National Security and Buhari’s Lopsided Security Appointments, By Moses Ochonu




ABUJA (Sundiata Post) Yesterday, I put up a post about Buhari’s well known, well documented nepotistic appointments, especially but not exclusively in the security sector. I noted specifically that the composition of the security team is so thoroughly lopsided in favor of the North that they could conduct national security meetings in Hausa if they choose to.

Some intellectually challenged BMC trolls disingenuously decided to defend the indefensible. They named the Chief of Defense Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff as non-Northerners and non-Hausa speakers.

First, they took the post literally to mean that I suggested that everyone on the council could speak Hausa, a nit-picky literalism that misses the point. They obviously do not understand figures of speech.

Second, they failed to realize that by naming only two officials out of at least 14 security positions who are non-Northerners, they are actually buttressing my point. The very fact that they can easily name the non-Northerners–two of them–is proof of what I was highlighting.

They did not understand that in pointing out token exceptions (the exceptions that prove the pattern), they are substantiating Buhari’s legendary clannishness and helping me make my point.

Let me break it down for them. Here are national security positions occupied by Northerners:

1) Chief of Army Staff; 2) IGP of police; 3) NIA director; 4) National Security Adviser; 5) DSS Director; 6) Minister of Defense; 7) Minister of the Interior; 8) Commandant of Civil Defense Corp; 9) Head of Immigration; 10) Head of Customs 11. Director of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); 12) Chief of Air Staff.

So out of 14 national security positions, only two are occupied by non-Northerners, and the BMC people “have mouth” to talk.

You can say Jonathan was grossly incompetent and you will be right. But you cannot accuse him of this level of brazen, reckless nepotism–this ethno-religious insularity in disregard for our demographic diversity and our national cohesion.

Yar’Adua, was guilty of a lot of things, and was rightly criticized for populating his inner circle with Katsina people (the so-called Katsina clique), but even he was fairly ecumenical in his cabinet and security appointments.

Obasanjo is a hypocritical politician who committed multiple egregious infractions during his presidency, but you cannot accuse him of nepotism or provincialism in his appointments.

Buhari’s nepotism is not restricted to the security sector either. It permeates his entire administration and in fact first manifested in his civilian appointments, which generated and continue to generate national outrage.

In fact the most interesting part of the initial outrage was that it was very national in spread, and some of the most strident voices to critique the president’s lop-sidedly northern appointments were those of northerners.

Jaafar Jaafar was one of the first to call attention to this emerging pattern in late 2015 or early 2016 when the president began to unveil his appointments and began, for good measure, to talk about the Southeast and South-South in bellicose, angry, and condescending rhetoric instead of adopting a strategy of conciliation and inclusion. Jaafar Jaafar was prescient in seeing the dangers of the president’s provincialism and alienation of sections of the country.

Abdulaziz Abdulaziz similarly made his voice heard in this regard. Farooq Kperogi was scathing in his condemnation of these unprecedentedly parochial presidential appointments. Gimba Kakanda, too, weighed in, if my recollection is correct, as did the infectiously objective Raji Bello.

In his reaction to my post, one of the BMC trolls even asked me to “rise above hate.” This uninformed interlocutor does not even know that I have been harsher in my criticism of Buhari’s predecessors.

Leaving that aside, let me say this: you can accuse me, a Lugardian Northerner with a Christian name, of hate because you’ve made self-referential assumptions about my motives for criticizing the president’s nation-killing nepotism. You cannot, however, impeach the credibility of the northerners I mentioned above, or question their motives without sounding stupid even to your fellow BMC agents.

I know for a fact that Jaafar Jaafar hawked branded recharge cards to raise funds for Buhari’s presidential campaign in 2014/2015. And yet, even he has been consistent in his criticism of the president’s northernization of the apparatuses of the federal government.

The civilian aspect of this nepotistic regime may not do much damage, but the security and national unity implications of packing security positions with people from a single ethno-religious (Hausaphone) region are dire.

If your loyalty is to Nigeria and not to Buhari, you should be concerned because this has set a dangerous precedent, not to mention that it has widened the fissures that plague us and destroyed any residual trust between our subnational identity units.

Source: Facebook