The appointment of more northerners on Thursday, August 27, by President Muhammamdu Buhari has been greeted with extreme repugnance by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Buhari, according to a statement by Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, approved the appointment of Babachir David Lawal from Adamawa state as the secretary to the government of the federation as he also named Abba Kyari from Borno state as his chief of staff.
Other appointments approved by the president, according to the statement, are those of Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retd.) as the new comptroller general of the Nigerian Customs Service; Kure Martin Abeshi, comptroller general, Nigerian Immigration Service; Senator Ita Enang, senior special assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate); and Suleiman Kawu as SSA on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
This has, however, triggered the ire of leaders of the APC, who in an interview with The Punch, said that the appointments favour only the north, adding that President Buhari was already giving the party a bad name among Nigerians.
A leader of the party who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “The President does not consult before making most of these appointments and I can tell you that Nigerians are going to term the party and the President as a northern party and the President of Northern Nigeria.”
Another APC leader said: “Though the President did not get much votes from the South-East but we must not neglect the zone in key appointments.
“Even the South-West that supported and was the backbone of the party, what are we giving the zone in appreciation? We need to be careful before the party is destroyed.”
A member of the state executive of APC in a South-West state, said the appointments were biased against the south.
He said: “When President Olusegun Obasanjo took over, you saw balance in appointments as he reflected federal character. President Goodluck Jonathan too reflected a semblance of balance. Buhari is pursuing a northern agenda. This is the same agenda pursued by the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, when everything was pro-North. Buhari made six appointments at a go and five of them are northerners.”
A speaker of one of the Houses of Assembly in the south-west and a member of the APC, who also spoke on condition of anonymity said: “This is shocking. It doesn’t speak well at all. The South-West has been completely neglected and the South-East too. The South-West was neglected during the President Goodluck Jonathan years. The South-West must rise up against this.”
Similarly, an APC chairman in another south-west state, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “This is not good at all. Why should he choose everybody from the North? I am sure he did not confide in anybody before drawing up the list and making the announcement. We will continue to watch. It is condemnable.”
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Adding her voice to the appointment controversy, an APC member of the House of Representatives said the leaders of the party in the south-west were shocked by Buhari’s latest appointments.
“He didn’t tell anybody. We are all shocked. The real shocker would be when he is going to appoint ministers. The only thing that would save us is that he is mandated constitutionally to choose from all states, otherwise, he would have chosen all the ministers too from the North.”
Before the yesterday’s appointments, the president had also named only one southerner among the initial nine appointments he made.
The northerners in the first appointments are Lawal Daura; the director-general of the state services, Amina Zakari, acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan; the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, and Alhaji Ahmed Idris, accountant-general of the federation,
Others in the first appointments are Abdulrahman Mani, the president's chief security officer, Mallam Abdullahi Kazaure, state chief of protocol, Lt. Col. Muhammed Abubakar, aide-de-camp, and Mallam Garba Shehu, senior special assistant on media and publicity,
Only Femi Adesina, the special adviser on media and publicity, from Osun state represents the south-west.