My Appointments Are Based On Merit, Not Ethnic Balance – Buhari

*Says IPOB like a dot in a circle — we’ll defeat them

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that all appointments he makes are strictly based on merit and not based on ethnic or regional balance.

Mr Buhari stated this on Thursday during an interview with Arise TV.

The president has been criticized 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.

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.

Mr Yahaya was picked over many of his seniors who have more years in service and are now to be forced into retirement. Mr Yahaya is a Northerner like President Buhari.

Buhari also described the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) as “a dot in a circle,” saying the group is isolated in its call for secession.

Buhari said he has been assured by “the elderly people” and “the youths” from the south-south part of the country that region has no intention of seceding.

He said IPOB will not have “access to anywhere” even if they eventually secede from the country.

The president then reiterated his statement that IPOB members will treated in the “language that they understand”.

“I was encouraged by what I heard, nobody told me. Two statements from the south south: one by the elderly people, they said this time around there would be no (secession). And again the youth made the same statement; such encouragement,” Buhari said.

“So that IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they’ll have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and properties. I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about.”

“In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.”

IPOB has been agitating for the secession of the south-east. They recently took up arms against the country, attacking security formations and public property.

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