A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, has said the leadership of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) does not reflect national character and is a violation of the nation’s Constitution.
Chidoka, who is also erstwhile Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, (FRSC), therefore, urged the Senate to reject the chairmanship nominee for the board.
The Federal Character Commission Act was enacted in1995 with the objective to foster national unity, monitor and enforce compliance with the principles of the proportional sharing of all bureaucratic, economic, media and political posts at all levels of government.
However, Chidoka said in a statement, that the nomination of both the new chairman and Secretary from the North (Kwara and Taraba states) contravenes Section 4 of the legislation of the country.
“Where the number of positions available cannot go round the states of the federation or the Federal Capital, the distribution shall be on zonal basis. But in the case where two positions are available, the positions shall be shared between the northern and southern zones,” Chidoka said, quoting the legislation.
According to him, the tradition had always been to have the Chairman and Secretary from the North and South, respectively, as was the case during the regimes of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Chidoka said: “When Mr. President appointed Mohammed Bello Tukur, the Legal Adviser of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) as the Secretary of the Federal Character Commission many thought it was to pave way for the first southern chairman of the Commission. That was not to be. Instead in a rather brazen act the penultimate Ag, Chairman Mallam Shettima rather than handover to a southern commissioner handed over to the Secretary of the Commission.
“The President in violation of Chapter 2 of the constitution aptly named Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy that provides in S.13. It shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government, and of all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers, to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this Chapter of this Constitution” has appointed a Chairman in violation of the spirit and letters of our laws.”
He added that Chapter 2 of the Constitution S.14(3) stipulates that “The composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”
Chidoka frowned at the continued distortions in the system since the coming of the Buhari administration, which has tilted appointments in favour of the North.
“The seeds of national discord have been systematically sowed over the past five years and should be halted.
“The Senate should emphasise the supremacy of our constitution and the need to build an inclusive state. The coronavirus should be a wakeup call,” the former minister said.