An attempt to mislead Nigerians and spark religious misunderstanding on the issue of federal government appointments under President Muhammadu Buhari has been exposed by countermanding evidence and facts.
This unholy plot packaged by a group named “Coalition of Christian Groups” is believed to have been motivated by those who had attempted but failed to demonize the President during the 2015 presidential campaigns on religious lines.
However, determined to desperately advance their crafty course and cantankerous motives, the group went on to issue a statement titled DISCRIMINATORY APPOINTMENTS AGAINST NON-MUSLIMS IN NIGERIA.
Curiously, the statement was purportedly signed by an elderly lawyer, Mr. Solomon Asemota and is now circulating on different social media platforms.
In its deliberate act of mischief, the said statement ignored the following facts that clearly exposed their divisive intentions:
That President Buhari named:
1. Pastor Engr B.D Lawal-a Christian as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation
2. Mrs Winifred E. Oyo-Ita – a Christian as the Head of Service
3. Deaconess Joan Ayo – maintained a Christian in the post of Chairperson of the Civil Service Commission.
To begin with, these three examples are key gatekeeping and powerful positions in the Nigerian public service to which the President named Christians.
The group also ignored the fact that:
1. Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, a Christian is the Minister of State for Petroleum, and is the Chairman of the NNPC Board, after the same person-a Christian- held the unprecedented honor of being the first and only person so far to hold the position of NNPC MD and Minister at the same time.
2. There are more Christians than Moslems in President Buhari’s cabinet, 19-17-and they hold key posts like *
Mrs Kemi Adeosun-Finance
3. Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama- Foreign Affairs
4. Pastor (Dr.) Okey Enelamah- Industry, Trade & Investments
5. Prof. Isaac Adewole- Health,
6. Senator Chris Ngige-Labour
7. Senator Udoma Udo Udoma- Budget & Planning, Science & Technology among several others.
8. Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Transportation Minister
9. His ADC- Mohammed Lawal -(President’s personal cook and driver are also Christians)
10. Pastor Femi Adesina-His Special Adviser-Media
11. Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor -kept in office by the President
12. PENCOM DG – Ms. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu -Kept in office by the President
13. DG Budget – Pastor Ben Akabueze-appointed by the President
14. Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund – Mr. Uche Orji-reappointed by the President
15. NSE Director-General – Oscar Onyema-kept in office by the President
16. DG, DMO – Dr. Abraham Nwankwo-kept in office by the President
*PLUS an overwhelming majority of positions in the country’s critical financial positions held by southern Christians, including those named by the President like the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, Dr. Babatunde Fowler
*While there are no Imams in the cabinet, the President after picking a Christian VP, also has pastors holding cabinet and other top Aso Rock positions.
*In fact, President Buhari has the highest number of Pastors in the federal cabinet ever. No less than four-the VP, SGF, Industry Minister and Niger Delta Minister. Two of the three presidential spokespersons are also pastors.
*More recently, the President has made appointments into the boards of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, and the National Communications Commission, NCC, with more Christians than Moslems. In the instance of NCC, there was another Pastor named to the Board!-Pator Ezekiel Yissa
The full NCC list shows majority Christians
1.Chairman: Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye-Christian
2.Mr. Sunday Dare-Christian
3.Aliyu Sa’idu Abubakar
4.Clement Omeiza Baiye-Christian
5.Pastor Ezekiel Yissa-Christian
6.Senator Ifeanyi Ararume-Christian
The full NDDC list shows majority Christians
1.Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba-Christian
2.Mr. Nsima Ekere-MD-Christian
6.Mene Ienyie Derek-Christian
8.Frank Samuel George-Christian
10.Sylvester Effefiom Nsa-Christian
12.Osita Bonaventure Izunaso-Christian
13.Harry Iboroma Dabibi-Christian
19.Abdul-Kazeem Kasumi Bayero
*As at June 2016, before the NDDC and NCC appointments, a cursory look at all the top CEOs and board appointments in the MDAs made by President Buhari and the existing, remaining top office-holders he did not remove, shows an equitable and very well balanced geo-political distribution:
The group also accused the President of being behind the retiring of certain military officers saying majority of them were non-Muslims. But the group failed to ask the more important and pertinent question: namely ‘whether or not those retired were considered corrupt or compromised?
They even hold the president guilty of appointments that he did not make including the Chief Justice of the Federation and other judicial positions.
Nigerians at home and abroad must rise in unison to condemn these proponents of negative, divisive and obnoxious agitations such as that being advanced by the so-called Coalition of Christian Groups (CCG).
It is pertinent to state that this group which claims to be championing the interest of non-Muslims or Christians has raised unreasonable and unjustifiable arguments in the said statement, which is a most unfair, inaccurate and distateful attack of the Buhari administration in continuation of their campaign of calumny started during the build-up to the presidential elections.
As a concerned group of Nigerian citizens, we are compelled to speak out against any group or individuals under any guise who seek to employ negative, tribal, sectional or religious rhetorics that attempt to divide and cause religious or ethnic tensions. What is crucial now is to support current efforts at addressing pressing socio-economic challenges which Nigeria is presently facing today.
The Coalition of Christian Groups (CCG) under the purported leadership of senior lawyer, Solomon Asemota, SAN, insulted Nigerians when it labelled a democratically elected President Muhammadu Buhari and his government as an Islamist Jihadists government. This is indeed an insult to all Nigerians across the 6 geo-political zones who made President Buhari their choice at the 2015 Presidential polls.
Without any modicum of truth, it posits that the government engages in “a brazen and audacious imposition of Islamist Jihadists into key positions in the country.”
To justify this claim, it selects some 48 appointments out of the more than 200 jobs currently in place at the MDAs, in order to mislead, confuse and assault people’s sensibilities. In a deliberate effort to mislead and demonize, the group simply refused to state the real facts some of which have been highlighted above.
For instance, writing mainly about recent appointments in the education sector where some of the appointments include Northerners, the group tried to suggest that the professionals referred to are unqualified to serve their fatherland, because of their tribal or religious background. This is undoubtedly myopic and shows the fallacious tendencies of their logic.
Its claim that “most functional Boards in the Civil Service are headed mostly by Muslims and Fulanis which is becoming a threat and danger to the very foundation of Nigeria” is untrue and rather absurd. How can the appointments of eminently qualified educationists like Prof. Ishaq Oloyede in JAMB threaten Nigeria’s foundation?
It is therefore pertinent to ask why this group only focuses on one or a few of the agencies like the education sector and not check others like the financial and economic sectors that is presently dominated by southerners and Christians. For instance, besides the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (Godwin Emefiele), the Chairman of FIRS, (Dr. Williams Babatunde Fowler), the DG Budget Office of the Federation and the DG, Debt Management Office (Abraham Nwankwo), to mention a few are all Christians.
It is also a verifiable fact that key constitutional parastatals are headed by Christian southerners. For instance, critical positions in the public service are headed by Christians, for example, as stated above the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal), the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (Winifred Oyo-Ita), the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (Deacones Joan Ayo) and also the Chairman of RMA&FC ( Engr. Elias Mbam) are all Christians.
If there are more Northerners or even Moslems holding top positions in the security sector, what about other sectors where the opposite is true? In any case did not the President keep former IGP Solomon Arase in office for over a year, and left the powerful Police Service Commission Chairmanship position to former IGP Mike Okiro? The number one military officer in the country today is General Gabriel Olonisakin, another pastor!
The simple truth is that in a federal system and a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like ours, you win some and loss some, no one can get it all. You give and you take!
For instance, in the ever so critical Power sector, 32 out of 38 heads & executive directors of parastatals/departments are from other tribes other than the Fulani tribe that the group tried so hard to malign. They are as follows:
1) National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) – Engr. Reuben Okeke
2) National Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) Adebayo Nathaniel Fagbemi
3) NELMCO Adaze Joy Aguele (Mrs) ED –
4) Independent Systems Operations (ISO) – V. N. Osubor
5) ISO Engr. M. Gumel E/D (System Operations)
6) ISO Engr. E. A. Ejeh E/D (Market Operations)
7) ISO Mr. M. A. Saleeman, E/D (Market Operations)
8) ISO Effiong Anyanwo (Mrs.) E/D (H R & Corp. Services)
9) ISO Engr. Nzegwu Michael, Director (Systems Ops.)
10) ISO G. Azubuike (Mrs.), Director (ICT)
11) ISO Engr. A. Alade Director, (National Control Centre)
12) ISO F. N. Obishie – Director, (TDA)
13) ISO Obiora Uzodike – Director (Corporate Planning & Public Affairs)
14 ISO Kalu Ukoha (Mr.) – Director (Compliance Audit & Control)
15) ISO Wendy Ephraim Foloughi (Mrs.) – Director (Legal & Company Sec.)
16) ISO C. Fom (Mr.), Director – (Procurement)
17) Transmission Services Provider (TSP) – Engr. T. Uwah ED (TECHNICAL)
18) TSP Engr. Romanus Amaechi Owoh ED (Project)
19) TSP S. Iroche (Mrs.), ED(F)
20) TSP Allen P. Biakpara (Mr.), Director
21) TSP Genevieve Adeniran (Mrs.), Director (Procurement)
22) TSP S. Olagunju (Mrs.) – Director (Public Affairs)
23) TSP O. Iyoha C. (Mr.) – Director (Planning & Expansion)
24) TSP Engr. O. Ezeudenna – Director (Design)
25) TSP Engr. Obajulu M. – Director (Operations & Maintenance)
26) TSP Engr. A. Tomak – Director (Lines)
27) TSP S. O. Adeoye – Director (Sub Stations)
28) TSP – C. Obalim – Director (Internal Audit)
29) Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA)- Engr. Peter Ewesor
30) Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) – Dirpka Sarma
31) Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) – Dr. Marilyn Amobi
32) Niger Delta Power Holding Company – Ag MD, Chiedu Ugbo
Similarly in the agriculture sector, 18 non-Muslim southerners superintend over government agencies, while only 8 are from the North.
Should our Moslem compatriots now also cry wolf that there is an attempt to marginalize them and Christianize the country because of all these?
INSTITUTES UNDER AGRICULTURE SECTOR – NAMES OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
1) Nat Root Crops Res. Institute, Umudike – Dr. Julius C. Okonkwo
2) Nat. Horticultural Res. Institute, Ibadan – Dr. (Mrs.) Adenike Olufolaji
3) Cocoa Res. Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan – Prof. M. Akoroda
4) Nig. Institute for Oil-Palm Res, Benin – Dr. Omorefe Asemota
5) Rubber Res. Institute of Nig. Iyanomo – Dr. Aireguamen I. Aigbodion
6) Nig. Institute for Oceanography & Marine Res, Lagos – Dr. Gbola R. Akande
7) Lake Chad Res. Institute, Maiduguri – Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji
8) Nat. Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Res. New Bussa – Dr. Nkadi Okaeme
9) Nig. Stored Products Res. Institute, Ilorin – Prof. Oba Peters
10)Nat. Cerels Res. Institute, Badeggi – Dr. Samuel Agboire
11) Institute for Agric. Res. & Training, Ibadan – Prof. J. A. Adediran
12) Nat. Animal Prod. Res. Institute, Zari – Prof. Clarence A. Lakpini
13) Fed. College of Agric. Ishiagu – Prof. (Mrsw.) Justina U. Mgbada
14) Fed. College of Agric, Akure – Dr. Samson Odedina
15)Fed. College of Agric, Ibadan – Engr. (Dr.) Babajide A. Adelekan
16)Fed. College of Animal Health & Prod. Tech, Ibadan – Dr. (Mrs.) Olufunmilayo O. Adejinmi
17)Fed. College of Freshwater Fisheries Tech. Baga – Dr. (Mrs.) Roseline Obande
18)Fed. College of Freshwater Fisheries Tech., New Bussa – Dr. Chukwukadibia Madu
It is equally important to emphasize that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to fighting corruption. We wonder how otherwise respected elites like this group can put on the cloak of ethnicity and religious bias and allow themselves to be purveyors of sectional and divisive narratives which is what our great Nigeria does not need at this material time.
We hope this group is not fighting the cause of some corrupt elites who are sabotaging every effort of the Buhari administration at repositioning Nigeria for meaningful development. As the saying goes, this may be a case of corruption fighting back.
Nigerians must therefore reject the selfish agitations of groups such as CCG, who are enemies of progress, democracy and good governance. We call on Mr. President, other elected and duly appointed leaders to stay focussed on transforming Nigeria especially at this critical period.
-A STATEMENT BY FORUM FOR UNITED NIGERIANS AGAINST DIVISIVE ELEMENTS-(FUNADE)
August 16, 2016