Buhari: Fresh concerns on national unity over alleged lopsided appointments

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The rising allegations of nepotism against President Muhammadu Buhari are indications that Nigerians feel his promise of inclusive governance in his second term is far from being fulfilled.

Soon after receiving his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the February 23, 2019, presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to run an inclusive government in his second term.

“I, therefore, want to assure that we will continue to engage all parties that have the best interest of Nigerians at heart. Our government will remain inclusive and our doors will remain open. That is the way to build the country of our dream; safe, secure, prosperous, and free of impunity and primitive accumulation by those entrusted with public offices.

“The hard work to deliver a better Nigeria continues, building on the foundations of peace, rule of law and opportunities for all. We will roll up our sleeves afresh, and give it our all,” the President had said.

A year after President Buhari made the pledge, it appears he has continued to tread the old path, which elicited widespread allegations of nepotism against his administration during his first term. The rising clamour for equity and fairness in the polity, especially in the area of appointments, signals the old order still persist.

Towards promoting national unity and cohesion, Section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution provides that “the composition of the government 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.”

Section 15 (4) of the constitution also provides that “The state shall foster a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various peoples of the Federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties.”

Last Sunday, former military governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (retd), in an open letter to Buhari, warned that lopsided appointments in his government was against the provisions of the Constitution and could spell doom for the country’s unity.

In the letter entitled, “Mr. President, Please Belong To All Of Us”, Umar said unless the Buhari administration changed its style of governance, Nigeria might further be faced with crisis. He particularly accused the president of favouring some sections of the country in the headship of the security agencies.

“All those who wish you and the country well must mince no words in warning you that Nigeria has become dangerously polarised and risks sliding into crisis on account of your administration’s lopsided appointments, which continues to give undue preference to some sections of the country over others.

“Nowhere is this more glaring than in the leadership cadre of our security services. Mr. President, I regret that there are no kind or gentle words to tell you that your skewed appointments into the offices of the Federal Government, favouring some and frustrating others, shall bring ruin and destruction to this nation,” Umar warned.

Umar’s outbursts came on the heels of public outcries over the recent constitution of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (PTF) by President Buhari.

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