IN spite of numerous complaints and criticisms, President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to exhibit tendencies bordering on nepotism in his federal appointments.
Never in the history of this country had one part of this country been favoured with the vast majority of important federal appointments and distribution of projects as in the current dispensation. This is totally against the Federal Character provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian 1999 as amended.
Cognisant of the danger that this portends to the unity and sense of belonging of citizenry of the country, we have written several editorials condemning these constitutional violations, all to no avail.
Penultimate week, the House of Representatives also waded into this matter when it came to their notice that the Chairman and Secretary of the Federal Character Commission, FCC, appointed by Buhari were Northerners and Muslims.
The House, in a rare show of pluck since Femi Gbajabiamila became the Speaker, rose as a body to condemn this act when one of its members, Unyime Idem, brought it up. The House mandated its Committee on Federal Character to ensure compliance within four weeks.
That President Buhari took his serial violations of the Federal Character principle into the FCC, the very body created to ensure compliance with this constitutional provision, implies that he is doing it deliberately.
Since this principle was agreed at the Constitutional Conference convened by the late General Sani Abacha, the Chairman and Secretary have always been appointed from the North and South.
This is the first time both are from one region. The FCC Chairman, Muheeba Dankaka, is from Kwara State while the Secretary, Muhammad Bello who was recently reappointed for a second term, is also a Northerner.
Section 14(3) of the Constitution stipulates that “the composition of 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, command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in the Government or any of its agencies”.
Section 4 specifically states: “…But in the case of where two positions are available, the positions shall be shared between the Northern and Southern zones”.
Buhari should be reminded that it was lack of sense of belonging due to nepotism that led to the upspring of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, the Yoruba Nation and other agitation groups.
It is unfortunate that the National Assembly kept mute till now while the presidency toyed with the Constitution. These imbalances must be corrected.