Christian Elders Forum of Northern States (NOSCEF) rising from its EXCO meeting in Kaduna on Saturday October 30, while joining the rest of Nigerians in thanking God for the country’s 61st Independence Anniversary, tasked the President Muhammdu Buhari-led Federal Government to match words with actions by doing away with every nepotistic tendency in his administration, to enhance the country’s unity.
NOSCEF in a statement signed by its Chairman, Engineer Ejoga Oyinehi Inalegwu dated Sunday October 31, 2021, described President Buhari’s Independence Day broadcast, in which he emphasized the need to unite Nigerians, as mere rhetoric if he fails to himself practice what he is preaching.
“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.
“Let him unite the nation by bringing people together through appointments, that are not based on mere relationship with him or religion or any premodial considerations but competent hands, across religious, tribal and regional divides.
“In this regard, we appeal to Mr. President to start by appointing competent indigenous Christians from his home state of Katsina into key government positions.
“He will do more in promoting unity across religious and tribal lines by appointing not just a section to key sensitive institutions (customs, inland revenue, accountant general, financial institutions etc), strategic ministries and parastatals so they can come together, work together in unity and appreciate themselves because of their capabilities and competencies that abound across the lines of division and not privileges derivable by their religion or ethnicity,” NOSCEF said.
The statement further said, “We frown at the perpetuation of 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 favored.”
The group reiterated that same goes for the security outfits; the Police, Army Air Force, Navy Prisons, Immigration, Civil Defence, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, etc, which should reflect the regional and religious diversity of the country.
“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.
“The President should preach unity in the distribution of infrastructure, in appointments to sensitive and none sensitive positions across all divides.
“For both the President and the Governors, it should be noted that that the resources due all citizens under them are held in trust for all, whether they voted at all or did not vote, whether they voted for the ruling party or not.
“Siting and distribution of projects and development should not be repayment for patronage at elections. Revenues are for the development of the entire domain of governance and should be so seen,” the group adviced.
NOSCEF emphasized that it is unfair, to on any ground, exclude states from benefiting from borrowed funds, when those states will participate in the repayment.
“Such are instruments of disunity and should be nipped in the bud.
Let us, as a nation, re-ignite our 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 etc were brought on the national stage on the basis of competence, not patronage. They, with others did us proud and we are now celebrating them on the world stage.
“Similarly, service chiefs and other security heads were appointed from across all divides, as lubricating oil of unity,” it recalled.
The group stressed that the cover-up and justification for this lopsided appointments being based on merit, “is a national insult on those we superintendent over. Competency abounds across all divides of our dear nation and no President can justify lopsided appointments on the basis of shortage of competence or integrity from any section of the country.
” Let the President address these issues with determination and singleness of mind and he will be sowing seeds for reuniting Nigeria,” they said.
They advised Buhari that it is never too late to do the right thing, by redressing past wrongs, as the results will be rewarding and the “sowing of seeds of unity and rebuilding hopeful confidence for the desired oneness of our beloved country.”
On security in Nigeria, 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.
“That will be a practical demonstration to the nation that their repentance is genuine.
We commend the war against insecurity being taken to the camps of the bandits and commend the officers and men of the Armed Forces for gallantry and the successes being recorded.
“We identify with the ongoing onslaught against all criminal elements in our society,” they said.
On the October mood of the nation, they said, “We greet our nation Nigeria as we recently celebrated 61 years as an independent nation.
We appeal to Nigerians to continue to pray for a united and progressive country.”