The attention of Muslims in Ekiti State had been drawn to the press release by Mr. Lere Olayinka, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Eliti State on Public Communication and New Media, in which the Governor reacted to what he saw as lopsided appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari. While Muslims in Ekiti State concede to Mr Governor the right to air his opinion as enshrined in the country’s constitution, we are however bemused that the Governor who had continuously subjected Muslims in his own State to various forms of deprivation since he assumed office 7 months, 18 days ago could have the temerity to condemn perceived action of deprivation by any other government. According to our Governor, President Buhari had appointed 31 people into various offices out of which only 7 are from the southern part of the country.
Fair as this observation may appear, we feel it may interest the listening public to know what this same Governor that is now calling the kettle black is doing in his own State. The Governor spurs Muslims in the State to react with his references to lopsided appointments and the alleged infraction of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his statement. Before now, people were of the opinion that the Governor was oblivious of the constitutional imperatives when he was making his appointments and the Muslims were virtually left out. When efforts were made by the State Muslims to see and advice him properly, he ignored us.
The Governor in his statement described the actions of President Buhari as “tinted in ethnic and tribal coloration”. He then posited that “if such step is not checked, it will threaten the unity of Nigeria”. The portions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which governor Fayose was referring to are Sections 14 (4) and 15 (2). While Section 14 (4) stated inter alia that: “The composition of Government of a State ........ shall be carried out in such a manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority ......”, Section 15 (2) elucidates further on the diversity as it unequivocally stated that “(2) Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, RELIGION STATUS (emphasis ours), ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited”.
No Governor in Ekiti State had committed more serious infractions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than Governor Fayose in the issues of appointment during his first and second tours of duties in the State. Currently, the following distribution pattern of political and top bureaucrats prevail under Governor Ayodele Fayose’s watch:
1. Governor - 1 Christian, Muslim, NIL ;
2. Deputy Governor - 1 Christian, Muslim, NIL;
3. Speaker - 1 Christian Muslim, NIL;
4. Deputy Speaker - 1 Christian Muslim, NIL;
5. Judges - All Christians, Muslim, NIL;
6. Special Advisers - Christians, 1 Muslim;
7. Secretary to the State Government - 1 Christian, Muslim, NIL
8. 14 State Commissioners - All Christians, Muslim, NIL;
9. Chief of Staff - 1 Christian, Muslim, NIL;
10. Director General (Due Process) - 1 Christian, Muslim, NIL ;
11. Chairman, Petroleum Task Force - 1 Christian, Muslim, NIL;
12. 26 No Permanent Secretaries - All Christians, Muslim, NIL ;
13. 13 No Executive Secretaries - All Christians Muslim, NIL;
14. 5 No Chairman/Members of SUBEB - All Christians, Muslim, NIL;
15. 5 No Chairman/Members of HASC - 4 Christians, 1 Muslim;
16. 5 No Chairman/Members of EKSIEC - All Christians, Muslim, NIL;
17. 5 No Chairman/Members, Governing Board of EKSU – All Christians, Muslim, NIL;
18. 7 No Chairman/Members of College of Education - All Christians, Muslim, NIL;
19. 7 No Chairman/Members of Governing Board of College of Health Tech - All Christians, No Muslim;
20. 16 Education Secretaries President – All Christians, Muslim, NIL;
21. 16 Caretaker Chairmen of Local Government Councils - 15 Christians, 1 Muslim;.
It may interest the reading public to know also that this is the same Ekiti State where, at different times and under different democratic governments, Muslims produced Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government, Chairmen and Members of Statutory Boards and Commissions, Special Advisers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of government parastatals, etc. However, in the wisdom of our fair Governor, what Muslims deserve in his government are just 1 SPECIAL ADVISER, 1 out of 16 LG Councils CARETAKER CHAIRMEN, 1 MEMBER of Ekiti State House of Assembly Service Commission out of the whole mammoths that he had appointed since October 16, 2014. Surprisingly, this same Governor, who did not consider it fair enough to appoint Muslims into political offices appointed his own son as his Personal Assistant to bring the total number of people appointed from Afao-Ekiti alone, his own home town to five when most big towns in the State are still yawning for one. As at the last count, the Governor, his Personal Assistant, Chairman of Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Council, his Local Government Area, a Senior Special Assistant, Environment and Traffic Control and one Education Secretary are all from Afao – Ekiti. Where is the justice, where is the fairness Gov Fayose appears to be defending?
While once again Muslims in Ekiti State concede to Governor Fayose his right to criticise the President on equitable distribution of political offices or on any other issue, we charge him to start with the correction of the lopsided appointments he made in his own State and to give his people similar freedom of expression he enjoys under President Buhari, his most avowed object of criticism. Charity, they say, begins from home and he who goes to equity should go with clean hands. For, so far, President Buhari had appointed less than 20% of his political appointees out of which 22.5% are Southerners. Governor Fayose had appointed mere FOUR (4) or 0.05% MUSLIMS so far out of a mammoth of about EIGHTY (80) political and career appointees, representing at least 80% of total appointments he intends to make.
What Muslims expect from Governor Fayose now is to re-appraise his appointments and make necessary amends. There are more than enough credible and well qualified Muslims, even going by the standard of the Governor, who are members of his political party in the State from whom he can pick. If he is in any difficulty in identifying them, the NSCIA in the State is ready to assist him. It is only when he does this that Muslims in Ekiti State will see his criticism of President Buhari’s administration as devoid of pettiness and share showmanship. The Governor should not take the civility of Muslims in Ekiti as weakness just as his claim to sincerity is subject to proof. The leadership of Muslims had prevailed on the Muslims in the State to maintain dignified silence in the phase of the obvious neglect for the sake of unity in the State.