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Published On: Sun, Sep 10th, 2017

How Nigeria is shared: Buhari vs Jonathan



Few days ago, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari appointed 15 individuals into managerial positions in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), ten of them from the North- mostly Hausa/Fulani from the North West and North East; five from the South – three from the South West, two from the South South and none from the South East.

This is coming even as the dust is yet to settle on a similar lopsided recruitment in May by the Department of State Services which also largely favoured the North, especially the North West.


The DSS commissioned 479 new officers, out of which 331 were from the 19 states of the North and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Katsina, the home state of both the president and Lawal Daura, the DSS Director-General, had 51 officers, with the North West generally taking 165, while the five states of the South East had 44 and the South South 42. The figures for the other zones are North East 100, North Central 66, and South West 57. Similar controversy had also trailed recruitment into the Nigerian Police Force in December last year.

The Buhari administration had been riddled with accusations of nepotism. He has consistently been accused of favoring his Northern constituency in key appointments to the detriment of the South, especially the South East and South South geopolitical zones where he got the least number of votes in the 2015 presidential election.

He had stated a few days into his administration in 2015 that constituencies that gave him five percent should not in all honesty, expect to be treated in some issues as constituencies that gave him 97 percent. A mathematical absurdity, but a point well made, and in many people’s opinion, well pursued.

Starting with the appointment of his kitchen cabinet – the first set of appointments he made which had an overwhelming Northern domination – the president made it immediately clear, some say, that contrary to his inaugural speech postulation of belonging to everybody and to nobody, he indeed belongs to the North. He never looked back ever since; presently nearly all the country’s major security apparatus and revenue generating agencies are headed by Northerners.

When the President took power on May 29th 2015, bookmakers tipped the current Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu for the post of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and former Rivers Governor and current Transport Minister, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi for Chief of Staff (COS): Onu for being his long time ally in the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and Amaechi for being the key financier of his presidential campaign. Both positions would go to Mr. Babachir Lawal from Adamawa State, North East and Abba Kyari, Kastina, North West respectively.

Of all the appointments made at the time, only two went the way of the South, but none to the South East. Yet, the two posts he ceded to the South were largely advisory: Femi Adesina from the South West, special adviser on media and Senator Ita Enang from Cross River, South South, special adviser on National Assembly matters.

Afterwards the president saw a need to change security chiefs. As it was with the kitchen cabinet, the North took the lion share, while the South East was once again left out altogether. Maj. Gen. Tukur Buratai from Borno State, North East was named Chief of Army Staff; Maj-Gen.Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin from Ekiti State, South West, Chief of Defence Staff; Air vice Marshal Sadiq Abubakar from Bauchi State, North East, Chief of Air Staff and Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas from Cross River State, South South, Chief of Naval Staff.

On the same day, he appointed Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan as Chief of Defence Intelligence and Retired Major-General Babagana Monguno from Borno, North East as National Security Adviser. South East had no representation.

The latest appointments into NNPC drew criticisms from Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and several groups from the Niger Delta region who accused the president of totally neglecting the federal character principle. But even the critics admit it does not come as a surprise.

“It is regrettable that we blame IPOB, Arewa youths or Niger Delta youths over threats capable of disintegrating the country but the series of appointments made by this administration even up till now have shown that the administration is worse than those issuing ultimatum to the Igbo,” former Chief Whip of the Senate, Roland Owie told Vanguard.

“We have observed a systematic plan to strangulate the South, particularly the South East in appointments, and it seems that this administration is not bothered at all which is sad.”

Nigeria is a country founded, at independence, on a tripod of East, West and North, dominated by the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani in that order. This has since collapsed into 36 states and six geopolitical zones, but historically, sharing of political appointments and revenue allocation are two thorny issues that quickly flair up ethnic tensions.

It was in an attempt to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of these appointments that the principle of Federal Character was provided for in Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, which states in part, “… 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.”

“The composition of the Government of a State, a Local Government council, or any of the agencies of such government or Council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manners as to recognize the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation.”

To this effect, the Federal Character Commission (FCC), a Federal Executive body 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 posts and socio-economic infrastructures among the various federating units of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The FCC, since its establishment, has been saddled with observing recruitment exercises to allow MDAs willingly apply the approved guidelines and formulae in the staff distribution amongst the States of the Federation.

However, its “observer” status has often prevented it from interfering in the proceeding of the exercise even when the wrong things were observed to be done ab initio. Nonetheless, as a response to this moral obligation, Nigeria’s leaders, particularly from 1999 when democracy returned with Olusegun Obasanjo as president, had largely adopted this principle.

With the coming on board of Buhari however, it would appear that the gain made in this regard as it concerns building national cohesion has been reversed and complaints of marginalization has become rife, even from the North. Coincidentally, both houses of the National Assembly, whose leadership is often spread across to achieve balance, have also gone the way of the North. As it stands, the region controlled the executive, the legislative and judicial arms of government, before the appointment Walter Onoghen as CJN in April.

In an interview earlier in the year, second republic law maker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed concluded that nepotism in Buhari’s government is the worst in the country’s history.

“If this is not nepotism, then I don’t know what is nepotism and anybody who has the guts, the brutal arrogance to appoint these relations not bothering about public opinion, about the sense of justice, about competence, then you can see that he has a very serious question to answer.”

The president had also filled other strategic revenue collecting and security agencies with Northerners. As it stands over 80 percent of key government ministries agencies and departments are disproportionately headed by Northerners, including but not limited to the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mrs. Hadiza Bala Usman (Kaduna, North West; Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC), Abdullahi Muhammadu (Niger, North Central); Controller General of Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), Ahmed Ja’afaru (Kebbi, North West); Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris (Niger,  North Central); Chairman, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA),  Muhammad Abdallah; Controller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede and Director General, Department of State Security Service, Lawal Daura (Katsina, North West).

The nearest equivalent of these posts headed by Southerners include Corps Marshall, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr Boboye Oyeyemi (South West); Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside (South South); Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Babatunde Fowler (South West); Acting Director General of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC), Mrs. Yetunde Oni. Again no individual of South East origin is included.

“It is a very criminal system and Buhari should stop talking about fighting corruption because the system he presides over is extremely criminal and very corrupt, and he is not even ready to address it,” noted Chief Abia Onyike, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party from Ebonyi State.

Defence has, however equally come the way of the president. Some say the last administration of Goodluck Jonathan favoured the South East, and therefore, they ought not to complain.

The Igbo started the problem from days of President Jonathan,” said Mr. John Bede-Anthonio, public affairs analyst. “Minister of Finance (Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala)  did not see anything wrong in all her appointees being Ndigbo.”

Like Bede-Anthonio, many have also accused Jonathan of favouring his Southern constituency, especially the South East and South South. To lay this to rest, we have come up with a list of strategic appointments by both Buhari and Jonathan and their zones. Let them speak for themselves.


Strategic appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari in no particular order

  1. Aide de Camp to president: Lt. Col Abubakar Lawal, (Kano, North-West. Husband to President Buhari’s foster daughter).


  1. Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity: Garba Shehu, (Kano State, North-West)


  1. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, (Osun State, South-West)


  1. Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris (Kano State, North-West).


  1. National Security Adviser: Babagana Monguno (Borno State, North-East)


  1. State Chief of Protocol/Special Assistant, Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure, (Jigawa State, North-West).


  1. Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonishakin, (Ekiti State, South-West).


  1. Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buaratai, (Borno State, North-East).


  1. Chief of Naval Staff: Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, (Cross Rivers, South-South).


  1. Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, (Bauchi State, North-East).


  1. Chief of Defence Intelligence: Monday Riku Morgan (Benue State, North-Central)


  1. Director General, State Security Services, SSS: Lawal Daura, (Katsina State, North-West).


  1. Acting Chairperson, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu (Bauchi State, North East).


  1. Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman Abdulahi (Kaduna State, North-West).


  1. Special Adviser, Niger Delta Amnesty Office, Paul Boroh, (Bayelsa State, South-South)


  1. Acting Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration, Safety and Security Agency, NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside (Rivers State, South South)


  1. Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission:Umaru Dambatta (Kano State, North-West).


  1. Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS: Babatunde Fowler, (Lagos State, South-West)


  1. Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Aliyu Gusau, (Zamfara State, North-West).


  1. Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Kacalila Baru ( Bauchi State, North East)


  1. Secretary to Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal- suspended. ( Adamawa, North East).


  1. Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, (Borno, North-East).


  1. Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service: Hameed Ibrahim Ali, (Bauchi State, North East)


  1. Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service, Mohammed Babandede (Jigawa State, North East)


  1. Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate): Ita Enang, (Akwa Ibom State, South-South)



  1. Director, Department Of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Modecai Baba Ladan. (Niger, North-Central).


  1. Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau


  1. Managing Director, Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Ahmed Lawan Kuru. (Kano, North West)


  1. Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive of the National Insurance Commission, Mohammed Kari (North-West)


  1. Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC), Abdullahi Muhammadu (Niger, North Central).



31.Controller General of Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), Ahmed Ja’afaru (Kebbi, North West).


  1. Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele (Delta, South South).


  1. Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Hon. Justice W.S. Nkanu Onnoghen ( Cross River, South South)


  1. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, (Niger, North Central)


  1. Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun (Ogun, South West)


  1. Petroleum Minister, Muhammadu Buhari (Kastina, North West)


37.. Minister of Power, Works,  Babatunde Fashola (Lagos, South West)


  1. Minister of Interior, Abulrahman Dambazau (Kaduna, North West)


  1. Director General, Pension Commission, Funso Doherty (South West)


  1. Chairman, Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ndoma Egba (South South)


  1. Attorney General, Minister of Justice: Abubakar Malami (North West)



Strategic appointments of Goodluck Jonathan in no particular order.


  1. Azubuike Ihejirika, Chief of Army Staff (Abia, South East). Replaced by Kenneth Minimah (Rivers, South South)


  1. Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin to Chief of Defence Staff (South West). Replaced by Rear Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim (Kwara, North Central). Replaced by Alex Badeh (Adamawa, North East).


  1. Rear Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim Chief of Naval Staff (Kwara, North Central). Replaced by Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba (Delta South South). Replaced by Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin (Kogi, North Central)



  1. Mohammed Dikko Umar, Chief of Air Staff (North West). Replaced by Alex Badeh (North East). Replaced by Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu (South West)



  1. Ita Ekpeyong, Director General, Department of State Security Service (South South)


  1. Adetokumbo Kayode, Minister of Defence (South West). Replaced by Dr. Bello H. Mohammed Defence (Kebbi, North West)


  1. Hafiz Ringim, Inspector General of Police (Jigawa). Replaced by Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar (Zamfara)


  1. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke- Honourable Minister for Petroleum, Bayelsa (South South)


  1. Habibu Abdullahi, Director General, Nigerian Ports Authority (North West)


  1. Abdullahi Dikko, Director General, Nigerian Customs Service (Katsina, North West)


  1. Comrade Abba Moro- Honourable Minister for Interior (Benue, North Central)


  1. Elder Godsday Orubebe- Honourable Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (Delta, South South)


13 Arc. Mike Onolememen- Honourable Minister for Works (Edo,  South South)


  1. Professor Bart Nnaji- Honourable Minister for Power (Enugu South East). Replaced by Prof Chinedu Nebo (Enugu, South East)



  1. Mohammed B. Adoke, SAN. Attorney Gen. of the Federation/Honourable Minister of Justice (North Central)


  1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Coordinating minister of economy and Minister of Finance (South East)


  1. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CBN governor (North West). Replaced by Godwin Emefiele (South South)


  1. Anyim Pious Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (South East)


  1. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, Director General, Pension Commission (South East)


  1. Andrew Yakubu, Managing Director, NNPC (North West). Replaced by Joseph Dawha (North East)


  1. Patrick Akpabolokemi, Director General, NIMASA (South South)


  1. MR. Jonah Otunla, Accountant General of the Federation (South West)


  1. Mike Oghiadome, Chief of Staff (South South). Replaced by rigadier-General Jones O. Arogbofa (South West)


  1. Col. Ojogbane Adegbe, Aide De Camp (North Central)


  1. Zakari Ibrahim, Controller General of Prison (North). Replaced by Peter Ekpendu (South East)


  1. Chike Obi Managing Director, Asset Management Company of Nigeria (South East)


  1. George Osahon, Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, (South West)


  1. Senator Joy Emordi, Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (South East)



  1. Bright Okogwu, Director General, Budget Office (South East)


  1. Mr. Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs (South South)


  1. Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairperson, Independent National Electoral Commission (Kebbi, North West)


  1. Col Sambo Dasuki, National Security Adviser (North West)


  1. Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity (South west)


  1. Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs (South West)


  1. Eugene Juwah, Nigerian Communication Commissioner (Delta, South South)


  1. Kabiru Mashi, Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (North East). He was replaced by Samuel Ogungbesan (South West)


  1. Ambassador Olutola J. Onijala, Chief of Protocol (South West). He was replaced by Jameel Abubakar-Waziri.


  1. Mr. David Parradang, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (North Central)


  1. Dr. Oluwole Oluleye, Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (South West). He was replaced by Olufemi Ajayi (South West).


  1. Fola Daniel, Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive of the National Insurance Commission (South West)


  1. Dr Ade Abolurin, Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (South West).


  1. Dr. (Mrs.) Christiana Atako, Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Development Commission (South South)
  2. Aloma Muhtar, Chief Justice of Nigeria (Adamawa, North East). He was replaced by Mahmud Mohammed (Taraba, North East)

















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