“When he first took power in 2015 and began his initial appointments, President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated unbelievable insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity, unity and constitution by unfolding a list of appointees clearly dominated and monopolised by his Northern kinsmen to the alienation and disadvantage of other regions, especially the South-East.

“For example, of the six security service chiefs Buhari has appointed, the North dominates with four appointees, to the South’s two, with the South-East, in fact, having none. By July 2016, President Buhari had appointed 47 Southerners and 75 Northerners into various non-ministerial public offices; again the South-East brought up the rear with 12 appointees, where Buhari’s North-West had the largest chunk of 34 of political office holders.

“Buhari continued this unhealthy trend of Northern domination and Southern marginalisation in the nation’s security institutions, and today the North holds firmly to the leadership positions of National Security Adviser; Inspector General of Police; Chief of Army Staff; Chief of Air Staff; Chief of Defence Intelligence; Director General, State Security Services (SSS); Lawal Daura, Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service; Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“We understand that secret appointments into Federal parastatals like the NNPC, NPA and CBN as well as security arms like the DSS and EFCC have followed this trend, heavily skewed against the South in favour of the North.

“By making these Northern-dominated appointments, President Buhari has contradicted the letter and spirit of the constitution he swore to uphold, specifically the federal character principle in Section 14(3), which says ‘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.

The group said that Buhari must realise that his lopsided appointment is an act of impunity, which has continued to cause agitations in the country.

“The President must realise that favouring the North with his lopsided appointments is an act of impunity, and it has sparked the raging agitations for disintegration, ethnic separatism and restructuring. Continuing down this path will further overheat the polity. The agitations for Biafra, for example, began and became heightened with the president’s flagrant disregard for the extant provisions of the constitution and his failure to run an all-inclusive government.

“Some of his declarations, perhaps made innocently, have inadvertently only succeeded in dividing the nation, paving the way for unbelievers to keep agitating for the irreducible minimums like restructuring, true federalism and devolution of power.

“Impunity, as we see currently, is the precursor to corruption, and we have been fighting corruption since this government came to power. But what leaders and government say to the people of this nation do not confirm the leadership’s seriousness to fight corruption as obtains in other lands. Good leaders in other lands will say to their people what they mean and are not apologetic when challenged on their speeches because they mean what they say and say what they mean,” the group said.

Also speaking with INDEPENDENT, Chief Uche Secondus, a former acting national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said that President Buhari couldn’t be talking of fighting corruption when corruption is evident in the appointments he has made so far since becoming the president.

According to him, “This government is highly corrupt because nepotism too is corruption. The PDP is not against the fight against corruption but we believe that it must be fought legally and in accordance with the laws of the land. You can’t carry out revenge mission or vendetta and claim you are fighting corruption.

“All those who are indicted should be prosecuted. We believe it should not be a one-sided affair.  What we have seen so far is that former governors who left PDP to APC who will know and who some of their states have come out with white paper from the judicial enquiry indicting them, the matters are in court yet the EFCC and APC government don’t want to investigate because of these indicted people are ministers in Buhari’s cabinet,” he said.

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