By Nimi Princewill.
The nature of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointments have been frequently criticized by observers who consider it to be bereft of the federal character principle as he allegedly favors only the North. However, this popular belief appears to contradict evidence.
A classified document which chronicles all high profile political appointments made by President Buhari since he came into office in 2015, implies that the appointments have been balanced.
The document entitled: “Compilation of political appointees, heads of parastatals and agencies” and “Portfolios of ministers, special advisers, senior special assistants and special assistants to the President”, was last updated in December 2018.
Analysis of the document reveals that:
“Between 2015 and 2018, the North-Central topped the number of appointments in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) with 102 appointees, while the South-West came second with 101 appointees, which gives the two zones 35 per cent or 203 of the 567 appointments made.
The South-South came third with 99 appointments, ahead of the North-West, which came fourth with 94. The North-East followed with 93, and the South-East is least with 78.
In the North-Central, Kogi topped with 22 appointees, followed by Kwara with 21, and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja got the least with two appointees.
Ogun topped in the South-West and countrywide with 31 appointees, more than the MDA appointments for three North-West states – Kebbi 13; Zamfara 7; and Sokoto 6 – combined.
President Buhari’s home state Katsina, topped the North-West appointments with 24, while Kaduna and Kano each got 16; and Jigawa, 12. Although, the South-East was bottom, Imo State had the third highest number of MDA appointments countrywide with 29 appointees, while Anambra had 20; and Abia 14. Enugu and Ebonyi had 8 and 7 respectively.”
Further analysis disclose that:
“The percentage in executive management appointments in MDAs, show 51 per cent in favour of the 19 Northern states, and 49 per cent in favour of the 17 Southern states. And 124 high profile political appointments comprising special advisers, senior special assistants, and special assistants to the president were made out of which 59 were from the Northern region and 65 were from the South. This number excludes 36 ministers who are statutorily appointed one each from a state.”
President Buhari’s government has been hotly chastised for being lopsided in appointments. With the North producing the heads of the three arms of government, and currently leading the focal point of virtually all the security agencies in the country, the president hasn’t been given a fair trial in the court of public opinion.
As many believe that a particular section of the country is better positioned for “attractive” appointments, the presidency can at least beat its chest in satisfaction, that of the 567 executive appointments in MDAs, 220 or 39 percent were from states where Buhari lost to Jonathan.