Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday justified the alarming spate of lopsided appointments under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Osinbajo said the administration has decided to prioritize merit over federal character, a mutual and legal concept that prescribes diversity in filling available public positions.
“We get arguments around whether the appointment of persons into public institutions should be based on federal character, the dominant principle should be merit,” Mr. Osinbajo said at a webinar hosted by Nigeria Leadership Initiative on Saturday.
Mr. Osinbajo’s comments came days after the Peoples Gazette exposed yet another uneven recruitment by the State Security Service, which saw Nigerians from the northern parts of the country receive over 85 percent of available cadet trainee jobs in Bauchi camp alone.
The story sparked nationwide outrage, with many groups, including the Southern, Middle-Belt Leaders Forum, threatening to thwart the recruitment in court.
The SSS has yet to publicly comment on the Gazette’s report on its sectional 2020 recruitment, furthering an approach it took when a similar scandal was reported in 2017.
Mr. Buhari’s pattern of appointments since he assumed office in 2015 showed he heavily favours people from his home Katsina State and other parts of the North.
But the administration has never acknowledged the label, while dismissing critics as frivolous and divisive.
Mr. Osinbajo, from the South, has always defended his principal against sectional allegations.
“A value system rewards talent and enterprise, and it is talent and enterprise that will drive sustainable growth,” the vice-president said at the meeting yesterday. “Federal character is essentially affirmative to create a balance, but even if we are to create that balance, it should still be based on merit.”