The League of Patriotic Nigerians (LPN) has condemned the persistent sidelining of the Southeast region in appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari, citing the recent appointment of Dr. Folasade Omolara Yemi-Esan as substantive Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
A statement titled: ‘Head of Service: Again, Buhari scorns South East’, issued by the LPN on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the development “fits into the president’s disdain and utter contempt for peoples of the South East”.
The statement was signed by LPN’s Convener, Okonkwo James; and Secretary, Isah Pai.
They argue that the President has failed to give a sense of belonging to all sections of the country as required by the Constitution, which could diminish some people’s loyalty to the government.
The group, which preferred that a new Head of Service was appointed from the East, therefore, demanded that Yemi-Esan, should not be sworn into office on Wednesday as planned.
According to LPN, “while we hold nothing against Dr. Yemi-Esan, it is unfortunate and grossly insensitive that the president could ignore strident calls to give a sense of belonging to all Nigerians especially a critical stakeholder as the South East.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the provisions of the 1999 Constitution in Sections 14 (3) and 153 are clear on inclusion and non-segregation of any part of Nigeria in the federal system.
“The sections specifically center on the creation of the Federal Character Commission, FCC. One of the duties of the commission, as prescribed by the law that set it up, is to work out an equitable formula, subject to the approval of the president, for the distribution of all cadres of posts in the civil and public service of the federation and of the state, the armed forces, the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies, corporate bodies owned by the federal or a state government and extra-ministerial departments and parastatals of the federation and states.
“But today, there is no sign of any south easterner, Igbo in particular, heading any of the core career or political posts in the country.
“We are constrained to ask; what is the offence of the Igbo man or woman in Nigeria? What the president ought to do is to have appointed a south easterner to the position of Head of Service. The zone does not lack people of requisite knowledge, capacity and competencies to be Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
“In the spirit of inclusion, equity and equality, we demand unequivocally, the rescinding the announcement of Dr. Yemi-Esan as Head of Civil Service of the Federation and a civil servant of Igbo extraction be announced.
“Let it be known that the composition of government or any of its agencies at this time does not in any way reflect the federal character of Nigeria and neither does it promote national unity, and or command national loyalty.
“It is important to state that since Engineer Ebele Ofunneke Okeke was appointed by the late President Umar Musa ‘Yar’adua on July 12, 2007 as the first female Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the Southeast has been shut out. And this is unfortunate.
“It is our request that Dr. Yemi-Esan should not be sworn-in on Wednesday so that the famed tripod of Nigeria will not have a broken leg. To continue in this direction demonstrates that the actions of Mr. President does not command national loyalty.”