On Monday, the Northern Elders Forum, or NEF, challenged critics of President Muhammadu Buhari to back up their charges of nepotism in his appointments with facts.
In response to President Buhari’s assertion that his selections and policies are based on fairness and inclusion, the Forum stated this.
NEF also requested the President to submit the documentation needed to show that his appointments and policies were consistent with the Federal Character Principles.
Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, said in Abuja: “The allegations regarding nepotism and marginalisation of groups need to be supported by evidence. When they persist, they should be vigorously challenged with evidence as well.
Saying; “This is one issue where both sides of the argument have failed to be thorough in defence of their cases. Names, positions and appointments, and statistics alone do not suffice, although they are still important.
“Critics of the President tend to point at specific offices and argue that they are limited to particular ethnic groups. They make these cases in contexts of wider arguments over marginalization and entrenched nepotism. However, the Presidency insists that merit takes priority position when the powers of the President are being exercised.”
According to him, these arguments suggest a deep gulf between the President and some communities and in the country.
“The reluctance of the President to improve his relationship with elites from all parts of the country and seek their input into the management of the political process and governance makes this worse.
“It is unlikely that these arguments will die off with a President who will not accept criticism or work to address them, and a nation which is elevating ethnic identity as the prime factor in sharing of political spaces,” the Forum added.