The prominent civil Rights Advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has stated that by the nepotistic appointment of his tribesman, Professor Ibrahim Gambari as his chief of staff (COS), President Muhammadu Buhari has diminished his status as a statesman and a Nationalist.
HURIWA also criticised the appointment of Ibrahim Gambari into public office when the same man was a minister when most Nigerians now were not born about four decades ago.
The Rights group said the choice of the Chief of staff Ibrahim Gambari who is almost 80 years of age shows that President Muhammadu Buhari loves gerontocracy rather than democracy under which he was elected.
In a media statement by the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media affairs director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was unfortunate that for five years, Mr. President has been consistent and has indeed ramped up his soft spot and his passion for always and often picking his tribesmen/women and religious associates from the north into strategic national offices since the last five years.
HURIWA also affirmed that with the rash of appointments into the federal character Commission (FCC) and the police Trust fund ( PTF ) in which northern Muslims are nominated as chairmen and executive secretaries , it is now clear that contrary to the widely held belief that it was the late chief of staff to the president Abba Kyari that was to be blamed for sectional appointments made since the last five years, the President himself is directly responsible for these appointments that are in breach of the federal character principles enshrined in the constitution.
HURIWA cited section 14 ( 3) of the Nigerian constitution of 1999 as amended that states thus:
“The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies”.
HURIWA said too that: “The demise of the immediate past Chief of staff Abba Kyari was seen by some observers as the end of nepotism and sectionalism in the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration because those accusing the then powerful Chief of staff from Borno State assumed that as someone who belonged to the infamous KADUNA MAFIA, and had lived in Kaduna metropolis which is the centre of Pro-northern politics, that he was instrumental to the heavily biased pro-northern appointments made by the current administration since the past five years.
“But now with these many appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari made after the demise of the Chief of staff, it has manifested clearly that President Muhammadu Buhari is personally responsible for these one sided strategic appointments given to the North. Ibrahim Gambari is Fulani.
“That the President does not even trust a Southerner as his Chief of Staff shows that the much touted legacy that Muhammadu Buhari is a nationalist and a statesman is at best a ruse and a propaganda “.
HURIWA stated that the first public comments by the newly appointed Chief of Staff Ibrahim Gambari that he is not answerable to Nigerians but to the President has shown the danger of nepotism and favouritism in making national appointment in a complex society like Nigeria.
“It is therefore a closed matter for Nigerians to expect any quality public service from a man who tells the citizens not to expect accountability and openness from him whilst he holds a publicly funded office.”
HURIWA recalled that when asked what Nigerians should expect from him as Chief of Staff, Gambari told reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja: “We have not started. I’ll have to find out. I don’t report directly to the nation, I report to the president.”
He said he would be offering his “loyalty, competence and support” to the president, adding that as the chief of staff, his guiding principle would be “to serve the president to the best of my ability.”
HURIWA said these responses are saddening and show that Nigerians will not get any qualitative or quantitative public service from the current Chief of Staff.