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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Another Side Of Corruption



                                                                         
  The current anti-corruption war being prosecuted by the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government is merely targeted at financial crime why the same government is indirectly engaged in other corrupt practices. Corruption is more than financial crimes. It should be noted that nepotism and the bleach of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution is also an act of corruption.
First, the lopsided appointments skewed in favour of the north under the guise of looking for competent hands negates the spirit and letter of section 14 (3) of the 1999 constitution which states inter alia, “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 of 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 states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”

To discourage lopsided appointments and siting of infrastructures in only one part of the country, the Federal Character Commission (FCC) was established by Act No 34 of 1996 to implement and enforce the Federal Character principle of fairness and equity in the distribution of public positions and socio-economic infrastructures among the various federating units of the country.
The key objectives of the Federal Character Commission are: (1) Secure for all Nigerians equity and balanced development (2) Promote efficient use of available resources to ensure sustainable socio-economic development (3) Raise public awareness on national unity and cohesion through the principle of federal character (4) That henceforth, distribution of public service investments in socio-economic infrastructural facilities shall be done in a fair and equitable manner etc. just to mention a few.  Buhari has made about 120 appointments of which 80 of them are from the north. It is inconsequential to mention the appointees but it is necessary to state these strategic ones: Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), Minister of Interior, Mr. Muhammed Babandede, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service. Judging from the aforementioned, can we say with honesty that the appointments made so far by President Buhari reflect the tenets of Federal Character? Can these appointments promote harmony, peace and unity in the country?
No Ibo is also in the National Defence Council which comprises the President, Vice-President, Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff. The council has power to advise the President on matters relating to the defence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria. By these appointments and the composition of the National Security Council, the Ibo ethnic nationality which is one of the three major tribes in the country is surreptitiously excluded from the security apparatus of a country in which they are a dominant tribe.
Some uninformed Nigerians say Buhari can make all his appointments from his home state of Katsina or the north if only they are based on competence and merit. It should however be made clear that competence and merit are not limited to the north. This is because there are people with competence and merit in all parts of the country. It is noteworthy that even in America where competence drives every appointment, appointments are not made from only one section of the country; this is because there are competent individuals in all parts of the country.
President Buhari should do everything to remedy the imbalance in his appointments. There is no justification for all the strategic and majority of the positions to go to the north under the guise of merit or competence. Even America that is driven by merit and competence, appointments are not made from only one section of the country. This is because merit and competence are available in all the parts of the country. A lopsided appointment is tantamount to nepotism which is a breach of the 1999 Constitution and the Federal Character.

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