Umar Writes Buhari, Warns Of Imminent Crisis Over Lopsided Appointments

In an open letter addressed to the president, the former governor urged President Buhari to approve the confirmation of acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Mensem or risk being accused of favouring only northern Muslims for sensitive positions.

He said one of the swiftest ways of destroying a kingdom is to give preference of one particular tribe over another or show favour to one group of people rather than another.

He said while the president’s admirers and supporters believe he has performed well, many others believe the five years he  has been in office has not met the yearnings, expectations and change promised Nigerians.

Umar wrote: “You might wish to recall that after the results of the 23rd of February 2019 presidential elections were announced, giving you victory, I addressed a press conference during which I urged the runner-up, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, to concede defeat. The reason was clear: tensions  were running high and little missteps by the leaders might ignite violence as often happened after major elections.

“Some supporters of Abubakar Atiku disagreed with me and told me off. As it happened, Alhaji Atiku went ahead to mount a legal challenge to the outcome of the elections up to the Supreme Court. Mercifully, his actions did not result in an outbreak of violence as we feared.

“At the same occasion, I counselled the declared winner, your good self, to use the opportunity of your second term to redeem your pledge of being a leader and president of all Nigerians.

“On the occasion of the first-year anniversary into your second four-year term, I feel there is an urgent need to revisit this subject matter.

“Mr. President, you have often expressed the hope that history will be kind to you. It is within your competence to write that history. But you have less than three years in which to do it. You may wish to note that any authentic history must be devoid of myth. It will be a true, factual rendition of the record of your performance.

“And truth be told, Mr. President, there are quite a lot of things that speak to your remarkable accomplishments, not least of which is that for the first time in our democratic history, a sitting president was defeated. That feat was achieved by Muhammadu Buhari. The reason was the public belief of you as a man of integrity.

“The corollary to this is that at the expiration of your eight-year tenure in 2023, your achievements will not be measured solely by the physical infrastructure your administration built. An enduring legacy would be based on those intangible things like how much you uplifted the spirit and moral tone of the nation. How well have you secured the nation from ourselves and from external enemies?

“At this time and in the light of all that have happened since you took office, any conversation with you Mr. President cannot gloss over the chaos that has overtaken appointments into government offices in your administration. All those who wish you and the country well must mince no words in warning you that Nigeria has become dangerously polarized and risk sliding into crisis on account of your administration’s lopsided appointments which continues to give undue preference to some sections of the country over others.  Nowhere is this more glaring than in the leadership cadre of our security services.

“Mr. President, I regret that there is no kind or gentle words to tell you that your skewed appointments into the offices of the Federal Government, favoring some and frustrating others, shall bring ruin and destruction to this nation.

“You may wish to recall that I had cause to appeal to you, to confirm Justice Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria a few days before the expiration of his three months tenure of acting appointment to be replaced by a Muslim Northerner.

“We were saved that embarrassment when his nomination was sent to the senate by the then acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo. When he was finally confirmed a few days to the end of his tenure, he was removed after a few months and replaced by Justice Muhammed, a Muslim from the North.

“May I also invite the attention of Mr. President to the pending matter of appointment of a Chief Judge of the Nigerian Court Appeal which appears to be generating public interest. As it is, the most senior judge, Justice Monica Dongban Mensem, a northern Christian, is serving out her second three-month term as acting chief judge without firm prospects that she will be confirmed substantive head. I do not know Justice Mensem but those who do attest to her competence, honesty and humility.

“She appears eminently qualified for appointment as the substantive Chief Judge of the Court of Appeal as she is also said to be highly recommended by the National Judicial Council.

“If she is not and is bypassed in favour of the next in line who happens to be another northern Muslim, that would be truly odd. In which case, even the largest contingent of PR gurus would struggle to rebut the charges that you, Mr. President, are either unwilling or incapable of acting on your pledge to belong to everyone – and to no one.”

Daily Sun

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