President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term in office was defined mostly by his lopsided appointments. The entire security architecture was, almost exclusively Northern, and so were the headship of revenue generating agencies.
With his second term however, many reasoned that he would have a change of attitude and strive for balance in the interest of justice and stability. Suggestions had particularly become rife that the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federal (SGF) would go to the South East which lost out in the leadership of both the executive and the legislative arms of government.
Former Minister of Science and Technology and Buhari’s long time political ally, Dr. Ogbonnia Onu was particularly tipped for the job. But on Friday fortnight ago, the president betrayed such expectations by retaining Adamawa born Boss Mustapha as SGF, as well as Borno born Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff.
It is a return to a now established pattern. Mustapha and Kyari’s reappointment was followed by the appointment of eleven aides, nine of whom are northerners, and two Southerners – both photographers.
They included: Mohammed Sarki Abba – Senior Special Assistant to the President (Household and Social Events); Ya’u Shehu Darazo – Senior Special Assistant to the President (Special Duties); Dr Suhayb Sanusi Rafindadi – Personal Physician to the President; Amb. Lawal A. Kazaure – State Chief of Protocol; Sabiu Yusuf – Special Assistant (Office of the President).
Others were: Saley Yuguda – Special Assistant (House Keeping); Ahmed Muhammed Mayo – Special Assistant (Finance & Administration); Mohammed Hamisu Sani – Special Assistant (Special Duties); Friday Bethel – Personal Assistant (General Duties); Sunday Aghaeze – Personal Assistant (State Photographer); and Bayo Omoboriowo – Personal Assistant (Presidential Photographer).
Other appointments the president has made since he resumed his second term are: Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor; Ahmed Idris, Accountant General of the Federation; Ahmad Shakur, acting DG, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR); Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, DG Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Mele Kyari, GMD, NNPC.
The President had named Kyari, GMD, NNPC, alongside the appointment of seven Chief Operating Officers (COOs), four from the North, three from the South.
1. Mr. Roland Onoriode Ewubare (S/South) – COO Upstream
2. Engr. Mustapha Yinusa Yakubu (N/ Central) – COO Refining & Petrochemicals
3. Engr. Yusuf Usman (N/East) – COO, Gas & Power
4. Ms. Lawrencia Nwadiabuwa Ndupu (S/East), COO Ventures
5. Mr. Umar Isa Ajiya (N/West) – Chief Financial Officer
6. Engr. Adeyemi Adetunji (S/West) – COO, Downstream and
7. Mr. Farouk Garba Said (N/West) – COO, Corporate Services.
Thus, of the 26 appointments made so far, 19 have been from the North, and 7 from the South. Some say it’s a clear suggestion that not much, if anything, would change from the lopsided appointments of the first.
” Some people say we have come back to square one, but I think we have come back to square zero if there is any such thing,” noted Chief Okey Okoroji, APGA chieftain and one time governorship aspirant in Lagos State.
“He (Buhari) is going to spend his time avenging those who he thought did not vote for him. You know who he is. Remember what his 97 percent versus 5 percent logic. That’s what he is coming back to do.”
Interestingly, this would be the first time in the nation’s democratic history that all the three arms of government would be headed by one section of the country, the North.
President Buhari, North West is head of the executive; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, North East is head of the legislature, while Justice Tanko Mohammed, Chief Justice of Nigeria and head of Judiciary is also from the North East.