Buhari’s Bumble – The ‘Northernisation’ Of The Federal Government

Buhari’s Bumble – The ‘Northernisation’ Of The Federal Government

By Charles Novia | Op-Ed Contributor on August 28, 2015
Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria APC
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, shown here on June 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa. | Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images

The trending issue today, August 28, 2015, is the seemingly “Northernisation” of the core appointments made so far by President Buhari.

I have read opinions of two schools of thought in the past few hours. The first school of thought, mostly the core Buharists, seem to be divided into two as at this moment; those who are APC or Buharists and from the South West (possibly in Bola Tinubu’s camp) and those those who are from other regions, not necessarily in APC but Buharists all the same. Their reactions are mixed.

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The South-West Buharists are raving sore, beginning to show alarm over Buhari’s penchant to go north when it comes to the KEY political appointments. They are beginning to see a pattern and that pattern is not pleasing. The other regional Buharists don’t seem to care. To them, Buhari has the power to appoint people from his region or anywhere else as long as such people have the competence to carry out the duties required of them.

The other school of thought consists too of 2 groups; the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) supporters and those who may not be in PDP but voted for Goodluck Jonathan in the last election. Expectedly, the hue and cry from these quarters have been one of vindication. The ‘Sebi we talk am?’ argument which is an expression of fears expressed during the elections that Buhari will run a clannish government. They bring up Buhari’s 97% to 5% argument made in the US as proof of his mindset in this regard.

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I find both sides of the argument quite amusing and perhaps of merit in instances. As a Nigerian though, I have to believe in the constitution of my country and my present impulse is to ask questions of what the constitution permits in this case of appointments.

The Nigerian Constitution gives the President the powers to appoint ministers only from each state of the Federation. But the constitution also has important allusions to Federal Character and even approves the establishment of a Federal Character Commission to ensure that no uneven spread of appointments in Federal position are carried out by the President and acolytes.

So the question to ask is; Is President Buhari so far in line with the provisions of Federal Character in his appointments? If he is, all well and good but if he is not, then it is time to point such out to him and get him to recalibrate that mindset in future appointments.

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I say future appointments because his last set of appointments yesterday has already put paid to the very KEY appointments he needs to run his government and 90% of those are from a region.

Ministerial appointments makes him conditionally bound to spread across the land otherwise many would not be wrong in thinking that had there been no constitutional stipulations, Buhari would have continued this present trend.

I pride myself in being a firm believer of Pan-Nigerianism; where all is one in the unity of purpose. But I’m also a human being and also prone to emotional conclusions sometimes when I analyse political matters. My next few words may reflect such a position but I use them not to denigrate any region but to argue on principles of equity and fair play.

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I have no doubt that President Buhari loves Nigeria and means well for the country. (In fact every one who gets to be President of Nigeria means well and do their best to hasten the machinery of progress. It is how the citizenry judge such persons later that is left for interpretation.) But I also have doubts about his capacity to be impartial as President of Nigeria. (And this line of argument is nothing new as all past Presidents have always been accused of partiality during their tenure.)

What makes Buhari’s case more interesting is that he’s hiding under the veneer of a perceived national goodwill for his government to make these slanted appointments in early season.

And that looks like a wool-over-the-eye kind of attitude which raises red flags.

This is the best time to make those appointments because Buhari’s still the darling of many people who are emotional about his personae and are ready to take whatever he dishes out without questions. And he’s doing it well.

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However, Buhari must be called to order. There are about 5,000 more appointments to be made and he should be more circumspect about the voices asking him to have national spread.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan never made appointments which were lopsided as these and that is a fact. Statistics show that for every 5 appointments Jonathan made, 3 were from the north. Sometimes more. He wanted to satisfy the North more than the South and yet he got the very people he strove to please, against him. I guess Buhari learnt from that and has decided to damn everyone and do what he pleases.

All those short – sighted people saying they don’t care where anyone Buhari appoints is from as long as the person is competent are those kind of people who are the problem of Nigeria. I’m sorry, that kind of argument is puerile and smacks of lack of intellectual reasoning.

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I have to care where those appointees come from because the constitution says I should care. If 80% of national appointments are from a particular section of the country what that does to you and your children and even kids yet unborn from other regions will be a psychological domination of that other section in attitude and candour.

We have seen it before since independence; the ‘Born to rule’ mentality and the nation suffered for it for years. This seems to be introduced through the back door right now.

When the implications of these appointments hit some persons in the face in a few months from now, we will all be here to shake our heads.

Using a sexual analogy to end this piece, Buhari doesn’t go “down south”, it seems his head is ‘screwed’ up North.

Charles Novia is an award-winning filmmaker. He is founder of November Productions and November Records. Connect with him on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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