Major ethnic representation across the country had come in conflict with the new appointment into top management positions in the nation’s common wealth source’, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation says its collation and distribution of human resources has coloration of ethnic and religious bias. The Group, Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and Ohaneaze Ndigbo described it as threat to national unity
The stance of Ohaneaze Ndigbo was endorsed by the south east senate cacus, two niger-delta groups,’’Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and Niger Delta People’s Congress, PNDPC, rallied for the first time against federal government through its decision over what it describe as lopsided appointment and insentive that will further enhance marginalization of the oil producing regions, while Afenifere described it as an act of impunity, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, raged that President Muhammadu Buhari was not walking his talk on the plea for national cohesion.
Afenifere and Ohanaeze urged the President to immediately review the appointments, other groups and political stalwarts from the South, including former Senate Chief Whip; Senator Roland Owie, termed the appointments as provocative. The uproar followed news of a major shake-up in the NNPC, last week.
Out of 15 appointments made, 10 were from the North (mostly Hausa Fulani), three Yoruba, two from the South-South and there was none from the South East. Ohanaeze Reacting to the appointments, President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, in a statement he made available to urban express news online , while calling on the President to review the appointments, said Ohanaeze was appalled at what it described as the consistent and unrepentant disposition of disdain for the South East by Buhari’s administration as seen in the reorganization at the NNPC.
The apex body said it had thought that after the President’s declaration in a broadcast recently that Nigeria’s unity was settled and not negotiable, that he would take all necessary actions in his governance to achieve it but the recent NNPC shake up has not shown that the administration is walking its talk. He said: “This brazen disregard, marginalisation, and non-compliance with the Federal character provisions in our Constitution are the causes of lack of confidence which our youths have in our present governance structure.
“As long as President Buhari continues to live out his speech abroad that his government will favour those who voted 97% for him against those who voted 5% for him, so long will the dissatisfaction and unrest in our polity subsist,” Nwodo warned. “There is no oil well anywhere in Northern Nigeria.
Four of the five states in the South East have proven oil resources some of which provide our nation’s revenue, yet our people are not found fit to be adequately represented in a key corporate institution like the NNPC,” he said, as he called for an immediate review of the appointments. S-East senators The stance of Ohaneze was endorsed by the South East Senate caucus. Speaking with journalist yesterday, monitored by urban express news correspondent, Chairman of south east caucus of senators at the nation’s Assembly, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, noted that the senators were in full support of Ohanaeze, saying “ we support Ohanaeze’s stance on what Buhari should do.” , Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, PDP, Abia North, called on the President to have a rethink on the issue, saying “this one is a clear evidence of the marginalization that we have been saying about this government. “What happened at the NNPC is evidence that what we have been saying is not imagined, but real.” Afenifere in its response articulated by its spokesman, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said: “The issue for us is not about whether it favours us or not; it is about justice to all and being that it is skewed and that is not the way to build an inclusive society.
“You must carry everybody along. Does that mean that there was nobody qualified from the South East? “Why the sheer impunity? I think that those who are running Nigeria now should be mindful of the need to build an inclusive society. “You must earn the confidence of all, and it is not too late for this administration to listen and do something that is more balanced in a multi-ethnic society.” Coordinating Secretary of PANDEF, Dr. Alfred Mulade, said the organization would come out with its formal position soon, but nevertheless stated that the group made its stand on NNPC, including participation in the oil industry/ownership of oil blocks known to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, when the Chief Edwin Clark-led group visited him on August 3.
Clark had noted then that only one person from the South-South was represented on the nine-member board of the NNPC. PNDPC PNDPC leader, Ayemi-Botu, alias Lion of the Niger, said: “The present government is insensitive to the calls of well-meaning Niger Deltans on the lopsided appointments and management of the NNPC since the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board. “The President actually started with 33 appointments clearly against the region, later it replaced the Group Managing Director of NNPC with a northerner and even when the 16-point agenda was presented to him, November 1, last year, his attention was drawn to the composition of NNPC board, dominated by northerners. “There is no gainsaying that NNPC is an offshoot of oil that is derived from the Niger Delta and the people must have a say in what happens, but even while the anger has not subsided, the President came with the latest reshuffling or whatever they call it, where the north again has taken over the NNPC. This is unacceptable to the region.