The President, Muhammadu Buhari, has stated that all his appointments were strictly based on merit and not based on ethnic or regional balance.
Buhari stated this on Thursday during an interview with Arise TV.
The president has been criticised for allegedly appointing more northerners in strategic positions. In the interview, the Nigerian leader said he cannot jettison seniority and merit for balance and federal character.
The Nigerian Constitution states that major appointments and other privileges should be shared in such a way that it reflects Federal Character, that is balance across the 36 states.
Merit over balance
In his submission, the president also said he cannot favour those who have spent shorter years in service over those that have stayed longer.
“People who have been there for 18 years or even for 10 years, they trained in Zaria or in Abeokuta, they come through the ranks.
And because they served under all the circumstances, the crises and everything and they gradually rise to that status and you think you just pick somebody just to balance up? These positions have to be earned,” he said.
The recent appointment of the Chief of Army Staff, Yahaya Faruk, however, contradicts the claim by the President.
Yahaya was picked over many of his seniors who have more years in service and are now to be forced into retirement.