Tinubu’s Nepotism Just Like Buhari’s, Steals From Us All

With his chief spokesman, Femi Adesina disclosing on Wednesday that Muhammadu Buhari regretted some of his decisions as President, it is a no-brainer that top among the things the immediate past President now thinks he should have done differently is his nepotistic appointments. This should rank high on his list of regrets because flagrant disregard for the country’s diversity and harmony is the defining feature of his reign and saw him preside over a fractured nation between 2015 to 2023. Buhari should indeed rue the narrow-mindedness that not only questioned patriotism but accounts for his administration’s infamy as the most underwhelming and lackluster in Nigeria’s history.

Here is how the Buhari administration was recently appraised by erstwhile Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke SAN, “The most incompetent government we’ve ever seen in this country; ran by the most incompetent President that this country has ever had and will never have again. And ran by a set of political morons”. No doubt, at the root of this incompetence, is the nepotistic deployment of square pegs in round holes. Merit is usually the first casualty when a President is bent on appointing mostly persons from his provenance. As is to be expected Nigeria paid dearly for this antediluvian disposition not just in terms of the economy but the country within the past eight years picked up the rear in virtually all development indexes there are. It was so bad that Buhari’s relation, Hadi Sirika, as Minister of Aviation made the country a laughingstock with the Nigeria Air hoax and heist!

With this in mind, it is disturbing that freshly-minted President Bola Tinubu seems bent on continuing with this playbook that has since brought Buhari to regrets, even if he’s too egotistic to publicly admit it. Tinubu’s nepotism writ large even in his mammoth cabinet that the Constitution tried to impose balance. Once he met the legal requirement of nominating a minister from the 36 states, the President went on a frolic of his own with some states having as many as three ministers! This was as he reserved what is deemed juicy portfolios for his natal region. His nepotism is so glaring that even those who benefited while Buhari was perpetrating the same didn’t mind the hypocrisy in now coming out to bemoan Tinubu’s skewed appointments!

Daily Trust, on Monday, ran with the screaming headline: ‘Tinubu Under Fire Over ‘Lopsided’ Appointments’. The civil society group behind the story said, “With President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s recent approval of the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso to serve as the substantive new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), some 48 hours after appointing Zachaeus Adedeji as the acting chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the strong perception that the President is pushing an unseemly pro-ethnic agenda became worryingly stronger”. It added: “With a little over 100 days on the saddle, the President’s appointments have shown he appears to have special consideration for people from his South-West region”.

Even in the President’s All Progressives Congress, his sectarian appointment has unsettled members of his party who under the umbrella of Progressive Change Ambassadors of Nigeria (PCAN) lamented earlier in the week that Tinubu is mostly appointing people from his South-west geopolitical zone to the commanding heights of the federal government. While addressing the President in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Alhaji Abdulkareem Ubaydah and Secretary, Muhammad Rabiu Awwal E, PCAN said, “We have observed that a significant majority of these appointments have been made from your southwest geopolitical zone and especially from your ethnic group – the Yorubas, to the exclusion of other qualified and competent individuals from other parts of the country. This has led to widespread feelings of alienation and resentment among Nigerians from other parts of the country.”

Their names point to the provenance of the signees. It then calls to question where they were when Buhari was busy appropriating virtually every substantial appointment to his region. So, it’s true that what goes around comes around! As if that wasn’t enough, Arewa Economic Forum while weighing in on the sectionalism, accused Tinubu of making some “curious and unprecedented” moves. The group was so aggrieved that they called a press conference in Abuja, where the Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Dandakata complained that the Finance Minister who doubles as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, is from the same South-west as the then-Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Folashodun Shonubi.

According to the Arewa group, “We are afraid to state that a situation whereby the appointees in crucial economic sectors are not only from the southwest but also connected to the Lagos axis suggests a deliberate ‘Yorubanisation’ and ‘Lagoslisation’ of the polity”. Imagine that Buhari is now even being said to have been less nepotistic than Tinubu! Those in this school of thought argue that whereas the former’s appointments favoured two geopolitical zones in the North and to some extent northern minorities, the latter is concentrating on just the Southwest, particularly Lagos State. It is a major deception for Tinubu who promised to be fair to all Nigerians to head towards the same slippery slope as Buhari who abashedly said that those who gave him five percent votes at the poll shouldn’t expect the same treatment as those who offered him 97 percent!

Naija News strongly condemns the primordial leaning by those who should be fathers of the nation. Tinubu is the President of Nigeria, not that of the Southwest! Carrying every section of the country along is so important that the federal character principle is not just in the Constitution but exists as a bureaucracy. Last week, we wrote about the danger NYSC exposes young Nigerians to by deploying them to far-flung locations. How can this dangerous deployment engender national integration and cohesion when the Number-one citizen isn’t showing the way by respecting the nation’s diversity? On the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in India, Tinubu posited that the country can attain prosperity “if only we can make use of our diversity for prosperity”. It then means that prosperity is topmost among what exclusivity rather than inclusivity in federal appointments steal from Nigerians!

It also robs the country of having those with the know-how fix Nigeria’s multifaceted problems. When the search for who occupies a particular position is limited to a particular region, it shuts out the most qualified and resourceful Nigerians. As the country continues sinking under the weight of ineptitude, everyone including those from the preferred region equally bears the brunt. Regrettably, impunity and lack of accountability reign supreme when nepotism is made the directive principle of state policy. This perhaps explains the audacity of Hadi Sirika and his ilk in Buhari’s government. Naija News hopes Tinubu won’t be taking the country into the same sordid path. In the long run, nepotism is an ill wind that blows no one any good. If ancient empires still crumbled in the long run, then no privileged position or dynasty should be expected to endure unendingly. Naija News enjoins the President to retrace his steps to when he appointed the current service chiefs. Nigeria can do so much with such inclusivity!

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