Christopher Isiguzo, Gideon Arinze in Enugu
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday told Igbo leaders complaining of marginalisation that he tried to be fair with appointments, which he said were done based on merit.
The president was responding to complaints by the Igbo traditional rulers at the palace of Obi of Onitsha in Anambra State, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, where he had gone to campaign for re-election.
The royal fathers had alleged that the south-east states were being marginalised but the president said about five members of the federal executive cabinet are from the region.
“I think I tried to be fair. And you can ask these ministers. I never asked them how are they running their parastatals, the boards. I appointed them and I trust them. I allow them work,” he said.
“I don’t have to tell you what noise the other states are making, especially when compared to the votes I got in 2015. So, I think I try to be fair.”
“I think I tried to be fair. And you can ask these ministers. I never asked them how they are running their parastatals, the boards. I appointed them and I trust them. I allow them work.”
He said the same complaints from the South -east were also coming from other parts of Nigeria, insisting that they did not reflect the truth.
“Those of you who were in the military even in the Biafran Army, know that the entry point is the same and you go for basic training, until you go to your formations or institutions whether it is army, navy, air force or the police. The most competent or senior person is the one that gets there.”
On appointment of service chiefs, Buhari said; “If there are half a million soldiers, only one man can be the Chief of Army Staff at a time. This is so for the rest of the troop.
“In recruitment, we make sure that by states, people are recruited. At least, this is what I do; people are recruited from each state. For those who manage to get recruited, it’s up to them to get to the top if they are professional and work for it.
“The present Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff – even the previous Inspector-General of Police that just left, I didn’t know them personally before I appointed them. I follow records.
“The same thing with the IG, that one was appointed last week. I don’t think I have ever seen him, I follow records. So, appointments in the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies depend on individual performance after recruitment not where you think you come. At least between me and God, this is what I do.”