Ita Enang Explains Buhari’s Appointments For The South, Says Its Unfair To Criticise Him
Ita Enang, senior special assistant (SSA) to the president on national assembly matters (senate), says it is unfair to accuse President Muhammadu Buhari of lopsidedness in terms of appointments.
Buhari has distanced himself from nepotism, vowing not to marginalise any section in the country.
However, the discussions on pro-north appointments were rekindled following the announcement of Maikanti Baru as group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Reacting to this, Enang defended the president, saying Buhari has followed the principle of federal character in all appointments.
The presidential adviser said his boss considers merit before picking people, adding that Buhari has selected capable hands from the southern part of the country.
Enang was speaking on Wednesday in Abuja at a reception organised by Akwa-Cross Association in the Public Service.
“He (Buhari) has given us the chief of naval staff, a very high-ranking officer in the federal security council,” he said.
“He has given us the minister of budget and then, my humble self as the senior special assistant on national assembly matters. He has also given us the minister of Niger Delta affairs.
“In the entire south-south region, he gave us minister of transportation in charge of about three ministries merged together. He also gave us the minister of petroleum.
“When I see people trying to incite others against the president over matters of appointment, I conclude that they are being unfair.”
Enang said despite the president’s tight schedule, he had visited some states in the south-south to inaugurate projects.
He added that Buhari had visited Cross River State to inaugurate construction of the international super highway from Cross River to Cameroon and other countries in West and Central Africa.
“President Buhari also provided N6 billion to dualise the road from Calabar to Itu, enroute Ikot Ekpene, to Aba in Abia state,” he said.
“Also, contracts for Calabar-Lagos rail project which will take off from Calabar enroute Aba, has been signed.”
On alleged lopsidedness in the ambassadorial list recently submitted to the senate for confirmation, Enang said the issue was being addressed.
Also speaking, Winifred Oyo-Ita, head of civil service of the federation, said insinuations that the president unduly favoured a section of the country in appointments were wrong.
She said that the appointments so far made by the president were based on merit and competence.
“President Buhari allows competence and merit to be brought to the fore in his appointments and we are very happy about that,” she said.
“A door way has been opened for appointments based on merit. If it could happen to me, it could equally happen to anyone else.
“As civil servants, go ahead, do the best you can. When you continue to put in your best, you excel on your jobs and duties. You may not know who is taking note of you.
“At a point in time in the future, somebody would single you out and you would wonder who recommended you. So, let us continue to excel and practice the fear of God.”
Usani Uguru, minister of Niger Delta affairs, said appointments were not made on the basis of region as believed by some Nigerians but based on number of states in the country.
“The north has 19 states and federal character has provisions for states and not regions,” he said.
“Therefore, until we carry out that analysis, there would be no authentication to claims that thenNorth is being favoured in terms of appointments than the south.
“Nigeria is not configured on the basis of north and south; it is configured on the basis of states as entrenched in the constitution.”
Uguru also debunked claims that attacks on oil facilities carried out by the Niger Delta Avengers were as a result of lopsided appointments.
“We are continually engaging the youths in various ways and participating in other activities to assuage the situation,” he said.
“We are persistent in persuasion, advising government and following up on the programmes that should be of productive engagement to the youths.”