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|Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari, Gcfr By Chief (dr.) E. K. Clark by ogododo: 10:19pm On Jun 12, 2020|
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR
By Chief (Dr.) E. K. Clark, OFR, CON
LET US CALL A SPADE, A SPADE!
Let me, begin by, expressing earnest gratitude and appreciation to Mr. President, for congratulating me, both on my 92nd and 93rd Birthday anniversaries. I deeply cherish the thoughtful gesture, and the kind remarks. As Mr. President, rightly stated in the two congratulatory messages, I have rendered over 70 years of my life to the service of this country, starting from the age of 19. And it pleased the Almighty God to keep me up to this age, and in sound health. Accordingly, as long as, I live, I will continue to work for the good of this country, in any way, I find it possible.
It is in that light, and in view of recent worrisome developments, that I am writing this letter to Mr. President on Democracy Day. The message herein, is a message of truth; encapsulating my thoughts, as well as, the feelings, dissentions, and remonstrations, of the people of the South South Geopolitical Zone, that I have been continuously inundated with.
I have to state it, unequivocally, the way it is, for the sake of posterity, and in the interest of peace, unity, and progress of our dear country, Nigeria.
And the truth, Mr. President, is that the South South Geopolitical Zone have not been treated fairly, by your administration, despite our contribution to the economy of the country. Let us call a spade, a spade!
For reasons unknown to me, we have continued to witness discriminative, and unjust actions, against people of South South Extraction, under presidency, in the last five years.
Why is it that people, particularly from the South South Zone, are being treated as if they are not Nigerians, as if they are foreigners, or as if they are second class Citizens, in their own country.
Situations, whereby, people due confirmation for their positions, are being removed, and replaced with people from particular parts of the country, is not right.
And the situations are getting too many. We are all Nigerians; we are entitled to be appointed to any position. If our people are not qualified, it is a different matter.
Discrimination is a danger to any society, particularly, a plural society like ours.
The recent events in the United States of America, over the ill-treatment meted to Afro-Americans; and the “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations across America, and around the world, should be a lesson to Nigeria; no nation is an island to itself.
Mr. President, about two weeks ago, Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (Rtd), former Military Governor of Kaduna State, wrote a similar letter to you. The gentleman, pertinently and rightly, drew your attention to the imbalances in your appointments, and warned of the dire consequences, to the nation when he said “I regret that there are no kind or gentle words to tell you that your skewed appointments into the office of the Federal Government, favouring some and frustrating others, shall bring ruin and destruction to the nation”.
Colonel Umar’s perspective is very correct. But, instead of giving conscientious considerations to the issues raised by the retired Colonel, what we saw, were unguarded utterances against him, by some of your aides, and partisan loyalists. That was very sad and unfortunate.
Today, it seems, the only qualifications for appointment in the federal civil service or public service, under your administration, are religion or ethnicity.
Let me highlight, a few of the recent puzzling, and embarrassing, actions of Mr. President, which many have termed, targeted exclusion of the South South from TOP MANAGEMENT POSITIONS in critical sectors of the nation’s Public and Civil Service.
*Replacement of Acting Director General of Security and Exchange Commission, SEC*
Mrs. Mary Uduk, acted as Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), for over two years, but Mr. President did not deem it fit to confirm her as substantive Director General of SEC. It will be recalled that this lady, from Akwa Ibom State, was appointed as acting Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission, by the former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, following staff reshuffling in the agency, in March 2018.
In view of her track record of service, many in the sector, had expected that she would be confirmed as substantive Director General of the apex stock regulatory body. But, Mr. President, thought otherwise, and instead, replaced her with Lamido Yuguda, a retired staff of Central Bank of Nigeria, somebody from the North, who was a Commissioner working under her in the Commission.
This is a very glaring instance, of the discrimination and unfair treatment against the people of the South South, we have been talking about.
This woman has been part of the system; she has been at SEC for over thirty years. Why should she be treated that way? Was she found wanting in the discharge of her duties and responsibilities as Acting Director General?
*Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)*
Again, is the case of Mrs. Azuka Azinge. Mrs. Azinge who had worked at the CAC for about 10 years was appointed acting Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for about 2 years. Rather than confirming her appointment, charges were brought against her before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), that she maintains a domiciliary account, and that she was paid salaries and allowances which she was not entitled to, in an acting capacity, despite the fact the payments were approved by the Board of the Commission.
In a manner unknown to extant laws, the Code of Conduct Tribunal “ordered the Minister for Trade & Industries to appoint a replacement for Mrs. Azinge”. In compliance to this “order” a letter dated 7th January, 2020, issued by the Minister of Trade & Industries, to Alhaji Garba Abubakar, from Bauchi State, who was a principal Manager and former Special Adviser to the former Registrar-General, appointing him the Registrar-General of the Commission. The whole essence of the case was to ridicule Mrs. Azinge, a South-Southerner from Delta State, and get her out of office, for a Northerner to take over.
*Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA*
Another worrisome appointment by Mr. President is that of the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Dr. Dakuku Peterside from Rivers State was appointed DG of the Agency, in 2016, his term expired this year, he was not re-appointed.
Unknown to, and without the input of the Minister of Transportation, under whose charge the Agency operates, Mr. President, appointed a Northerner, Bashir Jamoh, from Kaduna State, who was an executive director at the Agency, to replace Dr. Dakuku Peterside. Mr. Bashir Jamoh, is reportedly, a father-in-law to one of your aides.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman, also from Kaduna State, was reappointed for another four years. The two agencies, NPA and NIMASA, are parastatals under the same Federal Ministry of Transportation. Hadiza Bala Usman of NPA, from Kaduna State, was reappointed for another four years, whereas, Dakuku Peterside from Rivers State, was not re-appointed. Worst still, replaced with a Northerner. What could be the logic behind this?
Predictably, just a few days ago, Mr. President, renewed the appointment of the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, which was done expressly, without any hullabaloo. Apparently, because he is from the Northern part of the Country.
It is consequential, Mr. President, to further highlight that, we are yet to see a situation where Northerners have been removed and replaced with Southerners, like it was done in the case of NIMASA, and several other Agenencies.
These situations give credence to suggestions of a Northernizing agenda of the Nation’s public service, by your administration; sacrificing merit, competency, sector experience, and geographical spread, at the altar of nepotism.
*The Situation in the Petroleum Industry*
Let me remind Mr. President, of what played out at the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, of the Ministry of Petroleum, last year. The man who was Director there, Mordecai Baba Ladan, from the North, attained the retirement age of 60 years in June, 2017, but he was retained till December, 2019. When he eventually left, consistent with the tendencies of your administration, Sarki Auwalu, also from the North, was appointed to that position. I was made to understand that, Mr. Auwalu, who was an Assistant Director, was appointed Director of the key regulatory Department, ahead of eight Deputy Directors.
While, in the same petroleum industry, Roland O. Ewubare, who is from the South South, was moved from NAPIMS as Managing Director last year, another person from South South was not appointed to replace him. Rather, a Northerner was used to replace him, perhaps, because NAPIMS, like DPR, is said to be one of the strategic subsidiaries of the NNPC.
Interestingly, on the other hand, when Roland O. Ewubare, was earlier, moved from Integrated Data Services Limited, he was replaced with someone from South South, in the person of Diepriye Tariah. I understand, Mr. Tariah, recently, disengaged from the service, and another South South person has been appointed to replace him.
So it seems to me, there are positions in NNPC, reserved for people from the South South, and there are some other positions reserved for people from the Northern zone. Why the discrimination, and seeming snobbery?
Space, and time, will not allow me, to exhaust the appalling injustices against the South South people, in the Oil and Gas industry alone.
Mr. President will recall that I have written several Letters, both open and otherwise, to you on these issues.
While our resources are being managed, and subjugated, mainly by people from other parts of the country, the people of the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta, who bear the brunt of degradation, arising from the oil and gas exploratory activities, receive mere soupçons, and are rendered spectators of the oil business.
Recently, the House of Representatives passed a Motion that the unusual deaths of humans and fishes in Bayelsa and Rivers States, possibly caused by oil pollution, should be investigated. These situations cannot be allowed to continue.
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