President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment, Thursday of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), his Chief of Staff and four others was greeted by angry reactions with some respondents describing it as lopsided and sectional.
The same sentiments were expressed with the President’s earlier appointments.
President Buhari appointed his long-time political associate, Engr. David Lawal, a Christian pastor as SGF and former banker, Alhaji Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff.
The appointments which were announced by Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity take immediate effect.
But they went against the grain of permutations which had seen some key political figures being mentioned as likely appointees to the coveted offices.
Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), who had acted as chief of staff to Buhari in his private capacity and as presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was named Comptroller-General of Customs in a key indication of the President’s yet-to-be unveiled agenda for the service.
Ali was a former military administrator of Kaduna State and was in the Military Police as a soldier till his retirement.
Also appointed were Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi as Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service; Senator Ita Enang as Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Hon. Suleiman Kawu as Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
Profile of new appointees
Lawal, the new SGF, hails from Hong Local Government Area, Adamawa State. He graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1979 with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, and worked with the Delta Steel Company, Aladja; Nigerian External Telecommunications Ltd and Data Sciences Ltd before establishing his ICT and telecommunications consulting firm in 1990.
He is also a member of the Nigeria Computer Society, the Nigeria Society of Engineers and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria.
Lawal is the National Vice-chairman, North-east of APC and is one of the closest associates of the President. He was helpful in mobilising support for the President and ensuring key victories for him in the North-east especially in Adamawa State.
As a pastor, he was also helpful in winning support for the President among the Christian population in the North.
Chief of Staff Kyari
Alhaji Abba Kyari, the new Chief of Staff to the President, holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Law and Sociology from University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick. He worked with the New Nigeria Development Company, New Africa Holdings, African International Bank, United Bank for Africa, Unilever and Mobil in various capacities over the years. He hails from Borno State in the North-east of the country.
Customs CG Ali
The new Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Ali holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Criminology. He was military administrator of Kaduna State.
A disciplinarian, he has in recent years acted as chief of staff to Buhari. There had been much expectation that Ali would be appointed into the position of Chief of Staff but his deployment to the Customs could be reflective of the President’s reported determination to clean the sector of corruption.
The new Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr. Abeshi hails from Nasarawa State. He joined the Nigerian Immigration Service in 1989 as an Assistant Comptroller. His educational qualifications include a Masters degree in Public Administration.
Enang, SSA on NASS Matters (Senate)
Senator Enang is the immediate-past Chairman, Rules and Business Committee of the 7th Senate of the National Assembly. He hails from Akwa Ibom State. Until the last general election in March and April, he was a staunch member of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) but now in the opposition. He recently decamped to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Kawu, SSA on NASS Matters (House of Reps)
Kawu was a vibrant member of the 7th House of Representatives. He hails from Kano State and is a staunch member of the ruling APC.
Ezeife, Tsav, ACF youths blast Buhari
Meanwhile, angry reactions have greeted the latest appointments by President Buhari.
Most expressed their displeasure at what they described as lopsided nature of the appointments, stating that it was purely sectional.
Appointment lopsided—Shettima, President, Arewa Youths
President, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said the appointment is seen as lopsided.
Shettima said: “It is unfortunate the way the situation is, because one becomes worried. We must be seen to be nationalistic than being sectionalised. I am beginning to feel uncomfortable because the complaint is that the appointments are seen to be lopsided. I also do not think that is the intention of the government. However, no matter how we pretend, the reality is that things are not done in the right way.”
He said, “The government should be seen to be more nationalistic than sectionalised. If we truly believe in true federalism and federal character, it should go round. We cannot say that a particular area has the best brains in the country. I think the government should look into that area thoroughly inasmuch as the President has good intentions.”
South-East marginalised — Ezeife
In his reaction, former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwumeka Ezeife, said the new appointments have marginalised the South-East.
He said: “I do not know the rationale behind those appointments. No South-East person is in those appointments. So I am not interested.”
It’s wrong to be sectional in choice of appointees —Tsav
Also speaking, a retired commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav said: “I see the appointments as lopsided. Nigeria is too big to have majority of the appointees from one section of the country. We have competent people in every part of Nigeria. For that reason, he (Buhari) should spread the appointments to every part of Nigeria.
“If he (Buhari) is looking for honest people, there are honest people in every part of Nigeria, just as we have dishonest people in every part. Most Nigerians voted for him, even those who did not vote for him are his subjects and he is bound to carry everyone along.”