A coalition of Civil Societies Organisation in Osun State has berated President Muhammadu Buhari for what its described as the ‘non-federal nature’ of the federal character commission, demanding an end to a lopsided appointment in the commission.
Addressing a press conference at the Nigeria Union Journalists, Osun council secretariat in Osogbo on Friday, on behalf of the coalition, Comrade Wole Oladapo said the constitutional infraction perpetrated by the present administration must be redressed as the tenure of the commission’s secretary runs to an end”
He said, “As the tenure of the secretary of the Federal Character Commission, Alhaji Muhammad Bello Tukur ends next week, having been appointed substantially in March 2017; President Muhammadu Buhari is called upon to redress the constitutional infraction in the commission by appointing another person from Southern Nigeria as the substantive Secretary of the FCC”
“This call becomes imperative to prevent the perpetuation of another aberration and imbalance in the distribution of political appointments in Nigeria in the spirit of peaceful coexistence, natural justice and respect of the nation’s diversity which is the fulcrum of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, (section 14 (3).
“Of particular interest is the development at the Federal Character Commission, FCC where both the chairman and secretary are from the North; (Kwara and the Taraba States) respectively. Many Civil society groups and pan-cultural associations protested this infraction on the constitution of Nigeria then, but expectedly, the calls fell on deaf ears”
The Federal Character Commission, according to Section 153(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended is meant to be the custodian of the principle of federal character and is mandated to ensure compliance with this principle by all federal agencies, departments and parastatals in Nigeria. Hence, charity should ordinarily begin from the home of the commission by respecting the provision of the law and appoint its Secretary from the Southern part of Nigeria”
“Further, Section of the FCC subsidiary legislation provides thus: “where the number of positions available cannot go round the states of the Federation of the Federal Capital, the distribution shall be on Zonal basis. But in the case of where two positions are available, the positions shall be shared between the northern and southern zones.”
Since the creation of the commission in 1996, the tradition has always been the Chairman from the North and Secretary from the South respectively. The administrations of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Umar Ya’adua and Doctor Goodluck Jonathan adhered to this strictly”
“Nigerians will recall that at the time of appointing the present Chairman of the commission, a Pan cultural group, Afenifere protested the imbalance and a letter to that effect were submitted to the Senate, but the injustice had its way then”
Alas, in the present administration, Nigerians of good conscience have observed and consistently drawn attention to the inequitable imbalance in appointments into the various agencies, departments and parastatals of the federal government, notwithstanding the obstinate response of the president, Mohammadu Buhari”
“We hereby call the attention of the Nigerian Senate to ensure the executive’s total compliance with the Federal character commission act as demanded during the screening and the subsequent confirmation of the present Chairman of the commission”
“We call on Nigerian men and women of good conscience to join us in the fight against injustice and non-federal character of the Federal character commission. Lastly, we call on President Muhamadu Buhari to seize this golden opportunity to prove his commitment to equity, fairness and justice for all in Nigeria. It is hoped that this call will not again be ignored, for such injustice has continued to deepen divisions and fuel suspicions among Nigerians”.