Despite many complaints from Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari placed northerners in strategic positions in his government at the expense of other zones in the country, the spokesman for the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, has expressed dissatisfaction over Buhari’s government, saying that his administration has been short-changing the region.
This is strongly in opposition to the claims of the people of the south-east and south-south regions who believe that hey have been most side-lined by the present government and as a result, had engaged in various agitations.
Professor Ango Abdullahi stated this while speaking during a programme on Liberty Radio Hausa in Kaduna state, alleging that the north is not represented as it ought to be in Buhari’s government. He went on to say that besides not being properly represented, the president has also not helped the northern region with regards to the distribution of capital projects in the 2016 budget.
According to him, Buhari enjoyed massive votes from the people of the north not because he was part of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but because the region wanted to ensure that former President Goodluck Jonathan was sent out for going back on the power shift agreement reached under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.
The Professor said:
“Buhari has been contesting election in the last 12 years. He contested on the platform of ANPP, contested again on the platform of CPC in 2011.
“In 2015, the north rallied round him because it was aggrieved over the decision of PDP to field Jonathan in spite of the obvious constitutional breach that another four year term for him would have imposed on the country.
“So, given the fact that northerners had resolved that power should shift to the north in 2015 and Buhari’s past record and personal integrity, the north rallied round in his support irrespective of party or religious affiliations.”
Speaking further, the NEF spokesman said that the positions given to the north in the Federal Executive Council were not commensurate with its voting strength. He pointed out that the Ministries that had direct dealings with the economy were not in the hands of northerners, with the Ministry of Agriculture as the only exception.
Furthermore, Professor Abdullahi said that out of the capital projects that have been earmarked in the 2016 appropriation bill, the north only got 30% with the North East, North West and North Central receiving 3%, 9% and 19% respectively.
“Imagine, the north east which was ravaged by Boko Haram only got 3%. In terms of recurrent expenditure which is mainly paying salaries and servicing the day-to-day running of government, the north is also short changed because as at 10 years ago, 0nly 18% of federal civil servants are northerners”, he said.