Constitutional law expert, Professor Akin Oyebode, has said President Muhammadu Buhari will invite unto himself accusations of building a northern hegemony if the perceived lopsidedness in making appointments continues. Oyebode made this observation on Friday when he featured on This Morning , a breakfast show on the Lagos-based Television Continental (TVC).
According to the lawyer, the pattern of appointments so far made shows that the North, where the president hails from, has taken a lion’s share of positions already filled. Oyebode urged Buhari to make appointments in a manner that will give all sections of the country a sense of belonging. While recognising that it his Buhari’s prerogative to choose those he wants to work with, Oyebode argued that the country’s constitution imposes on the president a responsibility to reflect the federal character principle in making appointments.
On Thursday, the president announced five appointments: Secretary to the Government of the Federation, his Chief of Staff, Comptroller-General of Customs, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
The appointments provoked widespread anger, as they were viewed to be skewed in favour of the North. The new Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. David Lawal, hails from Adamawa State.
Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari, hails from Borno State in the north-east of the country, while the new Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) hails from Kaduna State. The new Comptroller- General of Immigration, Mr. Kure Martin Abeshi, hails from Nasarawa State.
Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), hails from Akwa Ibom State, while Hon. Suleiman Kawu as Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), hails from Kano State.
Of the appointments announced on Thursday, only one, Enang’s, went to the South.
Oyebode, however, warned that Nigerians should desist from placing the accent on where an appointee comes from, but on his record of performance..