The quality and the undue concentration of key appointments to the North-East and exclusion of South-East are mentioned as evidence of this”, Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai in a recent 30-page memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Igbo people, Christians and Muslims alike, have not so far gotten fair shares of appointments into key positions of the federal government. This is the widespread truth in Nigeria today. The Igbo Muslims have had it worst because it has never happened in the history of Nigeria. It is as an enshrined taboo to appoint Igbo Muslim into the federal cabinet or federal government organ. I have, though, not found that in the constitution of the Nigerian state. This is the feelings of even non-Igbo compatriots who believe in participatory governance through equity and fairness in the distribution of federal positions. Though the outcries are not novel, Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai took a twist in the burning national issue in a recent 30-page memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.

However, the Presidency has continued to say that further political appointments would balance the equation. It is nearly two years the current government wrestled power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which favoured the Igbo in appointments. The Igbo are crying but specifically, the Muslims of the region have cried longer and louder to the deaf ears of Nigerian leaderships. President Muhammadu Buhari should therefore give special consideration to this segment of Nigerians. In the same vein, Nigerians including the entire Igbo nation, should consider this appeal and not rejoice for their long neglected compatriots.

It is true that the president has good intention and looks for credible people notwithstanding the perception of some Nigerians that he sees his people as the only set of credible Nigerians. The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Shehu Garba, once speaking to The Guardian newspapers, observed that appointments of ministers, heads of government departments, federal boards and ambassadors would be done categorically, thus at the end of the exercise, no part of the country will be left behind. “Our brothers and sisters and fellow countrymen should bear with the administration, as it takes measured steps towards effective governance”.

Though not half of the federal appointments have been made, the Igbo are feeling the pains of denial. But surprisingly, some members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) are happy that the Igbo are excluded in key appointments by President Buhari. Its national director of information, Uchenna Madu, in a statement in Owerri declared support for what he called “Buhari’s anti-Igbo policy”. Some prominent Nigerians are disgusted over the appointments. National Secretary of the Labour Party (LP), Kayode Ajulo decried the situation saying it was particularly worrisome when considering the manner in which the appointments have sidelined a major region of the country, the South East.

The President of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, described as unfortunate the way the appointments have been sectionalized rather than nationalized. “I am beginning to feel uncomfortable because the complaint is that the appointments are seen to be lopsided. According to him, if the Nigerian leadership truly believes in true federalism and federal character, it should spread the positions across the peoples of the nation. More so, he frowned at the conception that a particular area has the best brains in the country. “I think the government should look into that area thoroughly in as much as the President has good intentions.”

Also faulting the federal appointments, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, at a press conference in Enugu expressed worries over ignoring federal character in appointments and overlooking Ndigbo who voted and campaigned for the APC-led government. For him, no arm of government: the executive, judiciary and , no section of the armed forces or paramilitary organizations, neither the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal or Federal High Court is headed by an Igbo.

In furtherance of the efforts, a human rights group, Kingdom Human Rights Foundation (KHRF) jointly with Igbo Youth Democrats (IYD) charged the President and the National Assembly to a Federal High Court in Abuja over the appointment lopsidedness. In the suit with No, FCH/ABJ/CS/737/2015, the group is claiming that the present appointments favoured the North-east, of North-west, North-central and South-west but excluded the Igbos of the South East and therefore did not comply with the federal character principle of Nigeria. The suit instituted by Mr. Okere Nnamdi on behalf of the group, claimed that section 5 of the 1999 Constitution has been breached. Hearing in the case has been fixed for April 26 by Justice Ahmad Muhammad.

When the then Acting President Yemi Osibanjo recently visited the Imo state on strategic consultations, Governor Rochas Okorocha scowled at the marginalization of the Igbo people and regretted the shortchanging of the region on many fronts, particularly in the areas of appointments and allocation of federal government projects. His opinion was that no other group which has invested so much into Nigeria can sing the song of marginalization as much as Ndigbo has been made to sing. “We have nothing to show that we are part of the Nigerian project; neither do we have any sense of belonging in the present government at the national level,” he declared

He urged the then Acting President who he believed has the ears of the President to correct the anomalies and sought for the consideration of qualified sons and daughters of the state and region when the government gives subsequent appointments, even while lamenting that as a sacrificial lamb in the South East during the elections, his state deserved a better deal. “There is no federal government presence in the oil-producing areas, and none of our youths benefited from the Federal Government’s amnesty programme.”

By Muhammad Ajah

Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. E-mail [email protected]