The Arewa Economic Forum (AEF) has drawn the attention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to what it termed ‘Yorubanisation’ and ‘Lagoslisation’ of his appointments.
According to the socio-cultural pressure group, most of the persons President Tinubu has appointed as Heads of strategic government agencies in Finance and ICT are from the southwest and also of the Lagos axis.
Chairman of the Forum, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Dandakata, expressed displeasure over the fact that the North, which significantly contributed to the enthronement of the Tinubu government, is being left out in the Finance and ICT sectors which are crucial to economic development.
He added that both the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, and the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, are from the southwest.
Dandakata spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at a press conference organized by the Forum to register its discontent over the seeming nepotism in some of the President’s appointments.
He said that it is even regrettable that some Chief Executive Officers of some key government agencies and parastatals, who are northerners are gradually being replaced with Lagosians and there is the fear that more may be replaced.
He said: “As a patriotic, refined statesman who won a credible, national mandate on February 25, 2023, President Bola Tinubu has a duty to not only be fair to all parts of the country but also to be seen to be fair to all parts.
“The Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, and the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, are both from the southwest and we admit that they are eminently qualified for their respective positions.
“The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Mr. Bosun Tijani, is from the southwest and even the Chairman of Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Afolabi Salisu, and that of House of Representatives, Hon. Adedeji Olajide Odidiomo, are also from the southwest.
“We have now found that even some agencies whose chief executive officers were removed like Customs and NIMC have been replaced by people from the southwest,” he said.
The Forum however commended the President for retaining some outstanding northerners who are doing very well in Finance and ICT sectors, adding that the North has more capable hands who can equally help him fulfill his economic agenda.
“We must commend the President for retaining some performing chief executive officers of leading agencies in the Economy and Digital world from the North like Bello Hassan of NDIC and Kashifu Inuwa of NITDA who are making the nation proud by their outstanding performances.
“We also wish to thank Mr. President for not yielding to pressure to remove the performing officers, and calling on him to also appoint similar competent, qualified, experienced, and result-oriented personalities from the North and elsewhere to head other vital agencies,” the chairman added.
He however expressed the fear that some of these outstanding northerners could be removed and replaced with Lagosians, cautioning that this will not augur well for the economy and the fragile unity of the country.
“There is however palpable fear that more Northerners may be recommended for removal and their replacements may take a similar pattern.
“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.
“In his appointments, changes and replacements, we call on the President to be wary of actions that can send a wrong signal on his true intentions or the agenda of some of his key lieutenants,” the Chairman argued.
He gave the example of how the leadership of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) was changed recently, saying it is capable of setting a bad precedent.
“For example, the President last week directed the immediate past Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr Aliyu Abubakar Aziz, to vacate office and proceed on terminal leave and in his place he appointed Engr Bisoye Coker-Odusote as acting DG.
“But in the same directive, the President asked her to continue as substantive DG immediately after acting for three months. Many found this curious as it is actually unprecedented. If the President could not allow the most senior director in the Commission to act for some time, he should have instructed Madam Coker-Odusote to resume her four-year tenure immediately instead of making her enjoy an extra three months. This is capable of setting a bad precedent in public service appointments.
“It is not too late for Mr. President to turn the corner and do the needful in upcoming appointments and crucial decisions.
“We believe firmly that this President means well for our dear nation but he and his lieutenants need to understand optics as perception is reality.
“We urge Mr. President not to yield to sectional pressure for parochial appointments and patronage on the critical sectors of our economy.
“In his appointments, changes, and replacements, we call on the President to be wary of actions that can send a wrong signal on his true intentions or the agenda of some of his key lieutenants.
“We expect President Tinubu to be fair, just, and equitable in his decisions not only because Northerners overwhelmingly voted for him but because that is the right thing to do,” the Chairman concluded.