Distribution of strategic appointments in first term

On May 29th, President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term came to an end and he assumed office for another term of four years. Buhari’s first four years was dominated, among other things, by accusations of marginalization and nepotism, especially by people of the South East Geopolitical Zone, and indeed the entire Southern and Middle Belt Nigeria.

Unsettling for many Nigerians particularly, was the seeming dominance of the country’s security and intelligence architecture by the President’s Muslim Hausa/Fulani North. An arrangement, Akogun Tola Adeniyi, convener, G9, a group of Southern and Middle Belt opinion leaders, and the former Managing Director of the Daily Times, said is “Military dictatorship”. According to him, the president has been running one sided government since he “populated the entire Security apparatus of the state with his kinsmen and cronies.”

The angst against the president had been further compounded by the growing insecurity, especially as it concerns activities of herdsmen and his seeming inaction.

Ahead of the anticipated swearing in of the president few days ago, notable Southern leaders, including Second Republic Senator and Professor emeritus of history, Banji Akintoye; Chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and president emeritus of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, Afenifere Chieftain, Senator Femi Okunronmu, among others, in their interactions with our correspondents, demanded that the president makes a change in his second term and ensure that security and other appointments have more spread in line with the constitution.

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“Section 14 (3) provides that the composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies, and the conduct of its affairs shall be in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and to command national loyalty by ensuring that there is no predominance of persons from one sectional group,” Chief Uwazurike had noted.

“As it is, the government of today has no respect for the constitution. If it did, it wouldn’t be carrying on with this kind of security architecture. I find it strange that when it comes to appointing security chiefs, no Igbo person is found worthy. We have had presidents in the past and all their security appointments had been spread. It is only now that we are hearing that security chiefs can only come from one side because they are promoted on merit. It is preposterous and untenable.”
But president’s aides have consistently pushed back with Buhari himself consistently insisting he had made his appointments based on merit and had been fair to everyone. Speaking to leaders of the South East at the palace of the Obi of Onitsha in January, Buhari maintained that he appointed people based on records, while insisting that he has been fair to the zone contrary to popular beliefs.


“In the South East, here are five states in the North I think there are 18 states. In the South East out of the five states I think there five members of the Federal Executive Council, trade and investment, foreign affairs, labour, science and technology. And seven of the northern states have only minister of state,” Buhari had said.

“The present chief of Army Staff, the Chief Air Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff even the previous Inspector General of Police that just left, I didn’t know them personally before I appointed them. I follow records.”

“The same thing with the IG, that one was appointed last week. I don’t think I have ever seen him, I follow records. So, appointments in the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies are dependent on individual performance after recruitment not where you think you come from. At least between me and God, this is what I do.”

The counter argument to Buhari’s position nonetheless, is that it is untenable to hold that only people from one section of the country qualify for certain positions, even as many have wondered what criteria the president could have used to arrive at his choice candidates and the definition of record and performance.

Yet, the claims by the administration that the North does not dominate appointments under Buhari, for some, is not tenable considering that all appointments are not the same and one cannot equate a porter in a ministry with the minister or permanent secretary.

But who between those who allege the president of promoting an ethnic and religious agenda and the President who insists he is fair to everyone, is right?

Goodluck Jonathan

We shall look at 50 most strategic appointments in government, including ministers and permanent secretaries of strategic ministries, heads of key revenue generating agencies and heads of defence and intelligence agencies, to find out who occupies them, from which zone and of which religion, as at May 29th, 2019; and compare with the President Goodluck Jonathan administration at the same date in 2015.

President Buhari’s top 50 appointments versus Jonathan’s

a. Buhari
North West:

1. Attorney General, Minister of Justice: Abubakar Malami
2. State Chief of Protocol/Special Assistant: Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure.
3. Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA): Hadiza Bala Usman Abdulahi
4. Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission:Umaru Dambatta.
5. Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF): Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau
6. Managing Director, Asset Management Company of Nigeria, (AMCON): Ahmed Lawan Kuru.
7. Controller General of Nigerian Prison Service (NPS): Ahmed Ja’afaru.
8. Commissioner for Insurance and Chief Executive of the National Insurance Commission: Mohammed Kari
9. Petroleum Minister: Muhammadu Buhari
10. Minister of Interior: Abulrahman Dambazau.
11. Controller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service: Mohammed Babandede.
12. Defence Minister: Dan Ali
13. Director General, PENCOM: Aisha Dahiru-Umar
14. Perm Sec. Ministry of Interior: Mohammed Bello Umar.
15. Perm Sec. Ministry of Finance: Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse.
16. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mrs. Nuratu Jimoh Batagarawa
17. Aide de Camp to president: Lt. Col Abubakar Lawal.
18. Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity: Garba Shehu.
19. Accountant General of the Federation: Ahmed Idris
20. Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company: Mr Abbas Umar Masanawa.
21. Director General of DSS: Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi
22. Finance Minister: Zainab Ahmed
23. DG, NIA, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar
North East:
1 National Security Adviser: Babagana Monguno.
2. Chief of Army Staff: Tukur Buaratai.
3. Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko
4. Chief of Air Staff: Sadique Abubakar.
5. Group Managing Director (NNPC): Maikanti Kacalila Baru
6. Chairman, INEC: Mahmood Yakubu.
7. Secretary to Government of the Federation: Boss Mustapha.
8. Chief of Staff to the President: Abba Kyari.
9. Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service: Hameed Ibrahim Ali.
10. MD, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Umar. I. Ajiya.
11. Perm. Sec. Ministry of power, works and housing: Mohammed Bukar
12. Chairman, EFCC: Ibrahim Magu.
13. DG, National Identity Management Commission: Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz
North Central:
1. Director, Department Of Petroleum Resources: Modecai Baba Ladan.
2. Commandant General, (NSCDC): Abdullahi Muhammadu
3. Inspector General of Police (IGP): Mohammed Adamu
4. Chief of Defence Intelligence: Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Saliu
South West:
1. Executive Chairman, FIRS: Babatunde Fowler.
2. Minister of Power, Works: Babatunde Fashola.
3. Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonishakin.
4. ICPC chairman: Bolaji F. Owansanoye
South South:
1. Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN): Godwin Emefiele.
2. Director General, NIMASA: Dakuku Peterside.
3. Chief of Naval Staff: Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas.
4. Head of Service, Eyo Ita.
South East
1. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema
2. DG, Budget Office, Ben Akabueze

b. Jonathan

North West
1.DG, Nigerian Ports Authority, Habibu Abdullahi
2. D G, Nigerian Customs Service Abdullahi Dikko
3. INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega.
4. Chief of Protocol, Jameel Abubakar-Waziri – preceded by Amb. Olutola J. Onijala (South West)
5. Col Sambo Dasuki, National Security Adviser
6. Minister of Defence, Aliyu Gusau – preceded by Dr. Bello H. Mohammed North West, Adetokumbo Kayode, South West.
7. Aliyu Ismaila, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence.
8. Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Mr. Farouk A. Ahmed.
9. A.K. Mohammed, perm sec, Ministry of Works.
North East
1. Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh – preceded by Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin, South West and Rear Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, North Central.
2. GMD, NNPC, Joseph Dawha – preceded by Andrew Yakubu, North West.
3. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, North East – preceded by Aloma Muhtar, North East.
4. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice. Abdullahi Yola.
5. President, Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa
6. Head of Service, Danladi Kifasi – preceded by Isa Sali.
7. EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde
8. Perm Sec, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nanpon Sheni
North Central
1. Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin – preceded by Rear Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, North Central and Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba, South South. Replaced by
2. Minister for Interior, Comrade Abba Moro
3. Attorney General/Minister of Justice, Mohammed B. Adoke, SAN.
4. Aide De Camp, Col. Ojogbane Adegbe.
5. CG, Nigerian Immigration Service, David Parradang.
6. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicholas Ada
South West
1. Chief of Air Staff. Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu – preceded by Mohammed Dikko Umar, Chief of Air Staff, North West and Alex Badeh, North East.
2. Accountant General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla.
3. Brigadier-General Jones O. Arogbofa – preceded by Mike Oghiadome, South South.
4. Executive Chairman, FIRS Samuel Ogungbesan – preceded by Kabiru Mashi, North East.
5. Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, George Osahon.
6. Executive Secretary, PTDF, Olufemi Ajayi – preceded by Dr. Oluwole Oluleye.
7. Commissioner for Insurance, National Insurance Commission Fola Daniel
8. Commandant, NSCDC, Dr Ade Abolurin.
9. Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.
10. DG, NIA, Ayodele Oke
11. Chairman, Civil Service Commission, Deaconess Joanna Ayo
South South
1. IGP, Solomon Arase – proceeded by Hafiz Ringim, Jigawa and Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar Zamfara

2. Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah – preceded by Azubuike Ihejirika, South East
3. Director General, DSS, Ita Ekpeyong.
4. Minister for Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke
5. Minister for Works, Arc. Mike Onolememen
6. CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele – preceded by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, North West.
7. Director General, NIMASA, Patrick Akpabolokemi.
8. M D, NDDC, Dr. Christiana Atako
9. Chairman, ICPC, Ekpo Nta
South East.
1. Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo – preceded by Prof Barth Nnaji.
2. Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
3. SGF, Anyim Pious Anyim.
4. DG, PENCOM, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu.
5. CG, Prison Service, Peter Ekpendu – preceded by Zakari Ibrahim, North West.
6. MD, AMCON, Chike Obi.
7. Director General, Budget Office, Bright Okogwu


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