“I think President Muhammadu Buhari is sensitive to the diversity of this country. He has more than 6,000 appointments to make.He is bound, even if he doesn’t wish it, by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to reflect federal character, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, assuring Nigerians on equity in the distribution of federal appointments.
Appointments into of federal boards, agencies and parastatals and the reconstitutions of others have begun in earnest with the massive engagements in April. Heads of many federal government agencies have been announced and from all indications, the list of names released by directorof press in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) Bolaji Adebiyi showed that the appointees were drawn from all parts of the country. This shows that there will be gradual balancing and appointments of qualified citizens from all parts of the country, a clamour made by Nigerians since the inception of the present federal administration.
In the memory of Nigerians remains the proclamation by the senior special assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu that the President’s fairness to all Nigerians would manifest by the time he makes massive appointments. He told journalists that over 6,000 appointments would be made by the government. This was at the time nationwide criticism heaped up.
Shehu had said that since more appointments were yet to be made, there was no justification for anybody to judge the President on the few ones he has made. According to him, the government is bound, even if not by wish but by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to reflect federal character in its appointments. He had described the president as an experienced leader from who Nigeria stands to gain from the accumulation of wisdom that he has garnered over his long life on earth, having sworn to an oath that he is a President of all.
Yes, since the inception of this administration in 2015, there have been wide criticisms from different individual citizens and ethno-political interest groups over appointments into positions of trust in the country. Three viewpoints are critical.
One is that the earlier appointments favoured one part of the country over the others. Specifically, the Igbo who stand as the third major ethnic group in Nigeria have cried loud.
The second is that appointments have favoured those who did not work for the emergence of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) led by the president himself. Most of the positions in government, APC has insisted, are occupied by non-party loyalists or overnight defectors who were appointed by the president into sensitive positions. On this note, the APC stalwarts groan over neglect. And that has been the cause of the intraparty rancor.
The third is that the minority concern of the southeast geopolitical zone of Nigeria where Muslims of Igbo extraction have cried of political exclusion since the creation of Nigeria. Muslims of the region claim that they have never been carried along in the political appointments of the country despite their counterparts from the northern part of the country have had it better throughout the military and past democratic federal governments.
Now that the appointments have gradually begun, it is hoped that the three voices would be heard as promised by the president. That will be part of the yardsticks upon which the success of the government will be adjudged. Justice and fairness in the distribution of federal wealth, appointments and infrastructures are not negotiable. It should be the watchwords of the administration, as a lot of civil disturbances confronting the nation have often been ascribed to the three indices that also gauge national peace, unity and integration. And from the onset, this government had promised to be fair to all components of the country. Though slow and steady, it is yet to be adjudged due to the economic rots bequeathed it by the past democratic governments.
However, the good news is that new young and vibrant citizens are making the list. This is a welcome development and it is going to be a fulfilled promise by the president for the youth of Nigeria. It is also going to be additional force for the re-election of the president in 2019. However, the reconstitution of the federal boards should open opportunities for new faces rather than the old tradition of recycling appointees as was done by past governments since 1999. The N-Power project, a very laudable initiative, should be corrupt-free, sustained and enlarged.
Once in an interview with Leadership Prince Tony Momoh, APC chieftain and former minister of information during President Ibrahim Babangida’s administration challenged Nigerians to stone them if President Buhari’s APC government doesn’t deliver on its campaign promises. With the optimism that Buhari would perform, he had projected three steps in a equation: S+S=P, meaning security, stability and prosperity. “At the end of the day, if Buhari doesn’t perform, stone us because he is going to perform”.
Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. E-mail [email protected]
Source: The Nigerian Voice (opinions)