The Northern States Christian Elders Forum, NOSCEF, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of lopsided appointments in government, alleging that it has affected unity in Nigeria.
The Christian elders also said repentant Boko Haram insurgents should release the Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu, and others still in captivity to prove to the nation that their repentance is genuine.
This was contained in a statement signed by the NOSCEF Chairman, Engr. Ejoga Oyinehi Inalegwu, issued in Kaduna on Sunday, October 31, 2021, after their EXCO meeting.
The statement reads: “We greet our nation Nigeria on the occassion of our 61st independence anniversary marked on October 1.
“We commend the war against insecurity being taken to the camps of the bandits and commend the officers and men of the Armed Forces for gallant strides being recorded. We encourage the ongoing onslaught against Boko Haram, ISWAP, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminal elements in our society.
“We join the president in appealing for a united, equitable, fair, and just Nigeria to all, irrespective of religion, tribe, origin. We, however, add that unity must first begin from the President himself.
“Let him bring people together instead of appointing only trusted from a circle, not based on relationship with him by blood or religion or marriage but there are competent hands across religion tribe and geographical areas.
“So we appeal to Mr. President to even trust the indigenous Christians from his own home state of Katsina to put in government positions, to promote a united nation across religious and tribal lines by appointing not just a section to key institutions (Customs, inland revenue, accountant general etc) or strategic ministries and parastatals so they can come together and work together and appreciate themselves because of their capabilities and not privileges derivable by their religion or their tribal connections to the president.
“Same goes for the security outfits; the Police, Army, Air Force, Navy Prisons, Immigration, Civil Defence, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, etc.
“The president cannot preach unity and appoint a section of Nigerians to hold sensitive positions.
“The president is not preaching unity when telling a section of Nigerians that by religion tribe and region they are not competent to hold sensitive positions given to them. The president is not preaching unity when infrastructure are targeted at only those who voted for him even the resources due to those who did not vote for him, are put in their trust to manage on their behalf.
“Same goes for the governors, the resources are for all the people, whether they voted or not, whether they voted for the winner or not. If an elected president or governor who discriminates is spreading infrastructure on that basis, they should give them their own share of the resources to manage for themselves.
“I guess election campaign was a display of ability to manage the resources better so because they did not think you are competent by their votes, you choose to avoid giving them infrastructure, you are by that proving them right and it is misappropriation to channel resources meant for them to your favourite.
”Moreover, excluding states from utilisation of borrowed funds when those states will participate in payment on moral classification on the basis of religion, region, tribe voting patronage causes disunity. The past leaders have given credence to the above, let there be a departure for something. I could recall that ex President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed people based on competence from across the country.
“There are several examples like Akinwunmi Adesina, Dora Akunyili of blessed memory, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Professor Charles Soludo, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Esther Nenadi Usman, but to mention a few. Similarly, service chiefs were appointed from across all divides, that was what unity relied on to thrive.
“And so did Jonathan, who also appointed from all parts of the country, with a National Security Adviser (NSA), from the North, Chief of Army Staff from the North and other sensitive positions from other parts of the country, not limiting them to the South.
“The cover-up and justification for this lopsided appointment being based on merit is a national insult. A president cannot say only one area of the nation boasts of competent hands. A classical example of names mentioned earlier, from the South, occupy world institutions purely based on merit.”
“That assertion the white ribbon unite the nation and is far from the truth. Let the President address these issues single-handedly and he will be sowing seeds for reuniting Nigeria. It is never too late to do the right thing to redress the wrong and the results will be rewarding seeds of unity and rebuilding confidence in the one desired oneness of our beloved country.
“Still on unity in Nigeria, Boko Haram insurgents that have announced their repentant status should prove same by releaing the Chibok girls still in their custody as a true sense that they are indeed repentant and also Leah Sharibu and others still in captivity to prove to the nation that their repentance is genuine.”