The Arewa Economic Forum (AEF) has accused President Bola Tinubu of what it termed ‘Yorubanisation’ and ‘Lagoslisation’ of his appointments.The Chairman of the Forum, Alhaji Ibrahim Dandakata, who expressed the displeasure of the Forum lamented that the North, which significantly contributed to the enthronement of the Tinubu government, is being left out in the Finance and ICT sectors which are crucial to economic development.
Dandakata spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at a press conference organized by the Forum to register its discontent over the seeming nepotism in some of the President’s appointments.
He added that both the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, and the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Folashodun Shonubi, are from the southwest.
The Group alleged that many of the appointments of Heads of strategic government agencies in Finance and ICT are from the southwest and also of the Lagos axis.
He said, “As you may be aware, Finance and Information Communication Technology (ICT) are crucial to the economic eldorado that the President envisions for Nigeria.
“While the Federal Ministry of Finance manages the finances of the Federation, including controlling and monitoring federal revenues and expenditures, the Federal Ministry of Communications Innovation and Digital Economy develops a knowledge-based economy and facilitates the development of the ICT industry towards increasing its contribution to GDP.
“The two ministries play greater roles in facilitating businesses, e-commerce, job creation, empowerment and increased efficiency and productivity, which are vital for economic growth and prosperity.”
“The importance of Finance and ICT sectors are such that we must be circumspect in the kind of decisions we make in those sectors.”
“As a patriotic, refined statesman who won a credible, national mandate on February 25, 2023, President Bola Tinubu has a duty to not only be fair to all parts of the country but also to be seen to be fair to all parts.”
“We have observed that the Minister of Finance and the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, and the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, are both from the southwest though we admit that they are eminently qualified for their respective positions.”
“The Minister of Communications Innovation and Digital Economy, Mr Bosun Tijani, is from the southwest and even the Chairman of Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Afolabi Salisu, and that of House of Representatives, Hon. Adedeji Olajide Odidiomo, are also from the southwest.”
The Forum’s Chairman further alleged that some Chief Executive Officers of some key government agencies and parastatals, who were northerners are gradually being replaced with Lagosians and there is the fear that more may be replaced.
“It must be added that even some agencies in the Finance and ICT sectors whose chief executives were removed like the Customs and NIMC were replaced by people from the Southwest.”
“There is even confusion on the recent appointment of Engr Bisoye Coker-Odusote from Lagos as acting DG NIMC, after Engr Aliyu Abubakar Aziz was asked to go on retirement leave.”
“The presidential directive stated that after acting for three months, Coker-Odusote would then immediately resume as substantive DG for a full tenure.”
“This is curious and unprecedented. If the President could not allow the most senior director in the Commission to act for some time, he should have instructed Madam Coker-Odusote to resume her four-year tenure immediately instead of making her enjoy extra three months. This is capable of setting a bad precedent in public service appointments.”
While commending the President for retaining some performing chief executive officers of leading agencies in Economy and Technology like Bello Hassan of NDIC and Kashifu Inuwa of NITDA, the Forum said it believes that more competent, qualified and experienced technocrats from the North can also be appointed to head crucial sectors of the economy.
He added, “There is however palpable fear that more Northerners may be recommended for removal and their replacements may take a similar pattern.”
“We are afraid to state that a situation whereby the appointees in crucial economic sectors are not only from the southwest but also connected to the Lagos axis suggests a deliberate ‘Yorubanisation’ and ‘Lagoslisation’ of the polity.”
“It is not too late for Mr. President to turn the corner and do the needful in upcoming appointments and crucial decisions.”
“We believe firmly that this President means well for our dear nation but he and his lieutenants need to understand optics as perception is reality.”
“We urge Mr. President not to yield to sectional pressure for parochial appointments and patronage on the critical sectors of our economy.”
In his appointments, changes and replacements, the Forum called on the President to be wary of actions that can send a wrong signal on his true intentions or the agenda of some of his key lieutenants.
“We expect President Tinubu to be fair, just and equitable in his decisions not only because the Northerners overwhelmingly voted for him but because that is the right thing to do,” he added.