President Muhammadu Buhari on defended the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal and five others.
The appointments, announced on Thursday, had sparked reactions, with reports of complaints in some quarters that they tilted in favour of the North.
Appointed alongside Lawal were Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President; Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Mr. Kure Martins Abeshi, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service; Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and Hon. Suleiman Kawu, SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives).
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari’s political appointments will balance out soon.
Adesina spoke on a radio programme, Political Platform, on RayPower 100.5FM, monitored by our correspondent in Lagos.
Adesina said the President was aware of federal character and expressed the belief that there will be balance by the time he makes more appointments in September.
While admitting that appointments are Buhari’s prerogative, the presidential spokesman also said that nobody can fault the fact that those that have been named so far ?were appointed on merits.
He also said it would not be fair to blame the President for positions that were filled as a result of elections, like those of the National Assembly and appointments made on the basis of next in command, like those of the acting Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission and Chief Justice of Nigeria.
He assured all stakeholders that the President would keep to his promise of appointing the remaining aides and ministers ?in September.
Adesina said: “Nobody can fault the fact that the persons appointed were appointed on merits.
“In terms of the spread, the President has prerogative to appoint and he knows there is federal character. I am sure that there will be balance in the future.
“These are still early days. At the end of the day, we will have a balance.
“By the time more appointments are made, it will balance out. The President is trying to get the very best of Nigerians. The issue of key positions and no key positions should not be the issue.
“He gave a deadline of September for the appointment of ministers, ?and he will keep to it.”
The President’s Senior Special Assistant Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, also issued a statement yesterday urging critics of the President’s appointments to be patient with the administration over political appointments, adding that the appointments made so far constitute less than five per cent of the total that would be made.
Besides, he said, the people so far appointed by the President are mostly people acting as his staff or unofficial advisers, many of whom had been working with him in official capacities.
The statement reads: “Our brothers and sisters and fellow countrymen should bear with the new administration as it takes its measured steps towards an effective take-off.
“These appointments are just beginning. The ones down so far, apart from the security services, are mostly of people acting as unofficial advisers or staff of the President.
“They are mostly men and women who have been doing things for the President and the positions are being formalised.
“Statistically, the appointments don’t amount to five per cent of what is to come. There will be ministers, heads of government departments, federal boards and ambassadors.
“At the end of the exercise, no part of the country will be left feeling left out.”