THE Federal Character Commission(FCC) was established through Act No. 34 of 1996 “to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of the proportional sharing of all the bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government”.
This Act was grafted into Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution to ensure 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 no predominance of persons from a few states or a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies”.
This enactment, the establishment of a Commission to enforce it, with its enshrinement in the Constitution shows the emphasis that the Constitutional Conference of 1994-1996 convened by General Sani Abacha exerted to heal the wounds inflicted by the political crisis which followed the June 12, 1993 presidential poll annulment.
Various administrations since 1999 observed this constitutional principle with varying levels of fidelity. However, since 2015 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, the principle has been almost completely jettisoned.
All protests and calls for the correction of this constitutional anomaly have fallen on deaf ears.
The latest episode was the recent promotion and posting of senior police officers by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, not only in flagrant violation of the Federal Character principle but also in contempt of Police Service Commission, PSC, whose mandate it is to approve a shortlist of eligible officers in a manner to ensure that qualified and competent candidates from every state of the Federation and Abuja are selected.
The most annoying part of it was that some sources at the Federal Character Commission were quoted as saying they could not do their constitutionally-bounded duty because nobody had written to complain about the ugly situation!
Apart from the fact that tons of complaints by geopolitical and other interest groups exist in the public space, the ruinous acts are perpetrated in the open, and the FCC cannot claim ignorance of them.
The impression being created is that the FCC, rather than intervening to uphold the constitution and the law, has chosen to condone extreme nepotism which is an act capable of creating an atmosphere of discontent, hatred, disloyalty, disenchantment and separatist reflexes among victimised groups.
We urge the National Assembly to call the FCC to account for its failure or neglect of duty and also ensure that President Buhari makes good his promise of addressing the litany of lopsided appointments in his government.