President Muhammadu Buhari Has Finally Let The Cat Out On Reason He Appointed Only Northerners Into His Core Team
After weeks of hiding behind Aso Rock veils, President Muhammadu Buhari has eventually lifted the lid on his decision to appoint more northerners into very sensitive positions in total disregard of the constitutional demand on him to protect the federal character principle.
Speaking on a BBC Hausa Service programme Tuesday, Buhari, who has been accused of pushing for the northernisation of government, said he decided to reward those who had suffered with him while he wandered in political wilderness.
Specifically, he said the appointments were aimed at settling his friends and associates who had been with him from their days in the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Progressives . Buhari however denied allegations of parochialism and specially favouring the north over other zones.
He said: “If I select people whom I know quite well in my political party, whom we came all the way right from the APP, CPC and APC, and have remained together in good or bad situation, the people I have confidence in and I can trust them with any post, will that amount to anything wrong? Justifying his action, President Buhari said “I have been with them throughout our trying times, what then is the reward of such dedication and suffering? They did not defect because of positions, they did not involve themselves in the pursuit of personal gains, and they accepted their fate throughout our trying moments.
What is wrong if I make you the secretary (to the government of the federation) because I have confidence that things will go normal?” According to him, the constitution has not been offended in any way as the appointees do not require Senate confirmation to so function.
“This is the nature of Nigerian politics. If they will do justice to me, as an elected Nigerian president, let them look at the constitution that Nigerian president works with; there are people who will closely work with me that doesn’t need to be taken to the senate”, he said. Buhari also said Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was the country main corruption hub. He said “the biggest area of stealing of Nigeria’s funds was through NNPC.
That was why we dissolved their board and brought someone who knows the oil sector very well, but who is not from NNPC and entrusted him with the leadership of the NNPC. “And instead of the eight major departments, four were liquidated and four continue to exist. This is because, for the past 10 years, the crude oil stealing has been going on using some vessels.
By law, their owners, captains and where they are taking the crude must be known. So the method for the crude oil stealing was that those involved in it shipped the crude through smaller vessels and then transfer the crude to the larger vessels at distant location in the ocean, before they head to other countries”, he said.
Commenting on what his administration was doing to bring oil theft to an end, President Buhari said he was enlisting the support of markets for the stolen oil in Europe, United States of America and China for concerted efforts. “Some of them carry the crude but later change the destination”, he said adding “so our new approach is to get support from European countries, the US and China.
Those doing the bunkering, you need to know the amount first and the banks they deposit the monies, etc. These are the things we are doing presently. And you know, those developed countries are strict on evidences and you have to show the evidences of such cases before they can assist you”.
Relying on his dictatorial past for insight on what next to do, the President said “If you recall, during the military regimes, such people were arrested, thoroughly interrogated and arraigned before the courts with evidences”. He however said “that is impossible now.
It is democracy and even the foreign countries, where the monies are being taken to, practice democracy.” He therefore hinted that “the companies involved in buying the crude and the banks that kept the monies would be identified so that we would determine whether they are Nigerians or not; whether the stolen crude an its quantity was actually taken from here, sold with the Nigerian name and how what accrued to Nigeria was diverted”.
President Buhari also agreed that oil theft regime was complex but said “we are getting support from governments of those countries, including their security agencies. When we get the relevant documents, we would bring them (culprits) back to our courts and try them. We would then show the evidence to the world that the crude oil they traded was actually stolen or shipped with Nigerian name but [they] later changed the papers and took away the money instead of depositing them into the Central Bank of Nigeria”.
– Francis Moses