By Godwin Oritse
COLONEL Abubakar Dangiwa Umar has decried the recent appointment of Alhaji Dikko Abdulahi as head of the Nigeria Customs Service saying that â€œthe ascendancy of Abdullahi to the Customs top past smacks of sheer favouritism and devoid of any meritâ€.
For the former military governor of Kaduna State, who is also the Chairman, Movement for Unity and Progress accused the President Umoru Musa Yar A duaÂ of nepotismUmar tendered his position on the new Customs Chief via a two_page statement issued in Kaduna, in which he submitted that the appointment of a number of persons who hail from Katsina State, same as Yarâ€™Adua, into key Federal positions violated the principles of Federal Character and national unity.
The new Customs chief, according to Umar, was elevated above his superiors and peers in the service, a development that may work against ridding service of corruption.
He stated: â€œHaving chosen not to disclose the reasons or the considerations that guided the selection and the appointment last week of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko as the new Controller_General of customs over and above his superiors and other peers, President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua had given the impression that he was unconcerned with the increasing apprehensions and anxieties the public feels about the way he is using the powers of his office, without a question, the public is right and is entiled to expect that the President exercises those powers transparently and always for the promotion of the larger interests of the entire country.
â€œSadly, what is apparent is the steady emergence of a disturbing pattern of nepotism, cronyism and chronic disability to treat the whole country as (his) single constituency.
â€œAll too often, as in this instance, a high profile office falls vacant and the President rushes to locate an indigene of Katsina (or in some cases, Kano State) to fill itâ€.
The choice of Katsina_born Alhaji Abdullahi Inde, an Assistant Comptroller_General, a lower level position in the hierarchy of that institution, as Comptroller_General after recent appointments of Katsina State indigenes as chief executive officers of a string of parastatals, including the Petroleum Trust Development Fund, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, the National Inland Waterways Authority and for that matter, FERMA.
â€œIt is to be stressed, therefore, that the presidentâ€™s increasing, disclaim for due process and the tendency towards arbitrariness in appointments portend grave danger to the unity and security of Nigeria.
â€œHis chosen style not only violates our laws but, even more tellingly, shows a provocative contempt for the sensibilities of Nigerians. He is well advised to retrace his stepsâ€.
Umar, it would recalled, established his sterling pedigree as a credible social critic when he resigned his commission in the Nigerian Army to protest the non_validation of the annulled June 12, 1993, Presidential Election widely believed to have been won by the business mogul, Basorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
Meanwhile, the new Customs helmsman may have taking a position which shuns the flurry of congratulatory messages in the media in the wake of his appointment.
These messages have come from, among others, retired Customs top brass and freight forwarders.