Edo, groups differ over Buhari’s appointments
THE Edo State government has applauded the President Muhammadu over his choices of Chief of Staff, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Comptroller General of Customs and Presidential Liaison Officers to the National Assembly, saying the appointments were based on merit and not political or ethnic considerations.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Peter Okhiria, said: “The Nigerian nation has come to a point where we have to use the best hands to confront the peculiarity of our problems. It is not all the time we descend to the level of geo-political balancing. We need to employ unusual method to solve an unusual problem. The level of decay in the country at present requires very seasoned hands and incorruptible Nigerians that would help to translate the APC agenda of change for the benefit of all Nigerians. We must not reduce governance to political patronage of bread and butter.
“The Comrade Governor congratulates the Chief of Staff, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Comptroller General of Customs, all of whom he had had very close relationship with and whose credentials stand tall among their compeers. He wishes them well in their new jobs of helping to sanitise a system that has become so rotten and corrupt as a result of manifest incompetence and mismanagement,” it read in part.
Meanwhile, two groups, the Masses Eye and Registered Voters Association of Nigeria (REVAN) yesterday held different views on the appointments made so far.
While the former supported the move, the latter believed that the exercise had been lopsided to the benefit of a section of the country
The Coordinator of the Masses Eye, Samson Momorin, told The Guardian that the President was right to choose his appointees from anywhere because he takes responsibility for the success or failure of the government. “We have tried a lot of people in the past and they failed us. I think President Buhari should be allowed to do his work. If anything goes wrong, everybody will hold him responsible because he is the head of government. So, let him take his time because a lot of people have come and they have always been the same faces. We need new faces wherever they come from. It is the people that he knows and trusts that he will pick,” he stated.
REVAN, in a statement yesterday by its Executive Director, Dr. Philip Ugbodaga, said the mixed reactions greeting the development “are what you get in a country that has no respect for merit but celebrates mediocrity, ethnicity and tribalism. Our constitution gives those who are unhappy with Buhari the legal ammunition to cry about marginalisation in the appointments made so far because Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states 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 a manner as 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 other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies. So we can all see that our constitution is the greatest promoter of mediocrity in Nigeria. It emphasizes federal character over and above merit in the appointment of public officers. We see ourselves more from the prisms of our ethnic origin than being Nigerians. If the overriding consideration or state policy places a high premium on merit, then whether the best person is an Ibo or Hausa or Yoruba or Edo will hardly matter as far as he or she is the best person for the job.
“However, it is a constitutional imperative for the President to spread appointments round the component parts of the country. The President has no personal choice as the constitution gives him no room or leverage to appoint whoever he likes from wherever he likes. We think that the recent appointments when also put side by side with existing political occupier geopolitical spread give an unacceptable lopsidedness in the emerging composition of the new government.
“We advise registered voters in the South East and the South South or any other zone that feels ‘marginalised’ to seek judicial interpretation and possible intervention since any infringement on the federal character principle has been made justiceable by the Federal Character Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act Cap F7 LFN 2004,” Ugbodaga stated.