ABUJA— Following criticisms that trailed the appointments made so far by President Muhammadu Buhari which many argued were lopsided in favour of the north, the president, yesterday, dismissed insinuations that he was implementing a northern agenda in his appointments.
It will be recalled that President Buhari since taking over the reins of power on May 29 has, so far, made 11 appointments, out of which only one came from the South West. Although some people considered the appointments to be “unserious positions”, many Nigerians condemned its alleged lopsidedness, saying they were signs of what to expect from the Buhari presidency.
The appointments The appointments are: Acting Chairman, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, Jigawa State; Director, the Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan; the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, Kano State.
Others are the State House Chief of Protocol, Mallam Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure; Aide De Camp, Lt.-Col. Muhammed Lawal Abubakar, Kano State; Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, North West; Mr Ahmed Joda, Head Transition Committee; Mr Adamu Adamu, Secretary Transition Committee; Mr Lawal Daura, Director-General, DSS; Mallam Abdulrahman Mani, Chief Security Officer, and Femi Adesina, SA Media and Publicity, South West,
In addition to the appointments, Dr. Bukola Saraki from Kwara State, (North central) and Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State, (North East) were also elected as Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives respectively.
Buhari has no Northern agenda— Adesina
But speaking to Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday, the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity Mr. Femi Adesina, who is incidentally the only southerner in the appointments, refuted the claims that Buhari was acting a northern script against the rest of the zones in the country.
He said: “The president received a national mandate and was going to pursue it as such. The president does not have a northern agenda. He has a national agenda. He got a national mandate and that is the way he is going to exercise that mandate. I have already said it and I still maintain that”, he said.
Reacting to the criticisms trailing the appointments, national secretary of the Labour Party, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, National President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima and Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, yesterday, called for caution in the claims of a perceived northernisation policy by the incumbent administration.
Let us give him benefit of doubt — LP scribe
“I want to give President Buhari the benefit of doubt, he still has thousands of appointments to make. We need not hang him on just nine of such appointments,” Ajulo said.
“However, he needs to be sensitive and responsive to our laws, values and attitude as a multi-ethnic people. Everything counts in Nigeria and President Buhari as a politician should know that woe betides any Nigerian politician that treats with levity such issues like tribe, ethnicity, religion etc.”
He added: “President Buhari had, in his inaugural address and subsequent speeches, stressed that the job of rebuilding Nigeria is not his alone. I call him to walk the talk.”
It’s too early in the day —Shettima, President, Arewa Youths National President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shettima on his part said it was too early to arrive at such a conclusion.
Shettima said: “I do not want to be in a hurry because some of us have our reservations. But then, we have not seen the ministerial list, we should not be in a hurry. That does not mean we cannot learn from the past. When someone from the Niger Delta was the president, those from the region said he was their president, a lot of appointments were given to people from the zone and that created a lot of problem for that administration.”
He, however, urged the Buhari administration not to toe the same path. He said: “I pray Buhari will not make the same mistake because Nigeria belongs to all of us.
He represents Nigeria and not only the north; he must be seen to do justice to all.” It is non-existent — Mohammed Second Republic lawmaker,
Dr. Mohammed in his reaction said the claim by some Nigerians that it’s only Northerners that are dominating the present administration is non existent. Mohammed said: “I have never claimed to speak on behalf of the North but personally, I am sick and tired of this Northern Agenda mantra that is circulating in the political space. “When people are saying things, they need to understand what they are talking about.
During President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, he picked Ita Ekpeyong who happens to be his kinsman and 11 senior Directors who were all Northerners were retired just to make Ekpeyong Director of DSS. Then nobody accused Jonathan of anything,” he stated. He said further: “I cannot criticize what is non existing. Are some people claiming the North is not part of this country anymore? I am not tribal. I believe whatever that is being said about this Northern Agenda is irrelevant and false, so I would not want to respond to people trying to create confusion. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be used”.