By Emmanuel Onwubiko
A Statement By The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group; Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) Condemning the Recent reported Lopsided Recruitment by The DSS and Promotions that Favour One Section of Nigeria-HAUSA/FULANI MOSLEMS, Which Offends Federal Character Principles Since the Inception of The Current Administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
We are all aware that Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution provides that the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.
However, in a continued flagrant disregard to these provisions, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has seen deep seated Northern domination of all strategic federal recruitments and appointments including the recent secret uneven recruitment into the Department of State Security Services by the Director General; Yusuf Bichi that could overfill the security agency with personnel from the Northern part of Nigeria.
According to revelations from media reports, official documents and contributions of senior intelligence officials showed that the North had a massive share of the roughly 1,300 Nigerians currently undergoing cadet training at two different camps of the secret police in Lagos and Bauchi.
According to recruitment filings, of the total 628 cadet trainees, who had resumed at the Bauchi facility as of September 23, 535 identified themselves as trainees joining the service from either the North-East or the North-West. Only 93 were from the South-East, South-South, South-West or North-Central.
More worrisome is that findings also showed that at least 71 of those currently undergoing cadet training hailed from Bichi Local Government Area, Kano State; the Director-General’s home local government area.
Another concern is the appointment of candidates from Northern states of Kwara and Taraba as chairman, and secretary respectively of the Federal Character Commission; a commission saddled with the responsibility to drive the process and implementation of the federal character principle. This is not only unnationalistic and divisive in approach but negates the principle for which the commission was established.
Then, instead of the then outgoing acting Chairman; Mallam Shettima handing over to the most senior Commissioner who happened to be a southerner, he was directed to hand over to Secretary Mohammed Tukur. At the end, another northerner, Abdullahi Shinkafi was again appointed after that as the acting Chairman of the Commission.
Also, with the composition of the present Police architecture it can be safely concluded that the entire police leadership of the country is in the hands of the North-West, which falls short of both regional and federal balance.
The Chairman of the Police Trust Fund board; Suleiman Abbah and the Executive Secretary; Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, are both from the North-West of the country. Also, two other members of the eight-man team, Mansur Ahmed and Usman Bilkisu, are from Kano and Kebbi states respectively in the same region.
It can be safely concluded then that the entire Police architecture is being dangerously titled in favour of one zone of the country as the Minister of Police Affairs; Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi is as well from the North-West. in PENCOM, the President Muhammadu Buhari violated extant laws by naming a Northerner as Chairman to replace a South Easterner whose tenure was truncated.
Our Position And Demand
It was Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio who said that one of the swiftest ways of destroying a Kingdom is to give preference of one particular tribe over another or show favor to one group of people rather than another. And to draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near.
Obviously, this government has consistently violated one of the most ingenious and ambitious affirmative actions entrenched in our constitution to promote national unity, uniquely named Federal Character. As the nation marks Independence Day on October 1st 2020, Nigerians are now more than ever divided alongside Ethno Religious platforms no thanks to the extremist PRO-NORTHERN MOSLEM TENDENCIES AND CHARACTER OF THE MUHAMMADU BUHARI'S CIVILIAN REGIME.
As a foremost civil rights advocacy group, we- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) will continue to mince no words in warning that Nigeria has become dangerously polarized and risk sliding into crises of epic proportions on account of the current administration’s lopsided recruitments, appointments and promotions that continue to give undue preference to some sections of the country over others. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the leadership cadre of our security services.
Yusuf Bichi’s regional recruitment agenda, which came three years after his predecessor implemented a similar hiring process that failed to reflect Nigeria’s diversity is another consistent negation of a critical national consensus and should be resisted and rejected by all well-meaning Nigerians.
If according to the establishing Decree 19 of the National Security Agencies Act of 1986 and the SSS instrument I of 1999 Presidential Proclamation, the Department of State Security is the organization assigned to primarily perform the role of Nigeria’s intelligence agency, the audacity of focusing on one part of the country to bring in new cadets offends our national unity and has long term implications.
Therefore we are by this statement calling for an outright cancellation and for a fresh recruitment that would reflect the federal character principle to be conducted.
Relatedly, we have it from a good authority that as Yakubu Mahmood's controversial five years tenure as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission ends in December, there is a plot to name President Buhari's niece; Amina Zakari, who is a commissioner in INEC as his replacement.
Recall that it was this same Amina who Buhari had recommended to Jonathan as acting INEC chair before Yakubu assumed office as substantive chairman of INEC. We Call on President Buhari to address this fears being expressed in many quarters so as not for him to kill Constitutional democracy through nepotism. This is because, the seed of national discord has been systematically sowed over the past five years and should be halted
We recommend that INEC Chairmanship vacancy should be advertised now and Nigerians from all over the World be shortlisted and the most competent three be invited to take written, aptitude and security tests and screenings from where the best will be picked as substantive Chairman.
The current INEC chair whose tenure is almost over is the most compromised and incompetent electoral manager globally and we are listing him in the human rights hall of infamy for conducting the highest number of inconclusive, rigged and annulled elections in the electoral history of Africa.
One very huge problem Nigeria is facing in the implementation of the federal character principle since this current administration in the Commission itself.
The appointment of the Chairman and Secretary violated Section 4 of the subsidiary legislation which states that the distribution of position shall be across the zones. This has been the tradition that Chairman and Secretary are from the North and South respectively. This is the same reason past Governments including that of Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan had appointed Northerners as Chairmen and Southerners as Secretaries.
The principle cannot be implemented in other agencies and bodies of the government if it is not upheld in the commission that is supposed to drive the process.
We reiterate that in the last five years, the current administration of Muhammadu Buhari has planted animosity between different Ethnic nationalities than even the civil war created and that it will take the Grace of God and the will to overpower our differences for Nigeria to rebuild the bridge of unity that the selective administrative style of President Muhammadu Buhari has destroyed in the last five years.
We shall continue to express our apprehension over deep seated Northern domination of all strategic federal government’s recruitments and appointments under President Muhammadu Buhari, and that the next government may need to convoke a year-long National Constitutional Conference to try to mend the deeply broken fences.
We repeat our warning and caution that the president muhammadu buhari administration has dragged Nigeria back by 60 years because of the prevalence of his regime's unrepentant penchant for appointing only northerners into top political and economic offices of the federation.
The recent secret uneven recruitment in the DSS must be canceled so there is a broad spectrum of representation of the diverse interests and groups unless and except we are now being told that the DSS is a Northern Security Service and if that is the case, the basis of one Nigeria is rubbished.
Fresh appointments to fill vacancies in the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) also created uproar on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday because of President Muhammadu Buhari's PRO-NORTHERN MOSLEM BENT.
HURIWA like most Nigerians are not surprised that Senators across party divides were upset immediately Senate President Ahmad Lawan read a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari announcing the nomination of Aisha Umar as the director general of PENCOM.
They alleged that the appointment breached the Federal character principle.
The letter equally announced Oyindasola Oni as nominee for the office of Chairman of the PENCOM.
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe had risen to protest the appointment in which Aisha Umar, a nominee from the North East, was picked to replace, the former Director-General (DG) of PENCOM, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, from South East.
He described the nomination as a flagrant breach of the Act establishing the PENCOM.
Abaribe pointed out that by the provisions of Section 20(1) and section 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014, “in the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint replacement from the geo-political zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure.”
Senator Abaribe maintained that the replacement for Mrs Anohu -Amazu must come from the South East.
“I recall that the tenure of the incumbent was truncated, therefore the new letter from the president that has now moved the Chairman of the Commission to another zone may not be correct because it is against the law setting up the National Pension Commission,” Abaribe said.
“Before you (Senate President) send it to the appropriate committee, I wish to draw the attention of the committee to it.”
In his response, Senator Lawan rebuffed Senator Abaribe’s point of order and observation.
“If there is any petition to that effect it should be sent to the committee,” he said.
It was later found out that senators across party divides are set to resist the nomination of Aisha Umar as DG of PENCOM.
One of the lawmakers who pleaded not to be named revealed that the opposition to the contravention of the act establishing the National Pension Commission cuts across the south east, southwest and the North central.
“We are set to meet tonight (Tuesday) to harmonise our positions,” the lawmaker said.
The lawmaker recalled that move by Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to push for the nomination of Mr. Funsho Doherty from the south west as successor to Mrs Anohu -Amazu as the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) was frustrated in the past.
“Professor Osinbajo, as acting President could not push it through.
“They threatened him with impeachment and used the lawmakers from the North to block him, citing provisions of the same Pension Act.”
The lawmaker accused the President of the Senate of being a willing tool in the hands of the Presidency in its agenda of promoting nepotism".
HURIWA is worried that Senate President Ahmed Lawan is not independent of President Muhammadu Buhari's Pro-Northerm Moslem agenda which is tearing apart the fabric of national unity. This PHANTOM NATIONAL UNITY BUILT ON DECEPTION AND DECEIT WILL NOT STAND THE TEST OF TIME AND WE MAKE HASTE TO WARN THAT THE PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI IS PUSHING NIGERIA RAPIDLY TO THE STATE OF ANARCHY AND DISINTEGRATION.