Nepotism or Tribalism? Tinubu’s Political Appointees Raises Concerns



Tinubu – In a nation as diverse as Nigeria, the pursuit of ethno-inclusivity in government appointments has emerged as a crucial aspect of promoting national unity and fostering a sense of collective loyalty. Nigeria’s Constitution, specifically Article 14(3), sets the foundation for a government structure that seeks to reflect the country’s federal character while prioritizing the need to forge a cohesive national identity. This article delves into the significance of ethno-inclusivity in government, highlighting the constitutional provisions and policies that affirm Nigeria’s commitment to creating a representative and inclusive governance system.

The Argument of Ethno-Inclusivity

Ethno-inclusivity in government underscores the principle of equal representation for all ethnic groups within Nigeria, regardless of their size or historical influence. It recognizes that a fair and balanced distribution of power and opportunities is crucial to ensure that no ethnic group or region dominates the political landscape, thus fostering a sense of belonging and shared ownership among all citizens. By embracing ethno-inclusivity, Nigeria aims to overcome historical divisions and build a nation where diversity is not only acknowledged but actively celebrated.

Article 14(3) of the Nigerian Constitution, quoted above, serves as the bedrock of Nigeria’s commitment to ethno-inclusivity in government. This constitutional provision emphasizes the necessity to reflect the federal character of the country and promote national unity while commanding national loyalty. By incorporating the principles of fairness, representation, and loyalty, this article establishes the guidelines for the composition of the government and the appointment of officials.

The Constitution’s call for reflecting the federal character of Nigeria indicates the intention to ensure that power and opportunities are distributed fairly among the different regions and ethnic groups. It serves as a reminder that no single group should dominate the government, providing a basis for the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives. Moreover, the need to promote national unity highlights the importance of creating an environment where citizens from all ethnic backgrounds can contribute to and participate in governance, fostering a sense of shared destiny.

The Federal Character Commission (FCC): To implement the constitutional mandate of ethno-inclusivity, the Nigerian government established the Federal Character Commission (FCC) in 1995. The FCC plays a pivotal role in ensuring that no ethnic group or religion predominates in the Federal Public Service of the Federation. This body develops and enforces guidelines to promote ethno-inclusivity in government appointments.

The FCC’s guidelines provide government agencies with clear directives on ensuring that appointments reflect the federal character of Nigeria. These guidelines encompass a range of considerations, including geographical spread, gender balance, educational qualifications, and professional competence. By adhering to these guidelines, government agencies can actively work towards creating a diverse and representative bureaucracy that caters to the aspirations and needs of all Nigerians.

The Appointments and Their Ethnicities

  1. Mallam Nuhu Ribadu – Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is the National Security Adviser (NSA). He is of the Fulani tribe.
  2. Maj. Gen. C.G Musa – Maj. Gen. C.G Musa is the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the highest-ranking military officer in the Nigerian armed forces responsible for coordinating and overseeing defense operations. He is Hausa.
  3. Maj. Gen. T. A Lagbaja – Maj. Gen. T. A Lagbaja serves as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), responsible for leading and managing the Nigerian Army. He is Yoruba.
  4. Rear Admiral E. A Ogalla – Rear Admiral E. A Ogalla is the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), responsible for overseeing the operations and administration of the Nigerian Navy. He is Igbo
  5. AVM H.B Abubakar – AVM H.B Abubakar is the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), responsible for managing and commanding the Nigerian Air Force. He is Hausa
  6. DIG Kayode Egbetokun – DIG Kayode Egbetokun is the Ag Inspector-General of Police, serving in a temporary capacity as the head of the Nigerian Police Force. He is Yoruba.
  7. Maj. Gen. EPA Undiandeye – Maj. Gen. EPA Undiandeye is the Chief of Defense Intelligence, responsible for intelligence gathering and analysis for the Nigerian armed forces. He is from Bedia, Obudu LGA in Cross River State. And isn’t Igbo.

Other appointments (positions not specified):

  • Col. Adebisi Onasanya – Brigade of Guards Commander. He is Yoruba.
  • Lt. Col. Moshood Abiodun Yusuf – Serves in the 7 Guards Battalion, Asokoro, Abuja. He is Yoruba.
  • Lt. Col. Auwalu Baba Inuwa – Serves in the 177 Guards Battalion, Keffi, Nasarawa State. He is Fulani
  • Lt. Col. Mohammed J. Abdulkarim – Serves in the 102 Guards Battalion, Suleja, Niger.
  • Lt. Col. Olumide A. Akingbesote – Serves in the 176 Guards Battalion, Gwagwalada, Abuja. He is Yoruba
  • Maj. Isa Farouk Audu – Commanding Officer State House Artillery.
  • Capt. Kazeem Olalekan Sunmonu – Second-in-Command, State House Artillery. He is Yoruba
  • Maj. Kamaru Koyejo Hamzat – Commanding Officer, State House Military Intelligence.
  • Maj. T. S. Adeola – Commanding Officer, State House Armament. He is Yoruba.
  • Lt. A. Aminu – Second-in-Command, State House Armament.
  • Hadiza Bala Usman – Special Adviser, Policy Coordination.
  • Hannatu Musa Musawa – Special Adviser, Culture and Entertainment Economy.
  • Sen. Abdullahi Abubakar Gumel – Senior Special Assistant, National Assembly Matters (Senate).
  • Hon. (Barr) Olarewaju Kunle Ibrahim – Senior Special Assistant, National Assembly Matters (HoR). He is Yoruba.

Note: The ones not specified above are either Hausa or Fulani.

The concerns and criticisms regarding the appointment list highlight important considerations related to ethno-inclusivity and proper representation of ethnic groups in Nigeria. Critics argue that the list falls short in prioritizing inclusivity and fails to accurately reflect the population proportions of different ethnic groups.

One criticism revolves around the overrepresentation of the Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani tribes in the appointments. Critics argue that while these tribes may have significant populations and historical influence, the list should have taken into account the proportional representation of all major ethnic groups in Nigeria. By not reflecting the population proportions, there is a perceived imbalance and potential marginalization of other ethnic groups.

Moreover, concerns are raised regarding the past actions and responses of certain individuals in positions of power. Critics argue that these actions suggest a bias towards particular ethnic groups, further reinforcing the perception of a lack of inclusivity in the appointment process. It is important for government appointments to be based on merit, competence, and the ability to serve the nation, rather than favoring specific ethnic groups.

These concerns and criticisms highlight the need for transparent and accountable processes in government appointments. It is crucial to ensure that appointments are made based on the principles of fairness, qualification of the individual for the position, representation, and the promotion of national unity.

Ethno-inclusivity in government appointments is a crucial aspect of promoting unity and representative governance in Nigeria. While constitutional provisions and the establishment of the Federal Character Commission demonstrate Nigeria’s commitment to this principle, the recent list of appointments raises concerns regarding balanced representation. Efforts should be made to ensure that appointments align more closely with the country’s ethnic demographics, fostering a more inclusive and unified nation.

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