Obasanjo lashes out at Buhari again accusing him of bias when it comes to security appointments

FORMER president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has launched another scathing attack against the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari accusing him of abandoning Nigeria's federal character with regards to the appointment of security chiefs.


Over the last week, the Nigerian political space has been charged after Chief Obasanjo asked President Buhari not to stand for election in 2019 as his government has failed the country. In a 13-page open letter, the former president accused President Buhari of not delivering on the economy and failing to provide security in the light of the ongoing campaign of terror by heavily armed Fulani cattle herdsmen.


Yesterday, Chief Obasanjo followed this up with further criticism, pointing out that the overwhelming majority of President Buhari's appointments into security portfolios were from the northern half of the country. Speaking in the Ogun State capital Abeokuta yesterday, Chief Obasanjo also criticised the National Assembly and the Federal Character Commission for failing to check the excesses of the president in the uneven distribution of public offices.


He stressed that the ethos of nation building through the even distribution of public offices had been abused under the current administration. Nigeria's federal character formula was introduced to ensure that all parts of the country are equally represented in appointments but at the moment, apart from the chief of defence staff and the chief of naval staff, all other senior security chiefs are from northern Nigeria.


Chief Obasanjo said: “Let me emphasise important areas, programmes, priorities or processes for improved attention. To start with, we seem to have taken nation building for granted but nation building must be given continued attention to give every citizen a feeling of belonging and a stake in his or her country.


“For instance, the federal character principle, as espoused in our constitution, was to guide the leadership to search for competent holders of major offices to be distributed within the entire nation and avoid concentration in a few ethnic hands or geographical places, as we currently have in the leadership of our security apparatus. To avoid such non-integrative situation, we have the National Assembly and the Federal Character Commission, both institutions which must raise the alarm or call for correction of actions by the executive that violates the spirit of our constitution.”


At the moment, the heads of the Nigerian army, air force, police, Department of State Security, prison service, Customs & Excise and intelligence agencies, as well as the national security adviser are all northerners. Many of President Buhari's critics have pointed out that this is responsible for his administration's partisan approach to addressing the Fulani herdsmen crisis.