President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, stirred the hornet’s nest, saying all his appointments and policies are premised on equity and inclusiveness
Those who disagreed with the President include main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and socio-political and cultural organisations, such as the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, and its counterparts in the Middle Belt, the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, and pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.
But Northern Elders Forum, NEF, disagreed with the groups, asking them to show proof of nepotism in Buhari’s appoinments.
Speaking at a conference organised for youths in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Buhari said there was no part of the country that had not been impacted positively in the area of infrastructure, agriculture, and economic support initiative, based on peculiarities of the region.
Buhari, who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, said: “So far, all the policies, initiatives, projects and even appointments by this administration have been guided by equity and inclusiveness.’’
Buhari’s claims, deceptive — PDP
But countering the President’s claims, People Democratic Party, PDP, said the claims were a ploy to deviate from the calls for restructuring by Nigerians from all walks of life.
The party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, said: ‘’Even the President does not believe himself when he made that claim.
“President Buhari is only trying to run away from the calls for restructuring of the Nigerian state. How come he is just remembering the fairness of his appointments and policies? Truth is that no President in the history of this country has divided us as a people than President Buhari.
“He should listen to Nigerians and restructure the country. If we may ask, what did he premise his claim on? How fare have these policies been? What is the justification for describing his appointments as fair?’’
President turning truth, reality upside down— Afenifere
In its reaction, Afenifere, disagreed with the President, saying he was trying to turn truth and reality upside down.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, said: “Going by various views being expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari, it does look like some English words that we know have different meanings or connotations to our President.
“If the President had brought up the issues of fairness and inclusiveness in terms of recognising certain icons such as late MKO Abiola, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe as well as recognition of June 12, 1993 as an unforgettable phenomenon, we may say that he may be making a point.
“But for him to say he is fair and democratic (i.e inclusive) in the appointments he makes and in his government’s policies is to turn the truth and reality upside down. He is not correct. He is not fair either.
“This type of posture by the President partly explains why his administration continues to make blunders in its appointments. Since it believes that it is fair, it would not make any effort at ensuring balancing.
‘’This is unfortunate not only because it is against the federal character clause in the Constitution but also because it is alienating large sections of the country. It is high time those who are close to the President tell him these facts.”
He’s not aware of those appointed into office — PANDEF
On its part, PANDEF described the President’ claims as laughable. National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Ken Robinson, said the claims had shown that President Buhari was not aware of those appointed into offices.
He said: “It is laughable. This shows honestly that they are not in touch with realities. Or he is not aware of who and who he has appointed. Perhaps, we should print out the list of those who hold offices in the country and present it to him.
“He has been fair in his appointment, maybe fair has a different meaning in his dictionary. For us and everyone who is a Nigerian, knows who occupied what position knows that that statement doesn’t make sense.
“The policies are the same thing. The social intervention programme, where they pay N10,000 every month to some people the say are the poorest of the poor, how do you define the poorest of the poor? Who are the people been paid on the country? Which states are benefitting.
“They know that they are not fair. They know that this administration is bias and nepotism is their watchword.
“We have always called on president. Last year we made an open letter to him and our national leader emphasized it particularly the appointments in the NNPC, an industry that is operated in the Niger Delta region, the appointments in NPA, everywhere, there are several examples to cite that this Government is biased, is prejudiced and conducts affairs of the Government as if some parts of the country are hated and should be excluded from everything that the government is doing.
“We have asked the president to remove the toga of nepotism, let him be a president of all Nigerians. He is not president of federal republic of Katsina State or Northern Nigeria or Fulanis. He is the President of Nigeria and he should so be.”
Buhari’s appointment lopsided — Ohanaeze
Also, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the President had rather been implementing lopsided policies and appointments as he pronounced in line with the votes he got after his election.
Speaking through the spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze, said the implementation of the lopsided appointments and policies by Buhari was reason there are tensions and agitations across the country.
Ogbonnia said the lopsided appointments and policies were skewed to favour Buhari’s Fulani people, even to the exclusion of other Northerners.
“It is not true. He has been implementing his policy of 95 per cent of those who voted him as he pronounced. That has been his policies since he came in 2015. And that policy and his actions have been the reason you have agitations all over.
“He had not been fatherly. Of all the Service Chiefs, no Igbo man is appointed. How fair is he?’’
Everything skewed in favour of Northern Muslims/Fulani – MBF
Also reacting, the Middle Belt Forum did not only describe the President’s claims as laughable but also said every appointment by the present government is skewed in favour of northern Muslims and the Fulani.
National President of MBF, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said: “That claim is laughable and ridiculous. No one would say something is wrong if it is not wrong. That is what I will start with. You don’t have to go to Nigerians and start pleading before they would know what is wrong.
‘’You don’t go and announce the appointment of permanent secretaries who are career civil servants to tell Nigerians that you are being fair.
“All the political appointments he has been making, security appointments he has been making are skewed in favour of Northern Muslims, it is known.
“Look at the Army, DSS, Police, Civil Defence, Customs, name them, everything is skewed in favour of Northern Muslims, especially the Fulani.”