The Christian Elders Forum of Northern States (NOSCEF) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to match his words with actions to do away with the nepotistic tendencies in his government in order to build a united Nigeria.
NOSCEF, in a statement after its meeting in Kaduna issued by its Chairman, Engineer Ejoga Oyinehi Inalegwu, noted that President Buhari’s efforts to unite the country would be mere rhetoric if he fails to practice what he preaches to Nigerians.
The meeting emphasized, “We join the President in appealing for a united, equitable, Nigeria that is fair and just to all, irrespective of religion, tribe, origin, or region. We however add that unity must first begin from the President himself.”
The participants at the meeting enjoined President Buhari to unite the country by bringing people together through appointments not based on a mere relationship with him on religion or any primordial considerations but competent hands, across religious, tribal, and regional divides for the development of the country.
The statement appealed to Mr. President to start by appointing competent indigenous Christians from his home state of Katsina into key government positions, stressing that he would do more in promoting unity across religious and tribal lines by appointing not just a section to key sensitive institutions, strategic ministries and parastatals so that Nigerians can come together, work together in unity and appreciate themselves of their capabilities and competencies that abound across the lines of division and not privileges derivable by their religion or ethnicity.
The statement further frowned at the perpetuation of what it called “the terrible injustice” of the past by the systematic replacement of the favored by the same group while the few others appointed are also being replaced by the already favoured.
The group observed that same goes for the security outfits; the Police, Army, Air Force, Navy, Prisons, Immigration, Civil Defence, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, saying that it should reflect the regional and religious diversity of the country.
The meeting lamented, “The President cannot preach unity and be appointing only a section of Nigerians to hold sensitive positions. The president is not preaching unity when telling a section of Nigerians that by religion, ethnicity and region they are incompetent to hold sensitive positions in his government.”
NOSCEF stated that the President should preach unity in the distribution of infrastructure, appointments to sensitive and none sensitive positions across all divides.
NOSCEF noted that for both the President and the Governors, it should be noted that the resources due all citizens under them are held in trust for all, saying that whether they voted at all or did not vote, whether they voted for the ruling party or not.
The statement observed that siting and distribution of projects and development should not be repayment for patronage at elections, pointing out that revenues are for the development of the entire domain of governance and should be so seen to be so.
NOSCEF said that it is unfair, to on any ground, exclude states from benefiting from borrowed funds, when those states will participate in the repayment.
The statement added that such are instruments of disunity and should be nipped in the bud, stressing that as a nation, re-ignite the successes of the past, when great minds and national prides like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Adesina Akinwumi, Arumah Oteh, Amina Mohammed, Prof. Atahiru Jega, Dora Akinyuli, among others were brought on the national stage on the basis of competence, not patronage and did the nation proud.
The statement lamented that similarly, service chiefs and other security heads were not appointed from across all divides, but as lubricating oil of unity.
The group stressed that the cover-up and justification for these lopsided appointments is a national insult on those Nigerians superintendent over, adding that competency abounds across all divides of the country and no President can justify lopsided appointments on the basis of shortage of competence or integrity from any section of the country.
It urged the President to address these issues with determination and singleness of mind, assuring that he would be sowing seeds for reuniting Nigeria.
The participants advised President Buhari that it is never too late to do the right thing, by redressing past wrongs, as the results would be rewarding and the sowing of seeds of unity and rebuilding hopeful confidence for the desired oneness of the beloved country.
NOSCEF tasked Boko Haram insurgents that have announced their repentant status to prove their sincerity by facilitating the release of the Chibok girls still in their custody, Leah Sharibu and others still in captivity, saying that it would be a practical demonstration to the nation that their repentance is genuine.