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Survival Of Nigeria More Threatened Under Buhari Than Any Other Nigerian Leader – OPC

BEING TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY DR. FREDERICK FASEHUN, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF THE OODUA PEOPLE’S CONGRESS (OPC), AT CENTURY HOTEL, OKOTA, LAGOS, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017
Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press:
Permit us to thank you for honouring this Press Conference.
First, let us express our sincere appreciation for the revocation by Niger-Delta militants of the eviction notice issued to Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba citizens living in their region. This follows the same step taken by the Hausa-Fulani youths groups who earlier abrogated the October 1 deadline issued to Igbo dwellers in the North. OPC’s stance has always been that all ethnic nationalities should give Nigeria a chance to survive; this country is not an accident and Nigerians take pride in belonging to a big, strong and united nation.
However, we aim today to use this Press Conference to implore the powers-that-be and the ruling party to refrain from creating an environment that will facilitate divisive tendencies to fester. And we shall especially aim our appeal at Mr. President.
UNHEALTHY, UNBALANCED APPOINTMENTS
When he first took power in 2015 and began his initial appointments, President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrated unbelievable insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity, unity and Constitution by unfolding a list of appointees clearly dominated and monopolised by his Northern kinsmen to the alienation and disadvantage of other regions, especially the South-East. For example, of the six security service chiefs Buhari has appointed, the North dominates with four appointees, to the South’s two, with the South-East, in fact, having none. By July 2016, President Buhari had appointed 47 Southerners and 75 Northerners into various non-ministerial public offices; again the South-East brought up the rear with 12 appointees, where Buhari’s North-West had the largest chunk 34 of political office holders.
Buhari continues this unhealthy trend of Northern domination and Southern marginalisation in the nation’s security institutions, and today the North holds firmly to the leadership positions of:
• National Security Adviser
• Inspector General of Police
• Chief of Army Staff
• Chief of Air Staff
• Chief of Defence Intelligence
• Director General, State Security Services, SSS: Lawal Daura
• Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service
• Comptroller-General, Nigerian Immigration Service and
• Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Unfortunately, this far-from-nationalistic lopsidedness and Northern domination have been repeated in the recently announced directors for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). And OPC joins other well-meaning patriots to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately cancel the new NNPC appointments. Out of the 15 new directors, 10 (67 percent) come from the mostly Hausa-Fulani North, three are Yoruba, two come from the South-South and none from the South-East. President Buhari must urgently review these appointments to reflect Federal Character, failing which the Senate should bar the appointees from resuming in office.
We understand that secret appointments into Federal parastatals like the NNPC, NPA and CBN and security arms like the DSS and EFCC have followed this trend, heavily skewed against the South in favour of the North.
By making these Northern-dominated appointments, President Buhari has contradicted the letter and spirit of the Constitution he swore to uphold, specifically the Federal Character principle in Section 14(3), which says:
“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 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 State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”
The President must realise that favouring the North with his lopsided appointments is an act of impunity, and it has sparked the raging agitations for disintegration, ethnic separatism and restructuring. Continuing down this path will further overheat the polity. The agitations for Biafra, for example, began and became heightened with the President’s flagrant disregard for the extant provisions of the Constitution and his failure to run an all-inclusive government.
Some of his declarations, perhaps made innocently, have inadvertently only succeeded in dividing the nation, paving the way for unbelievers to keep agitating for the irreducible minimums like Restructuring, True Federalism and Devolution of Power.
Impunity, as we see currently, is the precursor to corruption; and we have been fighting corruption since this government came to power. But what leaders and government say to the people of this nation do not confirm the leadership’s seriousness to fight corruption as obtains in other lands. Good leaders in other lands will say to their people what they mean and are not apologetic when challenged on their speeches because they mean what they say and say what they mean.
PMB has said some things, some of them electoral promises, that he has since reneged on, and some things he said have left Nigerians more divided and further overheated the polity.
He should remember, though, that where his pastime is dividing the people, every Nigerian was united in prayers for his safe, whole and healthy return to work.
Today, the President treats Nigerians with different standards. The way he has portrayed himself since the inception of his regime, he has “governed” Nigeria with various shades of impunity, making some Nigerians more significant than other Nigerians, and one voting ethnic nationality more favoured than other ethnic voting nationalities.
This open declaration, made with impunity, has inadvertently made one ethnic group superior to the other group, enabling them to declare what makes one ethnic group superior to the other, and thereby causing instability in the land.
PMB SHOULD LEARN FROM HIS PREDECESSORS
This Republic has endured for the past 18 years, making it the longest this country has ever known. President Buhari must sustain the basic recipe for its longevity and survival: Past Presidents placed the nation ahead of their primordial interests and origins. This is why up till today, the Yorubas blame former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Niger-Delta vilify former President Goodluck Jonathan as failing to concentrate developments in their native zones. For these Buhari predecessors, it was the nation first. Conversely, today, we have a President whose body language, attitude, utterances, programmes and policies are skewed against ethnic groups that are not from his native North. The repercussions have been worrisome, and have provoked in people like the Reverend Father Matthew Hassan Kukah fears that the survival of Nigeria is more threatened under Buhari than under any other Nigerian ruler. And this comes with no surprise for Buhari is operating on a premise he enunciated at the US Institute of Peace, where he inappropriately said:
“I hope you have a copy of the election results. The constituents, for example, who gave me
97% [of the vote] cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave me 5%. I think this is a political reality…. The constituencies that by their sheer hard work they made sure that they got their people to vote and ensure that their votes count, they must feel that the government has appreciated the effort they put in putting the government in place.”
Today, available evidence shows that Nigeria is being governed according to this illogical, unreasonable and unscientific statement, premised on an ill-advised politics of exclusion and ethnic chauvinism.
RECESSION
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Nigerian economy has eased past recession. We do not know the basis for this pronouncement. But glowing economic statistics will not put food on the table. The harsh reality is that Nigerians are suffering and government must put machinery in place to tackle spiralling inflation, especially in food prices, pump price of fuel, cost of funds for industries as well as the beleaguered value of the Naira.
RESTRUCTURING AND THE 2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE
OPC hereby joins other Nigerians to demand the restructuring of the country. We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results. Time has come for the government to face the fact that Nigerians have drawn the roadmaps for the country’s unity and survival through the 2014 National Conference. Its report provides the sine qua non , the irreducible minimum requirement, for the country’s peaceful coexistence; and its provisions should be implemented as a matter of urgency.
Ladies and gentlemen, we thank you for your attention.

AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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