Nigeria is on the edge. This is a view a lot of people will agree with. This view arose from insecurity challenges and secessionist agitations to the complex but obvious corruption and general indiscipline across the country.
The governors and some people from Southern Nigeria believe that the reason why Nigeria is tilting towards disintegration is due to the absence of justice, fairness, equity and oneness. And complicit in this injustice is the president/executive. This is why the communique issued after the governors met requested that there should be a review of appointments into federal government agencies to reflect the heterogeneous nature of the country. This also implies that they believe this government’s appointments are lopsided, and in favour of one region or group (the North). This is even more interesting because seven of the 17 governors are members of the ruling APC. Of course, issues of national unity and security should transcend party lines.
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We do not have access to the data which shows all the appointments made by the Buhari administration since 2015 to ascertain the veracity of their submission, neither do we have data to show whether the more “juicy” appointments favour the North over the South.
I will assume, for the purpose of this discourse, that it is true that appointments by this government favour the Northern part of the country. Needless to say, this assumption is presently the general perception among many Nigerians, especially down in the South.
I have tried to draw a correlation between appointments made and the economic prosperity, development, or any other indices in the appointees’ host regions, states, or communities. I still see none, and I doubt if any objective inquiry would be able to establish any positive correlation. Has the appointment of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the immediate former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, made Borno safer than say Anambra? Has the position of Godwin Emiefile of the Central Bank made Delta State more economically prosperous than Kaduna or Kano states? Has the position of Adamu Adamu as education minister made Bauchi and the North more educationally developed than any Southern state? Is there even a marginal improvement?
In hindsight, not only has the perception that Northern Nigeria enjoys more from this government through appointments drawn contempt from other regions, it has done little or nothing to arrest the two main issues affecting the region: education and security. There are over three million out-of-school children in Nigeria and the North still accounts for most of the number. The North has suffered more from insecurity and its attendant impact than any other region. Even as Nigeria is touted as the poverty capital of the world, Northern states still top the chart as the highest contributor to this index. The “lopsided” appointments have done nothing to arrest this tide; leaving the region in a limbo.
Let us face it; the common man in the North is more a victim than any person in any other region of the country. While calling for the splitting of the country on the back of all of these sounds farfetched, it is important that the government at the centre takes it serious this time. There has never been this much agitation since 1970. The perception of injustice is legitimate and goes beyond opposition, patriotism or enmity. Unity will always win. Injustice or the perception of it would not.
Aliyu Sulaiman wrote from Sokoto