President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed 6 more key officials of his government on August 27, Thursday.
The new appointments caused outrage among Nigerians over suggestions that Buhari is favouring people from the Northern Nigeria.
His critics have characterized his appointments as overpoweringly lopsided, lacking in gender balance and regional equity.
The six officials brought to 29 the total number of government personnel who will handle the economy, energy, defence and other important sectors of governance for the nearly 100-day-old Buhari government.
Buhari has yet to name a single female, a noticeable difference from his immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, who had women in all main sectors of administration.
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That has infuriated not a few pro-democracy and gender activists across the country. But what has worried critics more is the seeming lack of regional balance in the appointments, a failing Buhari has been forcefully condemned for in the past.
In violation of federal law the president has appointed by far more persons from Nigeria’s northern region where he hails.
Under the Third Schedule of the Constitution, the administration must enable “the principles of proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government”.
The positions mentioned to include those of the permanent secretaries, directors-general in extra-ministerial departments and parastatals, directors in ministries and extra-ministerial departments, senior military officers, senior diplomatic posts and managerial cadres in the Federal and State parastatals, bodies, agencies and institutions.
Premium Times reports that only 25 % of Buhari’s appointments are from the south while an overwhelming 75 % are the north.
Also, Buhari’s North West geopolitical zone, has the biggest share of 41 %, whiles the South East for instance, has no appointee.
Some critics even called Buhari the most provincial leader ever.
“Buhari is the most provincial leader Nigeria has ever had,” said Ikechukwu Amaechi, a former editor of Daily Independent and Editor-in-Chief of The Niche, in a post on his Facebook page.
“He is not fit to be President of Nigeria. How can he continue appointing top officials of government from the north? Customs, Immigration bosses, SGF, Chief of Staff all from the North?”
“If I am President Muhammadu Buhari, I would have appointed a South Easterner as SGF,” said Sunday Akoji, a public affairs commentator.
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“If I am Baba, I will not appoint five people from the north into sensitive positions in one day and throw one worthless carrot called SSA on National Assembly Matters to the entire South.”
Chukwuemeka Ezeife, a former governor of Anambra state, condemned the president for not considering an Igbo for any political nomination so far.
“I don’t understand what is going on,” he told reporters. “It appears Buhari has some messages for various people.
“I don’t know what to say. If it (appointment) is only for the North, it is okay.”
Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman of Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, said Buhari’s action poses serious danger to Nigeria.
He said: “It is not healthy for a plural society. There are competent people across the nation. When you do this there can’t be a balance. We need constructive surgery, not bulldozing.”
Buhari has come under criticisms for his actions as Nigeria’s leader so far. In his government’s short term, he has drawn fire for his delay in making a cabinet, and for appearing not to be in haste to fix a nation faced with huge problems.
His recent appointments too were believed unequal for a nation that holds together six geopolitical zones, 36 states and a federal capital territory, 774 local governments and over 250 different ethnic nationalities.
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It should be also noted that President Buhari received the least number of votes in the South East and South South, the political stronghold of his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.
It is not pure whether the appointments are in demonstration of that belief.
So far, President Buhari has made 35 appointments. They comprise:
1. Aide de Camp to president: Lt. Col Abubakar Lawal, (Kano state, North-West and husband to President Buhari’s foster daughter).
2. Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the president: Femi Adesina, (Osun state, South-West).
3. Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity: Garba Shehu, (Kano state, North-West).
4. State Chief of Protocol/Special Assistant (Presidential Matters): Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure, (Jigawa state, North-West).
5. Accountant General of the Federation: Ahmed Idris (Kano state, North-West).
6. National Security Adviser: Babagana Monguno (Borno state, North-East).
7. Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonishakin, (Ekiti state, South-West).
8. Chief of Army Staff: Tukur Buratai, [Borno State, North-East].
9. Chief of Naval Staff: Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, [Cross Rivers, South-South].
10. Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, (Bauchi state, North-East).
11. Chief of Defence Intelligence: Monday Riku Morgan (Benue state, North-Central).
12. Director General, State Security Services, SSS: Lawal Daura, (Katsina state, North-West).
13. Acting Chairperson, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Amina Zakari, (Jigawa state, North-West).
14. Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA: Habibu Abdulahi (Kano state, North-West).
15. Special Adviser, Niger Delta Amnesty Office: Paul Boroh, (Bayelsa state, South-South).
16. Acting Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration, Safety and Security Agency, NIMASA: Baba Haruna Jauro (Yobe state, North-East).
17. Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission: Umaru Dambatta (Kano state, North-West).
18. Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS: Babatunde Fowler, (Lagos state, South-West).
19. Director General, Budget Office of the Federation: Aliyu Gusau, (Zamfara state, North-West).
20. Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Emmanuel Kachikwu, (Delta state, South-South).
21. Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, (Adamawa, North East).
22. Chief of Staff to the President: Abba Kyari, (Borno, North-East).
23. Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service: Hameed Ibrahim Ali, (Kaduna state, North-Central).
24. Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service: Kure Martin Abeshi, (Nasarawa state, North-Central).
25. Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate): Ita Enang, (Akwa Ibom state, South-South).
26. Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives): Suleiman Kawu, (Kano state, North-West).
27. Director, Department Of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Modecai Baba Ladan. (Kano, North West).
28. Managing Director, Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Ahmed Lawan Kuru.
29. Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive of the National Insurance Commission, Mohammed Kari (North-West).
30. Executive Director AMCON: Kola Ayeye.
31. Executive Director, AMCON: Eberechukwu Uneze.
32. Executive Director, AMCON: Aminu Ismail.
33. Group Executive Director, NNPC, Maikanti Baru.
34. Group Executive Director, NNPC, Isiaka Abdulrazaq.
35. Group Executive Director, NNPC: Dennis Nnamdi Ajulu.