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Appointments Gate: The President Of Northern Nigeria (1)

With over 250 ethnic groups and different languages, only a foolish leader will fail to treat Nigeria as a diverse entity of equal… EQUAL parts.

 – Abiodun Ladepo


Hurray! It is September and Nigerians from the South can now expect to be called upon to serve their country as members of President Buhari’s cabinet.

No, they are not going to be the National Security Adviser. They are not going to be Accountant-General of the Federation. They are not going to head DSS, EFCC or INEC. They are not going to head the Nigerian Ports Authority or the Nigerian Maritime Administration, Safety and Security Agency (NIMASA).

They are not going to head Customs or Immigrations.Listen; there is quite a long list of serious positions they are not going to have because those positions have gone to the North n the infinite wisdom of President Muhammadu Buhari, after having searched the length and breadth of Nigeria looking for competent people who are also not tainted by the stain of corruption, these positions have already gone to the North where there is an abundance of incorruptible and competent Nigerians.

If we applied to the Obasanjo Third-Term saga or to the Goodluck Jonathan I-want-a-second-term saga the logic being espoused today diehard Buharists as justification for the lopsidedness and apparent ethnocentric appointments he has made so far, Buhari would not be President today.

This is because, as far as Obasanjo and Jonathan were concerned when the were in office, they were the best thing to happen to Nigeria since sliced bread, and so deserved to continue in office regardless of what Nigerians said. Some early-day Buhari sycophants are now telling us that competence and integrity are the only yardsticks by which Federal appointments are made in Nigeria.

And if the President is only able to find ever single appointee he needs in Katsina State perhaps even just in Daura, as long as they are competent and without blemish, he should go ahead and make those appointments.

They have also arrogated to Buhari the exclusive right to appoint people without consulting the party – a literal explanation of the powers vested in him by the Presidential system of government we are practicing in Nigeria.

Fortunately, in the room where these sycophants are conspiring and collaborating to feed poison to Buhari sit a couple of 1000 lbs gorillas – the gorillas of Nepotism, Sectionalism, Rank Discrimination and Marginalization.

These people ignore those gorillas at their own perils. Buhari ignores those gorillas at his own peril. Some of us still remember what happened to Aguiyi Ironsi when he failed to recognize these same gorillas at the time.

With over 250 ethnic groups and different languages, only a foolish leader will fail to treat Nigeria as a diverse entity of equal parts.

True, Buhari reserves the right to appoint whomever he wants (although in some cases, the Senate has a say), the President did not come from heaven this President in particular …this President that we all so warmly welcomed back into our lives after Decree 4  that we so massively  trooped out to elect did not come from heaven.

Before he became available for us to elect in the general election, he went through the APC primary People not some self-righteous labels called “competence” and “integrity” today …physically sat in blazing sun and heavy rains to help him win the primary.  People…. human beings spent their time and personal resources (not everybody that spent money to get him elected is a thief) before he was able to defeat Atiku Abubakar.

The support that many key party members and delegates gave him caused them permanent damage to their anti-Buhari friends in the party and throughout the rest of the country. And these people who bent over backwards to get Buhari to Aso Rock are not all from the North. They are all from all over the country.

So, how come these competence and integrity criteria are only finding and qualifying folks in the North to the detriment of the Southern part of the country? Governance is governance and politics is politics.

They are separate and distinct fields But in democracy, the are intertwined A democratically-elected Executive cannot govern in a vacuum, completely removed from the influence of the party on whose platform he rode to power.

And let me put this straight and clear: I have no problem with any of the appointments he has made so far. I trust his judgment in picking those people who are, by the way, Nigerians too  trust his judgment in rutting them in the specific offices he has put them. But the politics of governance requires that he manages those announcements in a better way.

Why not delay some of these appointments that went to the North (while still keeping the slots for the specific individuals he has in mind until after announcing some names for the rest of the country? I am sure that would not have generated the kind of controversy we have right now.

The rest of the country will not feel sidelined even though they really are being sidelined. You see, just like in jurisprudence, it is not enough to be fair; you have to be seen to be fair. Right now, Buhari is not being seen as fair to the rest of Nigeria.

This is the point we are trying to make but his apologists are now telling us that as long as the country is being run well, it does not matter the ethnicity of the appointees. If this was true, how come there was the strident clamor for the Presidency to return to the North? If it didn’t matter where competent people came from, how come we didn’t get our Vice President too from the North ? Couldn’t we have found a more qualified VP from Kano State? We as a people and our leaders in particular do not learn from the past, even the recent past. Not too long ago, bootlickers and sycophants egged Jonathan on when he started to brazenly appoint people to positions of import that were mostly from the South-South and the East.

They told him to continue dancing; that they were watching his back. They told him it was the turn of the “minorities” and he better make good use of it because once power returned to the North, their people would be relegated to second-class citizenship again.

Many people, especially from the North, joined the rest of us in the struggle to remove Jonathan from power because of that singular action…shutting the North out of key positions. His supporters patted him on the back for “putting those northerners in their place.”

(To be concluded tomorrow)

 • Abiodun Ladepo wrote in from Ibadan, Oyo State, via Oluyole2@yahoo.com.  

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