By Akin Osho, Ibadan
The recent lopsided appointments of President Mohammadu Buhari will reduce public perception of his government as a trailblazer that has come to unite and strengthen the floundering sense of national unity, the Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) has said.
In a statement issued on Friday and made available to Irohinoodua, ONAC which is a coalition of several Pan Yoruba groups said that the recent appointments has shown the President’s restrictive prism and his lack of appreciation of the complex and often dangerous lines that bind the country’s multifaceted cultures together. The statement was signed by ONAC’s Political Secretary, Mr Oluoba Okunola Aliu. The group said the most degrading aspect is that the appointments signpost a post-colonial trend of Hausa-Fulani leaders who seek the votes of all Nigerians, but think that when it is time for governance, only their own people are the best to government the country.
“The oil that Nigeria relies on for her sustenance is 100 percent from the South, it is unthinkable that the people of the South will not have a say on how their resources are managed, allocated and administered.”
ONAC stated “Competence is key to running an effective government that ensures service delivery. The selection of 95 percent of the appointees from the core-North is a dangerous attempt at criminalizing other nationalities in the South, leaving the impression that Southerners are not to be trusted.”
The group stated that if President Buhari now thinks the people of the South are dirty, he should not have sought dirty votes in his campaign to rule Nigeria.
ONAC said that “the logic that the officials are Mr President’s staff is unwarranted because the President himself can only be in power because of the goodwill of the people who elected him. The appointees are not his personal staff. They are not to be paid from Mr President’s personal salary. Infact Mr President has no personal salary but draws his salary from the sweat and brow of the public. The people he has chosen are public officials paid from public funds and are responsible to the Nigerian people, not to Mr President.”
ONAC said it is disheartening that people can argue that the Comptroller General of Customs, the DG of Department of State Security, and the DG of Immigration for instance are Mr President’s personal staff, saying that if the appointees are his personal staff, then the country must have become the private estate of the President.
“It is difficult to think a true leader who heads a multi-ethnic society to imagine that the most honest people in that village are his own children who share the same blood with him and speak only his own language. With the standard already put in place, it wont be out of order if the appointees extends President Buhari’s worldview to recruit and work with only people from their own ethnic groups if that is the only place they could find honest people to work with.” The group said the glowing achievements of the South West States since 1950s, making the region the most developed in Nigeria inspite of the trauma of being in opposition since 1953 should have informed the President that the South West region, like other regions, is home to the finest technocrat any country can boast of.
ONAC said that Nigeria needs at this moment a leader that recognizes strength of character, dignity, honesty and hardwork that lay in the mosaic of ethnicities, languages and cultures that combine and complement one another to form the national identity of the country.
The group said to assume that hardwork and honesty can only be found in the core-North despite the over 300 ethnic nationalities in the country is to assault the heritage of indigenous communities that make up the country. ONAC said that a government set on exclusion and parochial norms, is on the road to block the full attainment of democracy, justice and the healing of scars of ethnic persecution especially of minorities, that has remained an open wound since the artificial amalgamation of Nigeria.
ONAC said the enduring solution to Nigeria’s complex problems is to restructure the country for self-determination as guaranteed by the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the African Charter on Human Rights, adding that President Buhari has set an extremely bad precedent that future Presidents of the country, may follow.