A group for the emancipation of norther economy, Arewa Economic Forum has accused President Bola Tinubu of ethnic bias in the selection of appointees into crucial economic sectors. The forum said the appointments so far have shown that the President has special consideration for people from his south-west region, especially those with links to Lagos State.
“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,” chairman of the forum Ibrahim Shehu Yahaya said at a press conference yesterday in Abuja.
He however said it was not too late for President Tinubu to turn the corner and do the needful in upcoming appointments and crucial decisions.
The group pointed to the appointments of the minister of finance and the cordinating minister of the economy, Mr. Wale Edun; acting governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Folashodun Shonubi; minister of communications innovation and digital economy, Mr Bosun Tijani at the same the chairman of Senate committee on ICT, Afolabi Salisu, and that of House of Representatives, Adedeji Olajide Odidiomo are both from the southwest as enough pointers to the fact that the appointments are sectional.
Asked why his forum refused to raise such concern when former President Mohammadu Buhari also raised ethnic flag over competence and national spread in his appointments, Mr Yahaya simply said “Arewa Economic Forum was not established then.”
While the forum admitted that the appointees are eminently qualified for their respective positions, it however said competent hands could be found in other regions of the country to make it reflect national spread. “Competence should be the key word. It can be found in all parts of the country.”
Some agencies in the finance and ICT sectors whose chief executives were removed like the Nigeria Customs Service and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) were replaced by people from the Southwest.
There is even confusion on the recent appointment of Engr Bisoye Coker-Odusote from Lagos as acting DG NIMC, after Engr Aliyu Abubakar Aziz was asked to go on retirement leave.
The presidential directive stated that after acting for three months, Coker-Odusote would then immediately resume as substantive DG for a full tenure.
“This is curious and 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 extra three months. This is capable of setting a bad precedent in public service appointments,” Yahaya said.
The group believes that the president means well for the nation but said, the president 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 the Northerners overwhelmingly voted for him but because that is the right thing to do,” the group stated.