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Umar knocks Yar’Adua over political appointees

By Emeka Mammah
Former military governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd), has expressed worry over what he described as President Umaru Yar’Adua’s bias for the appointment of mediocrities from the North into high public offices.

Umar said apart from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido, who has proved to be uncommonly well informed, Yar’Adua has formed the habit of appointing his kinsmen and women from Katsina State into any high profile office which falls vacant without due consideration for the nation’s federal character, regretting further that this pattern of nepotism and cronyism was disturbing.

He was reacting to the appointment of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde who is said to be a relation of the President’s wife as the Comptroller-General of the Customs.

Umar said the new Comptroller-General was a lower level officer in the hierarchy of the Customs before he was elevated above his seniors.

He listed other areas where Yar’Adua appointed his cronies to include the Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF), the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the National Inland Waterways Authority and FERMA, among others.

In a statement condemning the appointment of new Comptroller-General of Customs in Kaduna yesterday, Umar, who is also the Chairman, Movement for Unity and Progress, stated, “having chosen not to disclose the reasons or the considerations that guided the selection and appointment last week of Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde as the new Comptroller-General of Customs over and above his superiors and other peers, President Umaru Yar’Adua has given the impression that he is unconcerned with the increasing apprehensions and anxieties the public feels about the way he uses the powers of his office.

“Without a question, the public is right and is entitled to expect that the President exercises those powers transparently and always for the promotion of the larger interests of the entire country. Sadly, what is apparent is the steady emergence of a disturbing pattern of nepotism, cronyisms and chronic disability to treat the whole country as his single constituency.

“All 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 it. Few can pretend not to notice or take issues with 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 the recent appointments of Katsina state-born indigenes as chief executive officers of a string of parastals including the PTDF, the PHCN, the National Inland Waterways Authority and, for that matter, FERMA.

“In the opinion of the public, no matter the qualifications of those so appointed, the fact that the President ignored agreed principles of federal character and national unity to do so render any such qualities untenable.

“This should dbe a matter of deep regret considering that at least one of his recent appointees, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank has proved to be uncommonly well informed, competent and an effective regulator: a big credit indeed to his profession.

“It is obvious that but for the courage and professional skills of the new CBN Governor, the endemic corruption, graft and fraud being perpetrated by officials said to be managing our major banks would have crushed the financial system and possibly the entire economy.

“It is to be stressed therefore that the President’s increasing disdain for due process and the tendency towards arbitrariness in appointments portend grave danger to the unity and security of Nigeria.

“His 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 steps.”


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