Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has debunked claims that appointments made by President Buhari are in favour of the north. In an interview with a group of journalists and social media practitioners in Lagos on Friday, the vice president dismissed allegations of nepotism against the Buhari Administration.
The transcript of the interview was on Sunday released to State House correspondents by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity where the vice president noted that Buhari’s cabinet comprised 20 Christians and 18 Muslims.
Osinbajo said while four of the five southeastern states had substantive ministers while seven northern states had ministers of state. He said there were people who did not know that the number of Chief Executive Officers of federal agencies and parastatals from Anambra State is more than the number of those from Katsina State or anywhere else except Ogun State. He said apart from assigning three huge portfolios to a single minister from the Southwest, Buhari also assigned two other big portfolios to ministers from the zone.
He maintained that although the constitution requires that each state must have a minister in the federal cabinet, the president has a choice in assigning portfolios. “Look at the cabinet, for example, from the point of view of the religion, it has an equal number: 18 Christians, 18 Muslims; but, we have the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as well as the Head of Service who are Christians. So, we have 20 Christians to 18 Muslims; that’s the structure of the cabinet. So, if you take that narrative you may argue that perhaps the Christian have the upper hand; that’s a possible narrative”.
He continued to say, “let us look a little deeper into that, so there are those who may argue, for example, that the north has an upper hand or perhaps one section has an upper hand in the cabinet as one narrative. The South East, for example, has five states. Four of the South Eastern states have senior ministers; all of them, except one, who is Minister of State for Education. In the assigning particular portfolios he does (have a choice). In the north, seven northern states have no senior minister, including the President’s home state, Katsina. Now, there are those who will say, if you are nepotistic; surely seven northern states have no senior minister. It’s a narrative depending on how you want to run it”.
“I give you another example; I’m from the South West. There are people who will say ‘I am from the South West, the North has everything.’ The South West, for the first time in the history of this country, has one Minister who is in charge of three ministries: Power, Works and Housing. The Ministers of Finance & Communications are also from the South West. These are critical ministries. You can run the narrative in whichever way that you choose. “There are those who will say, for instance, look at the number of CEOs of agencies of government; the highest number of CEOs in our nation today comes from Ogun State, the state has the largest number. There are those who will say that’s his state (i.e VP’S State). So you can run the narrative depending on how you want to run it.
“The president has admitted that, yes there are situations where you can find certain things as true and he intends to have a look at that. For example, you’ve given the example of security positions and he said he is going to take a look at look at it. I believe that is the way to go because you can run any narrative that will suit the figures you are showing. And that is where we have legal process. There are people who don’t know that the number of CEOs from Anambra State are more than the number of CEOs from Katsina State or anywhere else, except Ogun.”