From Raji Bello, Sokoto
National President of Concerned Nigerian Citizens, a Civil Society group, Comrade Suleiman Magaji, has called on the National Assembly to reject the nominee of the Federal Character Commission for the post of chairmanship.
Magaji stated this in a press statement made available to newsmen, in which he described the call as a critical national consensus which should be respected by all well meaning Nigerians starting from the Senate.
According to Magaji, “It is uncalled for the North to have a Chairman from North (Kwara) and Secretary from the North (Taraba) in violation of Section 4 of the subsidiary legislation which states: ‘Where the number of positions available cannot go round the states of the Federation or the Federal Capital, the distribution shall be on zonal basis. But in the case where two positions are available, the positions shall be shared between the northern and southern zones”.
Magaji maintained that it has always been the tradition that Chairman and Secretary are from the North and South respectively, adding that “for same reason past governments, Obasanjo and Jonathan, had appointed Northerners as Chairmen and Southerners as Secretaries.
“When Mr. President appointed Mohammed Bello Tukur, the Legal Adviser of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) as the Secretary of the Federal Character Commission, many thought it was to pave way for the first Southern Chairman of the Commission. But that was not to be.
“Instead in a rather brazen act, the penultimate Ag, Chairman, Mallam Shettima, rather than handover to a Southern Commissioner, handed over to the Secretary of the Commission in violation of the Commission’s Act”.
Comrade Magaji posited that the President, in violation of Chapter two of the Constitution, aptly named Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy that provides in Section 13.
“It shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter of this Constitution’”, has appointed a Chairman in violation of the spirit and letters of the laws.
“In the same Chapter two of the Constitution, S.14(3) expressly mandates that, ‘The composition of the government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner, as to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies.
“However, former substantive chairman Prof Shaibu Abdulraheem Oba (Tailba Ilorin) is from Kwarra State and the newly nominated chairman Dr. Muheeba Farida Dankaka, is also from Kwarra State”.
Magaji noted that the government’s actions has no doubt violated one of the most ingenious and ambitious affirmative actions entrenched in the constitution to promote national unity uniquely named Federal Character.
“This is a critical national consensus and it should be resisted and rejected by all well meaning Nigerians starting from the Senate. The seeds of national discord has been systematically sowed over the past five years and should be halted.