I have waited in vain to hear President Buhari’s response to several charges of nepotism and corruption perpetrated in Nigeria on his watch. In at least four top federal agencies, the children/candidates of the rich and the powerful have been employed without anybody advertising vacancies as required by the civil service rules. In fact, I have read details of how slots were shared among the people in power today: one got 50 slots, another 170, and yet another 28! In each of the accused agencies, a fresh employee could earn N500, 000 per month. Conversely, jobs in the police were thrown open for the poor. In the police, a successful candidate won’t get N50, 000 per month. Another opportunity being created for the underprivileged is the government’s social intervention programme, which promises to pay graduates N23, 000 per month. Even then, one has to outshine competitors before they could be hired, a thing the children of the rich were not subjected to. As I write this, some federal agencies are employing people based on lists submitted by Senator X and Chieftain Y.
So I ask again: what has the president, who said he was allergic to corruption, said or done about these acts of corruption? Does he expect anyone, after hearing these tales, to take government seriously when it says that it’s fighting corruption? The president told traditional rulers, a few days ago, to plead with their subjects to go into farming. Would graduates listen to them?
Early in the life of the Buhari administration, I was among those who pleaded with fellow compatriots to give it time to correct some perceived mistakes. Of the first 48 appointments the president made, none came from the south-east. Today, the marginalisation of the south-east is visible even to the blind. Nor can the side-lining of northern Christians be hidden. Some of us find it difficult to talk about nepotism or tribalism, but the glaring lop-sidedness in federal appointments leaves us speechless. Why, for instance, should the entire security structure be under the control of one section in a pluralistic Nigeria? In case the president or his aides feigned ignorance of what has been trending in the social media, the charge is this: one section of the country has, under Buhari, produced the chief of army staff, inspector-general of police, minister of defence, national security adviser, minister of internal affairs, head of DSS, head of Customs, head of EFCC, head of immigration, head of the judiciary, head of the legislature, and head of the executive.
Neither the president nor his handlers have provided an explanation for these. Silence means consent? The president must not allow his most prized asset (integrity) to be washed down the drains. My friends – Muslims, Christians, pagans from the north and south – hold the same opinion: Buhari doesn’t know what to do or is being led astray.