The Nigerian federation is getting more deeply divided by the day.

Some senior lawyers have argued that actions or inactions of leaders have helped and are helping to widen ethnic cracks. A recent article by US-based Dr. Okey Ndibe has questioned the inclusiveness of the appointments being made by President Muhammadu Buhari. The ethnic knives are being pulled out once again.

Those, like Ndibe, who fear that the President is pursuing a sectional agenda through his appointments point to executive-level appointments in MDAs made so far by Mr. Buhari as evidence that the president is sidelining qualified technocrats from the southern part of the country.

The response of those who support the President’s appointments are mixed. While a few have publicly expressed worries about the skewed nature of the appointments and asked for a redress, a majority seems to agree that the appointments are lopsided but justified because this was the exact same thing that President Jonathan allegedly did while he was in office. Jonathan, according to this group, filled all MDA CEO positions with southerners and Christians, to the exclusion of northerners and Muslims.

How true is this assertion that Jonathan discriminated against persons from the north in his appointments? Below is a list of appointments by Jonathan that is usually pulled out and brandished to show that this was indeed the case. This list shows six northern persons and 32 southern persons (all of them Christians!) appointed or retained by Jonathan:
1. NIMET – Dr. Anthony Anuforom (South)
2. NNPC – Eng Andrew Yakubu (North)
3. NIMASA- Patrick Apobolokemi (South)
4. PENCOM – Mrs. Chinelo Anohu Amazu (South)
5. FERMA – Engr. Chukwu Amuchi (South)
6. DPR – Mr. George Osahon (South)
7. BOI – Ms. Evelyn Oputu (South)
8. Nig Content Dev Ag- Ernest Nwanpa (South)
9. Consumer Protection Ag – Mrs Dupe Atoki (South)
10. NCC – Engr. Eugene Juwa (North)
11. NAMA – Engr Nnamdi Udoh (South)
12. NCAA – Engr Akikuotu (South)
13. FAAN – George Uriesi (South)
14. NCAT – Capt. Chinere Kalu (South)
15. SEC – Aruma Otteh (South)
16. Sovereign Wealth Fund- Uche Orjri (South)
17. NAFDAC – Dr. Paul Orhi (North)
18. FIIRO – Dr G. N Elemo (South)
19. Maritime Academy of Nig- Oron Joshua Okpo (South)
20. Railway Corporation Engr. Seyi Sijuade (South)
21. Nigeria Tourism Dev- Mrs Sally Mbanefoh (South)
22. Budget office of the Fed. – Dr. Bright Okogwu (South)
23. Standard Organisation of Nig- Dr Joseph Odumodu (South)
24. NERDC- Prof. Godswill Obioma (South)
25. NEXIM- Mrs R.R. Orya (North)
26. NBC – Emeka Nkem Mba (South)
27. ITF- Prof. Longmas Wapmuk (North)
28. NUC – Prof Okojie (South)
29. NESREA- Mrs. N.S Benebo (South)
30. MDG office- Dr. Precious Gbenio (South)
31. Surveyor General of Nig- Peter Chigozie (South)
32. Statistician Gen. of the Fed.- Dr. Yemi Kale (South)
33. Accountant Gen. of the Fed.- Mr. Jonah Otunla (South)
34. Auditor Gen. of the Fed.- Samuel Yonongo Ukura (South)
35. NOA- Mike Omieri (North)
36. News Agency of Nig. Oluremi Oyo (South)
37. NEPC- David I. Adelugba (South)
38. NEPZA- Mr. Olugbenga Kuye (South)
39. Bureau for Pub Procurement – Emeka  Eze (South)    

We did a quick online search for appointments made by Jonathan and found 44 PERSONS FROM THE NORTHERN PARTS OF NIGERIA who were appointed or retained as CEOs of MDAs by Goodluck Jonathan.

The list comprises 35 Muslims and nine (9) Christians, as follows:
1.        NNPC,  Joseph Dawha (Christian)
2.        Nigeria Customs Service, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde (Muslim)
3.        Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Benjamin Dikki (Christian)
4.        Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Mr. Terver Gemade (Christian)
5.        Federal Inland Revenue Service, Alhaji Kabiru Mashi (Muslim)
6.        Nigerian Ports Authority, Omar Suleiman/Habib Abdulahi (Muslim
7.        Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Gimba Yaú Kumo (Muslim)
8.        INEC, Muhammadu Jega (Muslim)
9.        Petroleum Equalisation Fund, Asmau Ahmed (Muslim)
10.     Nigeria Investment Prom. Comm., Aisha Hassan-Baba (Muslim)
11.     Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba (Muslim)
12.     Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Bello Mahmud (Muslim)
13.     National Planning Comm. (NPC), Dr Kabir Kabo Usman (Muslim)
14.     NDIC,  Alh. Umaru Ibrahim (Muslim)
15.     FRCN, Alh. Ladan Salihu (Muslim)
16.     FERMA, Engr. Kabir Abdukkagu (Muslim)
17.     Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Alh. Aliyu Yelwa (Muslim)
18.     NAFDAC,  Dr. Paul Orhii (Christian)
19.     Industrial Training Fund, Alhaji Lawal Tudunwada (Muslim)
20.     Infrastructure Concession Reg. Commission, Aminu Diko (Muslim)
21.     Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh (Christian)
22.     Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Eli Jidere Bala (Christian)
23.     NASENI, Dr. Mohammed Sani Haruna (Muslim)
24.     NERFUND, Baba Miana Gimba (Muslim)
25.     NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi (Muslim)
26.     NOTAP,  Engr. Umar Buba Bindir (Muslim)
27.     National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri (Christian)
28.     NAPEP, Alhaji Muktar Tafawa Balewa (Muslim)
29.     National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Muslim)
30.     National Space Research Dev. Agency,  SO Mohammed (Muslim)
31.     National Sugar Dev. Council, (NSDC), Dr. Latif Busari (Muslim)
32.     National Teachers Institute, (NTI) Ladan Sharehu (Muslim)
33.     National Vet. Research Inst., Dr Mohammed Sani Ahmed (Muslim)
34.     Nigeria Postal Service, Mr. Ibrahim Mori Baba (Muslim)
35.     Nigerian Agric Insurance Corporation, Dr. Tijani Garba (Muslim)
36.     NIGCOMSAT, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai (Muslim)
37.     Nigerian Comm Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah (Christian)
38.     NEXIM Bank, Robert Orya (Christian)
39.     Nigerian Gas Company (NGC), Saidu Mohammed (Muslim)
40.     Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello (Muslim)
41.     Petroleum Product Pricing Reg. Agency,  Faruk A. Ahmed (Muslim)
42.     SMEDAN, Alj. Bature Umar Masari (Muslim)
43.     Voice of Nigeria, Abubakar Jijiwa (Muslim)
44.    Industrial Training Fund,  Prof. Longmas Wapmuk (Christian)  

Our Verdict 

The claims of skewed appointments by President Goodluck Jonathan – as excuse or justification for skewed appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari – cannot therefore be sustained, on the basis of the above. On the contrary, it can be argued that Jonathan appointed more Northern Muslims than Southern Christians to head the MDAs.

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