Southeast Professionals Call On Buhari To Settle Federal Character Imbalance, Address Insecurity/Ethnic Tensions
By Samuel Ohwovoriole
Concerned Nigerians under the auspices of Coalition of South East Professionals Network in Nigeria and Diaspora (CSEPNND), have tasked President Muhammadu Buhari on the urgent need to ensure the application of the federal character principle in appointments into sensitive positions.
The group stated this in a statement it issued on Tuesday, where its National Coordinator, Prof. Chika Madumere, warned against the grave danger of treating any ethnic nation as second-class, noting that the consequence of such may be too grave to contemplate in the long run.
CSEPNND is a group of very responsible South East professionals with the primary objective of ensuring the inviolability and indissolubility of Nigeria.
According to the group, the framers of the 1999 Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), did not include the federal character principle as a decorative item, but rather a mandatory requirement for the sustainability of the nation’s unity and corporate existence.
“As a group of educated and informed Nigerians, we are aware that the Federal Character Principle is a fundamental aspect of our national life, especially owing to its proportionate representative nature in appointments into public offices.”
The body urged the President not to disregard the law on federal character. “Alas, we are witnesses to how our dear President Buhari, a man known for discipline and professionalism, has applied that extant law in the breach, because of some misinformation available to him from some enemies of Igbos, and we say this without any fear of contradiction.
The group maintained that at all material times, the President and other leaders who occupy positions of authority, must ensure that the tripod upon which Nigeria stands – Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo – is reflected in appointments into public offices, saying that development will ease tension in the polity.
Specifically, the South East professional group recalled that sometime in July, 2015, when President Buhari assembled his team of Service Chiefs, upon assumption of office on May 29 of the same year, no officer of Igbo extraction was considered worthy of inclusion.
The group further placed on record the fact that other appointments made by the President into the leadership’s of security, intelligence as well as para-military agencies, were devoid of any consideration for the South East.
The group said they were compelled to issue this statement after the January 26 appointment of new Service Chiefs, which like others, had no senior officer from the South East.
Consequently, they have noted that no multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation, survives what they described as “bare-faced alienation and marginalisation” for too long.
They have, therefore, in the interest of justice and fairness, appealed for the immediate review of appointment of military heads, to reflect geo-political balancing.
In the face of the discontent that has attended the perceived sidelining of the Igbo in the scheme of things, however, the coalition sued for calm, while urging Ndigbo not to lose faith in the sanctity of the Nigerian project.
Apart from seeking the review of appointments, the South East professionals also underscored the urgency in a nationwide address by President Buhari, amidst the growing tension in parts of the country, arguing that doing so will calm frayed nerves.
“As a South East group with membership from within and outside the country, we have the ultimate mandate to rise in defence of the Igbo nation, in times of need, as doing otherwise will amount to dereliction of moral duty,” he said
The group stated that, “As a professional group with interest in the South East, we dare say that the Igbo nation is an equal partner in national affairs, and must be so regarded, notwithstanding whatever biases or prejudices anyone or group may hold against the race.
“It is in recognition of the egalitarian nature of modern society, which Nigeria proudly belongs, that we humbly appeal for an urgent review of the recent assemblying of military heads, to incorporate the interest of the South East.”
The group used the opportunity to call on the President to address the nation on the current insecurity and ethnic tension s. “We will not conclude without appealing to Mr. President to, in the interest of national unity, peace, security and order, make a national broadcast, in a bid to douse the rising ethnic tension which, by all means, is tilting towards a crescendo.
The professionals alleged that never has the interest of the South East geo-political zone been so blinking in national equation, than under the current administration of President Buhari.
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