Outrage over FG’s appointments and why Katsina got 51 DSS slots
OUTRAGE spred in some parts of the country, yesterday, following revelations of lopsided recruitment into the Department of State Service, (DSS) reflecting what many Nigerians described as a continuing effort by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to stamp a northern character on all strands of the federal bureaucracy. Di The outrage over the lopsided appointments by the Buhari administration was heightened yesterday after it was reported that the latest DSS recruitments were heavily skewed in favour of the north and in particular, Katsina, the home state of President Buhari and the Director-General of the DSS.
In the revelations published by the online newspaper, 51 of the 479 new recruits came from Katsina, which is more than the 42 new cadets recruited from the six South-South states.
Whereas Katsina had 51 new cadets, the distribution in the six South-South states is as follows: Rivers 7, Delta 8, Edo 6, Cross River 9, Bayelsa 7 and Akwa Ibom, 5. Lagos, the state with the highest population had 7 while Kano which follows had 25 and was closely followed by Kaduna with 24 and Bauchi, 23 cadets.
However, a presidency source justified the recruitment quota, yesterday and said there is no lopsidedness in President Buhari’s appointments.
However, Senator Ekweremadu, the highest ranking Igbo political office holder said the reality on ground for the people of the Southeast was that of exclusion from the Buhari administration.
He spoke against the background of controversies surrounding the replacement of the board of the National Pension Commission, PenCom where the former Director-General, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu from Anambra State was sacked two years into her statutory five year tenure and replaced by Aliyu Dikko from Kaduna State against the provisions of the Pension Reforms Act, 2014. Section 21(2) of PRA 2014 provides that ‘In the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure’.
Mrs. Anohu-Amazu took over after Mohammed K. Ahmad from Gombe State had served two terms of eight years under the old pension law.
The fury even from some Northern elements put the blame on the administration with Dr. Junaid Mohammed describing the present administration as nepotistic and the chairman of the National Conscience Party, NCP in Katsina State saying that even in picking people from Katsina that appointments have been skewed to favour people from Buhari’s Daura region.
Concern over the appointments by the Buhari administration flowed from the first appointments and had continued to resonate.
several bashings for awarding 25 slots to Kano State and gave only 7 to Lagos. A look at the list gave favourable high position to the North compared to the South. For instance, while Abia got 7 Cadets Officer positions, Adamawa State was given 19. Evidently, the recruitment slots run thus: Anambra 10, Bauchi 23, Bayelsa 7, Benue 9, Borno 16, Cross River 9, Delta 8, Ebonyi 7, Edo 6, Ekiti 12, Enugu 9, FCT 7, Gombe 14, Imo 11, Jigawa 14, Kaduna 24, Kano 25, Katsina 51, Kebbi 16, Kogi 11, Kwara 13, Lagos 7, Nassarawa 11, Niger 11, Ogun 8, Ondo 9, Osun 10, Oyo 11, Plateau 9, Rivers 7, Sokoto 15, Taraba 16, Yobe 12 and Zamfara 20.
To this end, the Service had been accused of abandoning the Federal Character Principle which is obviously stated in Section 14, subsection 3 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
The Sections provides that: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such manner to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that government or any of its agencies”.
But in a swift reaction, a source in the Presidency who does not want his name in print said that the situation was sequel to an effort to correct the imbalance that had existed over the years.
The source said that the case was not peculiar to DSS, hinting that such also obtained in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The Source stated that there was no ulterior motive to fill the Service with people from Katsina, the home State of President Buhari or from the North alone and sidelining the South.
According to the source, the report of the lopsideness was untrue. “In an organization that is very sensitive and an important one for national cohesion and stability such as the DSS, there is always the need to ensure balance in recruitment and manning.
This is also true of institutions such as the Army, the Navy and Air force. Where such balancing in line with Federal Character is breached, the need arises from time to time, to find a way of redressing such inequity.
This is the true story of the recruitment, about a year-and-a half ago in the DSS, states that were short-changed in previous recruitments were awarded slots to enable them achieve a fair representation. T
his is what happened. “It is important to emphasize that it is in the interest of peace, stability and the general well-being of the nation that all component units are fairly represented in organizations such as this.
Where this comes short, efforts must be made to correct such lop-sidedness as the DSS did between 2015 and 2016”, the source explained. We now have Northern Republic of Nigeria – Ankio-Briggs Commenting, Niger Delta Activist, Ms Ankio-Briggs, said: “I think this is unacceptable. It is not surprising because that is what this government has done since it came.
Its appointment has favoured the North. Some of us now refer to the federal government as Government of the Northern Republic of Nigeria.
They have changed from federal character to northern character. “The government of the day is not listening to what Nigerians are saying; Nigerians are complaining everyday against nepotism in the system.
They have taken more employment for themselves. Everything about Nigeria is skewed against us. We begin to wonder what exactly binds us together if it is not the oil and gas.”
Buhari has been fair to Cross River – Henshaw Mrs. Fila Henshaw, a onetime governorship aspirant in Cross River state under the PDP, said: “It is unfortunate that some people when given position of leadership fail to understand that they have become the fathers of all. “However, the President should be given some time to redress some of the decisions he has taken which some see as unfavourable. In Cross River State, we have seen more appointments than at any time, and we are grateful to the President and ask that he gives us more.” Remarkably, even from the north criticisms have also trailed the appointments with minority groups and critics from all tribes and religions flaying the spread of the appointments.
Among the leading critics are Dr. Junaid Mohammed and Col. Abubakar Umar (retd). Dr. Mohammed, who served in the Second Republic House of Representatives, had accused the president of putting family and friends at the front of his appointments. Chairman, National Conscience Party, NCP Katsina State chapter, Abdulmumini Shehu Sani said President Buhari administration has continued to breach the principles of the Federal character in his appointment and recruitment exercises.
He cited instance with appointments made by President Buhari where he appointed only from Daura zone, his hometown about three of his kinsmen.
A Minister, Hadi Sirika (Aviation), Director of Department of State Security, (DSS) Lawal Daura. According to him, “President Buhari has not been abiding by the principle of federal character.
He has ignored the rule of law. He violated the rule of law. He should put into consideration other people from other areas and that way nobody will cry foul. And by doing so, he would be just to all. The issue of ethno-religious crisis will be addressed,” Sani said. It’s condemnable – Mitee To Ledum Mitee, former leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, the lopsided DSS recruitment is condemnable. ‘’You cannot allocate more slots of the secret police to a section of the country. It portends danger for national security because the secret police is a very key component of national security. When you structure it in a manner that it is populated by those from a section of the country then it is unfair and unacceptable.’’ South-East leaders are to blame – Nwodozi Chairman of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, chapter, Odozi Nwodozi in his reaction blamed political appointees from the South East for the alleged negligence of the zone by the present government. According to him, the recruitment “shows simply that the man is implementing what he said after the election that he would give more to those who voted for him. It shows also that Ndigbo and indeed the South-South are the endangered species as far as President Buhari’s government is concerned. “In the security council as we talk today, there is no presence of the South East in the council, this is the clear reflection of Igbo absence in the Security Council. Finally, it’s a clear pointer to failure and negligence on the part of Igbo elements in the Buhari government, who have constantly been using their position to voice out support for the administration without minding the injustice done to Ndigbo in patronages and infrastructural allocation.” Buhari’s advisers are enemies of Nigeria – Owie Former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Rowland Owie, blamed those advising Buhari on his appointments as enemies of the nation. His words: “If you look at the way and manner the Igbo are being treated in this country, it is very unfair. Their people in government are being removed every day and replaced with Hausa. I wonder what those advising the President want for this nation. You cannot beat a child and expect that child not to cry. “While I congratulate members of the National Assembly who are striving hard to carry out their legitimate functions, I urge them to remember that it is the Legislative arm that makes any government democratic because, even with a military regime, the Executive and Judiciary arms are always there, and as representatives of the people, they should rise and save this country, that is now in very terrible situation, from total ruin, especially as Buhari handlers have become very undemocratic.’’ Was it to correct past imbalance? Also, Professor Lucky Akaruese, an activist and lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, wondered if the DSS lopsided recruitment was done to balance past errors. ‘’We need to get to the root of why the employment was done in this manner. Is it that it is intended Edo PDP, others speak Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, through its State Publicity Secretary, Chris Nehikhare said: “It’s tragic that a federal government that was voted in mainly to balance the illogical and widely condemned quota system and federal character doctrine is the same federal government encouraging nepotism and ethnic profiling to determine employees in federal government agencies.’’ A Benin based legal practitioner, Mr Samuel Abasilim said that since the inception of the present administration, it had failed to show maturity and integrity in the appointments of persons into the various offices in the country. He said: “All its appointments have been skewed towards one particular religion and one section of the country. Nigerians want performing persons in government offices but those the president has appointed so far have not shown commitment. This is a double tragedy for the country.” Another Benin based legal practitioner, Mr Olayiwola Afolabi, described the latest DSS recruitment as “Corruption in Appointments”. He said, “The President has been getting away with such lopsided appointments in the past because Nigerians have refused to confront him constitutionally. We can no longer take this.” “His lopsided appointees have never worked for the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians and it is time we resort to merit in appointments so that the country can take its place in the comity of developed nations.” Dr. Lawrence Ekwok, a lecturer in the University of Calabar said the appointments are the highest form of corruption by the administration. “The appointments by the President are actually the highest form of corruption. I wonder why they are parading people whom they claim stole money. To me, the fight against corruption is mere shadow-chasing. Look at the list of recent recruitments into the DSS, the number of those from Katsina State alone is more than those from the six states of South-South put together and if such is not corruption what is it called? They should tell us or redefine the word to give it another dictionary meaning.’’