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Buhari And The Rebirth Of Nepotism

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 4:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


For those who read the piece titled; ‘Buhari and I,’ there is ample evidence in it that this columnist’s loyalty and support for President Mohammadu Buhari came naturally and without charge. Suffice to say though, that that loyalty will only remain with his good deeds in the best interest of the greater number of Nigerians who look onto him, with hope, for good governance. Anything short of that will only attract criticism; and trust majority of Nigerians to have the same mindset on national issues. 

We are never stereotyped as a people and that explains the divergent views that greeted President Buhari’s 30 days in office. While the All Progressives (APC) state chairmen in meeting with the President hailed his performance within the period, many there be that saw in his stewardship manifesting signs of a would-be disappointment in his leadership. In this column, one is really not disposed to passing a verdict at this moment, for obvious reason; it is too early in the day. But it is also not out of place to state that Mr. President started on a rather sluggish note – or is it slow pace.

Whatever the semantics, fact is, people are keeping concerted interests in the administration; analysing every action of Buhari and reading between the lines, all of his statements, whether they be of good intention or otherwise. In that I hold no sympathy for him as he was aware of the nature of Nigerians and the task and challenges of the office before he canvassed our mandate to become President. Much more than that, criticism or not, Buhari must crave to earn the respect and love of all – at least a greater proportion of the populace – by endeavouring to carry everyone along, irrespective of the political divide or section of the country.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortcoming already on the part of the President in all of the appointments that he has made since assumption of office. It is not so much that the appointments are skewed in favour of the North-west geopolitical zone of the country, as five of the six are from there, but the apparent nepotism that seems to be at work. Thus far, the President has appointed State Chief of  Protocol (SCoP) in the person of Mallam Lawal A Kazuare; Ahmed Idris, as Accountant General of the Federation;  his Media and Publicity team comprises of Mallam Garba Shehu and Femi Adessina; Ag INEC Chairperson, Amina Bala Zakari; and Lawal Musa Duara, Director General, Department of State Security (DSS). Of all, only Femi Adesina, who serves as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, is from another part of the country – South-west.

The Nigeria socio-political culture has been so engineered, over the years, to reflect our varied interests in diversity; hence the statutory provisions of Federal Character and Quota System. Agreed, it is yet morning in the Buhari’s administration and many appointments there be to come, but two of the six so made raise the fear of a rebirth of nepotism in Nigeria; which is one evil the federal character attempts to fight. The two are the appointments of the Acting INEC Chairperson and the DG of DSS.

For Zakari, the Ag INEC chair, the People Democratic Party (PDP) rose in stout opposition to her appointment and demanded her removal. Zakari was appointed as head of INEC by President Muhammadu Buhari hours after its former chairman, Attahiru Jega, handed over to Ahmed Wali, a national commissioner in the commission.

Addressing a press conference in his office Wednesday, PDP’s publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the party was disturbed by the development in INEC where Buhari, who knew all along that the immediate-past INEC Chairman, Prof. Jega, would be leaving office by June 30, but had to wait for him to handover to one of the national commissioners only to reverse it immediately, thereby injecting bad blood in the commission.

According to Metu; “The situation in INEC since the PDP government reformed and granted it operational autonomy has been peaceful, but Tuesday’s untidy overruling of Prof. Jega and appointing of Mrs. Amina Zakari as acting chairman which, we gathered was influenced by personal relationship with the Presidency and one of the new governors of the North West, ostensibly to pave the way for the APC at the electoral tribunals, has completely eroded public trust in the commission.”

Yes, Zakari is reported to have worked in close contact with Buhari at the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), and that they developed a relationship that passes for father and daughter. That brings the issue of nepotism and the fear that Buhari might nominate her for confirmation by the Senate as substantive Chairperson of INEC. But that is neither here nor there. The more repulsive of the appointment is that of the Director General of the Department of State Security. The President appointed Lawal Musa Daura, his kinsman and a retired director in the department to replace the sacked Ita Ekpeyong. Ooosh! Is it that the President couldn’t find any capable hand amongst the serving directors in DSS? Only in Daura, his hometown, can a trusted hand be found – that is nepotism. Not just that, one is afraid that Mr. President’s action could create bad blood and disillusion among the directors in the service.

But let it be given to him; the President of Nigeria has the constitutional right to hire whosoever he wishes to work with him. It is just that the same constitution stipulates a national spread in so doing. It is pertinent that we avoid going back to the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who, in his eight years tenure, saw no good Police officers outside of his Yoruba tribe to become Inspector General of Police. That stated, Buhari has actually surprised many in his continued retention of the Service Chiefs, which is something very good in the spirit of continuity and nation building. However, in the choice of appointments, the President must respect the spirit and letters of the constitution and national interest; lest it be stated that in Buhari’s administration came rebirth of nepotism in Nigeria.