INNOCENT OKONKWO, Political Editor and ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja
outrage continued to trail President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments as stakeholders yesterday slammed the president for favouring the north. They also descibed the appointments as unbalanced.
Igbo think tank, Aka Ikenga in its reaction, urged the president to ensure that the irreparable exclusion of Ndigbo is reversed.
Also, former Chairman of Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, described Buhari’s appointment so far as lopsided, just as elder statesman and former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa challenged the president to explain the motive behind the unbalanced appointments he has made so far.
President Buhari had Thursday announced Engr. Babachir David Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff to the President, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) as the new Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service, Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi as Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service.
Senator Ita S.J. Enang was made Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) while Hon. Suleiman A. Kawu was appointed Senior Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
But the Presidency has defended appointments made so far. Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina said that the president had the exclusive right to appoint whoever he pleases into his government.
Speaking with Daily Champion in a telephone interview, yesterday, National President of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, described Buhari’s appointment of his key officials so far as frightening. He wondered if certain sections have been expunged from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Are we still practicing democracy as enshrined in the constitution? Does Section 14 still operate or has it been expunged? Federal Character is central to the progress of this country. Aka Ikenga therefore urges Mr. President to ensure that this irreparable exclusion of Ndigbo is reversed,” he said.
Abaribe on his part told Nigerians not to be surprised with the shape of things under Buhari’s presidency and in particular, the lopsided appointments made so far.
A statement he made available to Daily Champion read in parts, “No one should be surprised over what is happening or the shape of the political appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari. To be fair to him, the President made himself clear in his recent state visit to the United States of America, with his now unfortunate theory of 95 per cent and 5 per cent reward for support.
“Again, it could be the style of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). That is to say, that the party has chosen as a style, to run a government that encourages alienation of a sizable portion of its people, as well as one that promotes exclusivity.
“Every political party has its style, like the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that adopted its own style of running an inclusive national government, which reflected the true character and national outlook of the Nigerian people. PDP’s style was inclusivity not minding the voting pattern of any section of the country or where its support base was derived.
“For any party, there should not be any political barrier or alienation of any constituent part, because after elections the President is the President and father of all Nigerians irrespective of political leaning.
“My hunch is that the appointments so far, which has surreptitiously thrown up the prevailing circumstance, has failed to encourage our people’s hunger and quest to build a nation state out of a heterogeneous Nigeria. The appointments as it were do not also support the effort to weave a more cohesive country that would metamorphose into a nation where unity and love will prevail.
“The founding fathers of our nation had this in mind when the notion of “Federal. Character” was inscribed in the constitution and a commission created for that purpose. That a President of elder statesman status would willfully breach this fibre that holds this country together is highly regrettable.
“Well, my take is that, ‘it is a Buhari country’, it is the reality, so he can play around with his choice as his mind and conscience directs him. After all he did not win election in the South East and South-South and yet he became President, therefore, the South should be orphaned for not voting for him. Perhaps that is the stark reality that the people of the South in Nigeria should face.
“There is an idiom in Igbo language that “20 years or more is not eternity”. The Buhari government will also come to an end one day. Nonetheless, it could have been good and politically expedient if President Buhari sees himself as President of Nigeria, which is the hallmark of a statesman and not that of President of a section of the country.”
Musa in a telephone interview with Daily Champion said Buhari has violated the Principle of Federal Character in his appointments.
“I don’t see any reason for this lopsidedness in the president’s appointments. It violated the Principle of Federal Character, this should be corrected forthwith or it will lead to unpleasant development in this nation.
“We want the appointments to reflect the federal character as enshrined in the constitution. We want equity, justice and fairness. The reason for this lopsidedness in the appointments should be explained. The president should take time to explain to Nigerians the reason for his decision and must take immediate action for its correction.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC in Abia State, Chief Nyerere Chinenye Anyim has said that the South East leaders should take the blame for the marginalization of the zone.
“The president told us pointblank that he is in charge and that he wants competent people that can work with him and bring result. So be it. But we ( the South East)are the architect of our misfortune because Ndigbo have refused to speak with one voice, everybody is claiming to have connections, as a result, they are pursuing personal agenda instead of the common good. Have we gone to the president with one voice and told him that this is what we want him to do. Selfishness has been the major problem.
“We have credible people but we have dissenting voices, whatever that we are facing is our own making, the earlier we realize the importance of unity of purpose to achieve our position, the better for us. We must come together instead of the present situation where everybody will be lobbying for himself, we have to get ourselves together. This country cannot do without the South East zone. This government cannot exclude us. Government is ongoing so let us put our house in order,” he said.