I have never liked the principle of federal character. It is an opportunity to fill public offices with unqualified people. I mean people who are intellectually undeserving. I am sure that I am speaking the minds of many Nigerians. I believe in one thing: if somebody is good, don’t play politics with his competence.
We should not sacrifice meritocracy on the altar of federal character. Which country has ever developed by doing that? All the developed countries of the world have always gone for the best when filling vacant positions. They do not care about where the appointee comes from. The principle of federal character is retrogressive in terms of the economic development of the country. That is why people who are qualified for certain jobs are never given the opportunities. On the contrary, those who do not have anything to offer are given sensitive jobs. The civil service is where it is today because of the principle of federal character.
If President Muhammadu Buhari believes that good people come from a particular local government area, let them come and work for the country. The earlier we do away with federal character, the better for this great country. That is my position.
I don’t believe in the principle of federal character when it comes to appointments into public offices.
Rather, I believe that appointments should be based on merit. That is why I can’t canvass or speak for it.
The appointments are lopsided and they favour the North above other parts of the country. This is quite dangerous. It is not wise for any government to ignore other sections of the country when appointing people into offices. It is unconstitutional and unjust. It is not something that any Nigerian should support. I am not a politician and I don’t belong to any political party. But I am saying that what is happening is not going to do this country any good.
There is no part of the country that you won’t find honest people, just as there are bad people everywhere. Honest Nigerians are not concentrated in any part of the country. They are everywhere. You will find them in the North, South, West and East.
You don’t roof a house expensively and neatly on one side and go in to sleep peacefully. You should be wise enough to cover the other side. I don’t agree with the appointments. They are wrong, unconstitutional and immoral. It is not supposed to be so. If it is a matter of the ruling party, there are members of the All Progressives Congress in all the six geopolitical zones.
The appointments do not even reflect the principle of federal character. If anybody says that the concept applies to only civil servants, the person is not telling the truth. Political appointees direct the civil service and make policies for the civil servants to implement. Political appointments are for the purpose of running and governing Nigeria. So, it is not true that federal character applies to the civil service alone. It applies to any situation where people are appointed or employed to run any aspect of Nigeria’s public life.
In fact, it is even more applicable to political appointments than civil service appointments because politicians, not civil servants, steer the ship of the state. The appointments are very wrong. They are against equity and good conscience. Unfortunately, some people do not want to say the truth for one reason or the other.
I agree that government should source for the most competent and honest people to run its affair. But you cannot claim that honest people are found only in one section of the country.
The important thing is to differentiate between political appointments and civil service rule. You cannot expect political appointments to reflect the principle of federal character. People will laugh at you. They are called political appointments because they are political. President Muhammadu Buhari is obliged to compensate those that worked for him to become the President. So, one should not be surprised if he is not following the principle of federal character in making his appointments.
Let us differentiate between political appointments and federal character because they are not the same. The principle of federal character is a civil-service issue. Political appointments are political because the beneficiaries are meant to assist the President. So, if Buhari appoints anyone he chooses, nobody can question him. The federal character is a procedure that says that all parts of the country must participate in government.
If the President leaves office, some of his political appointments would cease to be valid. That is why federal character cannot be used as a condition for making political appointments. Elected politicians are looking for loyalty and other qualities. So, if they choose to appoint those they deem fit in this regard, there should be no problem.
The (Buhari) administration has not been adhering to the principle of federal character. If you look at the appointments made so far, you will discover that they do not reflect the principle.
I advise that the federal character principle should be strictly followed in making subsequent appointments. Those who put the federal character principle in place as a template for making public appointments know why they did so.
It is to give every part of the country a sense of belonging. The imbalance in appointments is fuelling agitations and it is not good for Nigeria.
With regard to Nigeria, I know how the federal character principle operates. I also know that there are good people in every ethnic group in Nigeria. I know that past administrations in Nigeria tried to do ethnic balancing while appointing people into key positions. But, has it helped this country since 1960? What did former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight-year tenure achieve for the South-West? And what did former President Goodluck Jonathan’s six years in office achieve for the South-East? Evans Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo, Pius Anyim, Adolphus Wabara and Ken Nnamani were senate presidents. Did their emergence build the Second Niger Bridge, the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway or the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway?
People from the South-East occupied sensitive positions in Jonathan’s cabinet. Yet, we could not see the impact in the South-East. They used those positions to enrich themselves, their families and friends. We have gang-raped and robbed the nation to the bones, stolen everything in sight and plundered our common patrimony for years in the name of ethnic balancing.
Having met the constitutional requirements in the appointment of ministers and other positions, l support the President to search for the best hands anywhere in Nigeria and use them to build this country. Northerners ruled this country, whether as military heads or civilian presidents, for 30 years. Today, there is nothing to show for their presence in the corridors of power except poverty, misery, confusion and hopelessness.