Why didn’t I choose southerners as MDAs and army commanders

President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why he did not nominate southerners to command the army and other senior security agencies, including as ministries, agencies, and government agencies, instead opting for a merit-based procedure.

In an interview with Arise TV, Mr Buhari stressed that he does not select “just anybody to balance up,” but that the positions must be earned.

“People who have been there for 18 years or even for 10 years trained in Zaria or in Abeokuta,” Mr Buhari added, citing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the military as examples. They work their way up through the ranks.”

“And because they served in all situations, crises and all, and they gradually rose to that stature, and you think you just pick someone to balance things out?” he said. These are coveted positions that must be earned.”

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Mr Yahaya was selected as the new Chief of Army Staff by the president last month to replace Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in an aircraft crash, thereby excluding top officers from the southern area.

Criticisms trailed the appointment following the president’s disregard for the federal character principle.

A document showing the hierarchy of officers and obtained by Peoples Gazette also indicated that the president overlooked top officers in the southern region.

The document titled, ‘Seniority Roll NA Officers 2021 (Revised) – Regular Combatant,’ indicated that Mr Buhari ignored over 10 senior officers in the southern region when he appointed the new army chief.

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