The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a civil society group, has accused President Bola Tinubu of nepotism, alleging that most of the key appointments in his government were allotted to Nigerians from his ethnic group.
HURIWA made this known in a statement issued by its coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, stressing that the recent appointments of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service given to Yoruba people are an attestation.
“With President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s recent approval of the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso to serve as the substantive new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), some 48 hours after appointing Zachaeus Adedeji as the acting chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the strong perception that the President is pushing an unseemly pro-ethnic agenda became worryingly stronger,” the group said.
“Adedeji is to “serve in an acting capacity for 90 days before his subsequent confirmation as the substantive chairman of FIRS for a term of four years in the first instance.
”With a little over 100 days on the saddle, the President’s appointments have shown he appears to have special consideration for people from his South-West region, especially those with links to Lagos State.”
The group cautioned Tinubu, who it accused of assembling his Yoruba and Lagos connections into his government, not to follow the path of his predecessor, former President Muhamamdu Buhari, who reportedly did the same during his eight years in power, stressing that the
It said, “If President Tinubu’s appointment of new service (chiefs) sparked new hope and drew deserved plaudits in that it recognised the nation’s diversity, his subsequent appointments curiously depart from that template.
“That the disastrous, previous administration of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) towed a visionless, divisive path, in the overwhelming tribalistic appointments it made, should never excuse this course that fundamentally degrades the legitimate dream of a new, progressive, inclusive Nigerian state.
“Today, the stakes are extremely high and Nigerians are mindful that a failure to achieve democratic stability, through a meritorious, transparent, inclusive governance process may imperil the country’s future as a coherent state. Mere political rewards and seeming ethnic nationalism should not drive the national journey. It is a perilous, avoidable option.
“The Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), strongly believes that this is the wrong path to thread, especially against the background of deep mistrust, misery, political and economic dislocations brazenly birthed by the predecessor administration. We believe that like Caesar’s Wife, the Tinubu administration ought to be above suspicion.
“We recall here that the central driving mantra and foundational philosophy on which the ruling All Progressives Congress sold its presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, now President, to Nigerians, was “Renewed Hope.” Nigerians bought into it and voted the Asiwaju and APC to power because it deeply resonated with the populace. But what is the reality?
“Key appointments traversing the nation’s crucial security, judicial and economic sectors are now unabashedly cornered by the South-West region. A quick, non-exhaustive check-list would include: Petroleum Minister: Bola Tinubu; Chief of Staff: Femi Gbajabiamila; Minister of Justice: Lateef Fagbemi; Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun; Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Folashodun Shonubi who now gives way to a substantive CBN boss Olayemi Cardoso.
“Others include: Minister of Marine & Blue Economy: Bunmi Tunji-Ojo; Minister of Communication, Innovation & Digital Economy: Bosun Tijan; simultaneously, the Chairman of Senate Committee on ICT, Afolabi Salisu, and that of House of Representatives, Adedeji Olajide Odidiomo are both from the South-West; Minister of Power: Adebayo Adelabu; Minister of Transport: Adegboyega Oyetola; Minister of Solid Minerals: Dele Alake; Chief of Army Staff: General Taoreed Lagbaja; Police IG: Kayode Egbetokun; Comptroller-General Customs: Adewale Adeniyi; Comptroller-General Immigration: Adepoju Carol Wura-Ola; FIRS Chairman: Zacchaeus. Adedeji, et cetera.”
Speaking in the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of the apex Northern socio-cultural and political organization, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Professor Tukur Muhammad-Baba, knocked Tinubu for giving sensitive and lucrative appointments to persons from the South-West part.
Muhammad-Baba, a professor of Sociology, said this in an interview with New Telegraph, and maintained that he spoke in his personal capacity because the Northern group had yet to deliberate on the issue, describing the appointments so far as should not be encouraged in a “deeply fractious federation” like Nigeria.
The ACF spokesman also berated the immediate past administration of Buhari for also indulging in sectional appointments but added that it is not an excuse as someone has to break the circle of such appointments.
Muhammad- Baba said, “From all indications, most, if not all sensitive or “lucrative” assignments are being given to persons of Southwest extraction.
“It’s not ideal in a deeply fractious federation like ours. But the Constitution gives absolute power to the President to make such appointments. A part of the Constitution directs that such appointments must reflect the social diversity of the country in terms of “balancing” of place of origin, indigeneship, ethnicity, religion, etc.”
In a similar development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to ensure that all regions, faiths and sections benefit from political appointments made by his government while no ethnic group or faith is seen to be favoured above others.
Executive Director of MURIC, Prof Isiaq Akintola, made the plea in a statement on Monday.
According to him, the appointments made so far by President Tinubu are lopsided because they favour mainly Yorubas and Christians.
He advised the president to ensure balance in coming appointments.
“We are shocked to our marrows that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been appointing Christians and Yorubas mainly to key positions since the inception of this administration at the expense of Muslims. For instance, five out of eight security chiefs appointed earlier are Christians. Ministerial posts have not been different.
“All five key appointments made by President Tinubu to revive the economy were given to Christians and Yorubas mainly. These new appointees include the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, the newly nominated CBN Governor, Dr. Michael Cardoso, Hon. Zacch Adedeji, Acting Chairman, FIRS, the Chairman, Tax Reforms Committee, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele and Mr. Tope Fasua, Special Adviser on Economic Affairs.
“Many competent Muslims who campaigned and voted Muslim-Muslim ticket during the presidential election were ignored. It is interesting to note that some of those Muslims are eminently qualified to hold key political offices since there are professors, engineers, medical doctors and holders of doctorate degrees among them,” he said.
Apparently referring to former Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Akintola said that to add salt to injury, one of the best Muslim ministerial nominees, the man who championed the Muslim-Muslim ticket and mobilised the whole North behind Asiwaju has been jettisoned.
He said, “Also, Prof Ali Isa Pantami who took the communication and digital economy to enviable heights during the last administration was ignored. Where, then, is our Muslim president, taking Nigerian Muslims?
“MURIC rejects this trending narrative that makes competence the raison d’etre for concentrating appointments in any particular tribe, religion or group. Government’s tentacles should be spread nationwide in the search for competence. Neither should the need for skills be used as a cover for the marginalisation of some sections of Nigeria.”
The MURIC boss said competence is not the monopoly of any tribe, faith or group as talented Nigerians are to be found everywhere if sincere searches are conducted.
“Besides, government should take the lion share of the blame if competent hands cannot be found in any section, creed or group for certain assignments. It means the government has not, ab initio, allowed educational and training facilities to be fairly and evenly distributed, or that government has failed to consciously integrate all segments of the Nigerian society.
“This regime must be wary of allegation of nepotism which the previous regime was accused of. Nigeria is a vast country with talented men and women in all nooks and crannies. Government must not just pick the low hanging skills or those on the water surface. It must send its underwater swimmers to dive below the surface in order to bring the gems to dry land.
“Our message to President Tinubu is this (and we want the president’s handlers to take this to him) the cacophony of voices of dissatisfied Muslims has reached an unbearable crescendo such that MURIC is now constrained to speak up. People are complaining, particularly Muslims from the North and South West and they can only be ignored at the risk of foregoing 2027.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is our Muslim brother but that should not stop us from criticising him if he does the wrong thing. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Help your brother when he is wronged and even when he is wrong…”
“Traceable as well as well known authors on social media are exchanging lopsided lists either tilted in favour of Christians who did not vote for the Muslim-Muslim ticket or in favour of Yorubas only. Such lists raise questions of nepotism and that of marginalisation of the same Muslims who stood behind Asiwaju and voted massively for him.
“We remind President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that all regions, faiths and sections deserve political appointments. The Tinubu administration must not be the exclusive preserve of the Yorubas at the expense of other tribes, nor the monopoly of Rome at the expense of Madinah. No region must be sentenced to hunger, starvation and political isolation.
“Tinubu’s next appointments must see a shift in body language. All regions, faiths and sections must benefit from political appointments made by this government while no ethnic group or faith is seen to be favoured above others.
“Meanwhile we in MURIC accept full responsibility for the dilemma facing Nigerian Muslims as their Muslim-Muslim ticket has turned into a ‘Christian majority government’. We admit being in the forefront of the campaign for a Yoruba Muslim presidency which has become a bone in the throat of Yoruba Muslims in particular and Nigerian Muslims in general.
“With heavy hearts, we tender unreserved apology, first, to the former governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai for what we led him to even though he showed no interest at the beginning, and to other Nigerian Muslims particularly those who have been accusing us of misleading them,” Akintola said.
Credit: Daily Trust