In endless tirades against the PMB administration by former President Obasanjo, the octogenarian has said that the Insurgency and banditry ravaging the country is now Internationalised and under the control of ISIS. It is now no longer an issue of lack of education or lack of employment for youths in Nigeria, which it began as, he added. At the second session of the Synod, Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s Anglican Church at Ole Isako South local government area of Delta state; OBJ said, “It is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global crimes of human trafficking, illegal mining and regime change”. CAN threw its weight behind Obasanjo’s claims, saying that the islamisation and fulanisation agenda was real and ongoing. Before now, common commentary and claims where out there that PMB was on a mission to Islamise the country, and that there was a lop-sidedness in his appointments – with muslims/ northerners having the larger share. Coming at the end of these accusations was Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, The Vice President, who dispelled these false claims that were aimed at inflaming ethnic and religious sensitivities. He said that the accusations of clannishness and nepotism were untrue, as Christians and southerners have benefited more, from PMB’s cabinet appointments.
Osinbajo argued that four of the five South-eastern states for example, have substantive ministerial portfolios. In contrast, 7 states of the North including PMB’s home state of Katsina, do not have a single substantive ministerial portfolio. Ogun state has the highest number of appointments of chief executive officers and heads of government agencies according to the Vice President; and said that PMB has said he will look at the security agencies where there is a higher number of northerners. Osinbajo also clarified that there are exactly 18 christian ministers, and 18 muslim ministers; in addition to the fact that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is christian, so is the Head of Service of the Federation. He also pointed out that there is a southerner in charge of 3 of the most critical ministries of power, works and housing. “I am a southerner and I am the Vice President, but some people will say, the north has everything”, he quipped.
Taking a look at the financial sector, starting from the CBN; the percentage of the north and muslims in the management is a mere 20 percent, compared to the south’s 80 percent. The number of directors and heads of departments in the CBN is also tipped in favor of the south, with 59 percent to the south, as against the north’s 41 percent. The south east alone has a whopping 31 percent representation. Infact, there is a systematic under-representation of northerners/ muslims in the management of CBN, as well as directors and heads of departments. The commercial banks, show a similar dominance by the south, where only 2 of the 27 managing directors are northern, with a meagre less than 10 percent of board members as northerners.
The north also has a meagre 35 percent of micro finance banks in the country.
The National Economic Council itself has only 15 percent representation from the north, while the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Agency management has zero percent northern representation. The statistics of management of the Bank of Industry has only 12.5 percent northern representation. Similarly, the Development Bank of Nigeria has only 17 percent northern representation on its management board. The Securities and Exchange Commission has only 25 percent representation. The Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Agency has zero percent northern representation. Amazingly, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has a zero percent northern representation on its management board. The Debt Management Office has 13 percent, while the Asset Management Corporation has an impressive 50 percent. The National Insurance Commission has 25 percent while the NDIC has 33 percent. The Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing Agricultural Lending has another impressive 50 percent northern representation on its management board.
The statistics rendered aren’t in any way rendered to stoke ethnic sentiments, but to quell and dispel the voices highlighting any inequities or ethnic imbalance. Religion and ethnicism have long become tools for political campaigns and selfish advancement of non altruistic agendas; while carrying along a gullible following, full of bigotry. Two northerners, fulani by tribe, keenly contested an election, and a fulani man lost the race. But then we now have sentiments of ‘Biafranism’ and even ‘Oduduwanism’ coming to the fore. Islamisation or fulanisation agendas are being hammered to the centre of national discourse. Back in 1979, Obasanjo handed over power to a fulani man – President Shagari. Not too long ago, Obasanjo supported and handed over to a fulani President in the person of late Yaradua in 2007. He also actively supported and paired another northerner, in the person of Namadi Sambo as President Goodluck Jonathan’s Vice President. In 2015, he supported PMB against a southerner. How then did the fulanisation come into being, in a space of just 4 years, as against a more consciously patriotic alignment with fulanis for a lifetime – 40 years precisely?
The media has the most significant role to play, in accurate reporting, as well as dropping the robes of sensationalism and catchy headlines. The gullible population cannot be continuously fed with ethnic and religious sentiments that have dire violent consequences; all in the name of making profit from sales and subscription. Journalism has ethos which are fast wading away, giving room to the crassness of the social media. Today, we rely more on foreign media for accurate information on matters within our country. The onus is on our media, to stop the ossified use of ethnicity to drive the agenda of some selfish politicians and religious leaders.
By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir Talban Bauchi.