Appointees from Adamawa, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States dominated a list of presidential aides approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to work with his administration since he assumed office on May 29, 2015.
Documents detailing the distribution of political appointments made by the president among the 36 states of the federation, and exclusively obtained by THISDAY show that while Adamawa and Kano States have 12 appointees apiece to top the list, Ogun and Oyo States came second with 11 aides each.
Next to Ogun and Oyo are nine appointees each from Kaduna, Katsina, the president’s home state, and Lagos, the political domain of Senator Bola Tinubu, whose strategic alliance with Buhari led to the formation of the All Progressives Congress(APC), to pave the way for the realisation of the latter’s presidential quest after three fruitless bids.
On the bottom of the list are Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Plateau and Zamfara States with one political appointee each as presidential aides.
The documents also detail the distribution of statutory appointments into boards of federal parastatals and special agencies as well as appointments into executive positions therein.
In this category, Ogun leads the list with 31 appointments either as board members, heads or executive members of these parastatals and special agencies.
Edo State follows with 30 appointments and it is trailed by Imo State with 29 of its indigenes occupying some of the various positions.
Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with two appointees each occupy the bottom of the list.
Other states with fewer than 10 appointees on the list of appointments into boards of federal parastatals and agencies are Sokoto (six), Ebonyi (seven), Plateau and Enugu(eight) while Bayelsa, Taraba, and Yobe have nine members each.
However, while the documents show that the appointments of presidential aides cover the period of the first picks by the president after his inauguration on May 29, 2015 to December 2018, those on boards of federal parastatals and special agencies show appointments made by Buhari’s predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, with some of them dating back as far as 2013.
While some of the statutory appointments had lapsed by expiration of tenure and were not renewed, some other appointees got tenure extension.
On the other hand, the list of political aides contains names of some who had left the cabinet.
Among these are former Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who resigned in June 2018 to contest the governorship election in Ekiti State on APC platform and Mrs. Kemi Adeosun from Ogun State, who was appointed along with other ministers on November 11, 2015, but was forced to resign on September 14, 2018 after being accused of forging her NYSC exemption certificate.
Also on this list are Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, former Minister of Women Affairs, who resigned on September 30, 2018 to pursue her political ambition in her Taraba State, and Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril who resigned as Minister of State, Environment, to become the Emir of Nasarawa.
Till date, none of these ministers have been replaced; leaving their states without representation in the cabinet.
On the list also is Mr. Taiwo Akinwunmi from Oyo State, who designed the Nigerian flag. The then President Goodluck Jonathan had given him double honours in September 2014 when he conferred on him the national honours of Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) and appointed him special assistant to the president for life.
The list, obtained ahead of the dissolution of the cabinet as the Buhari administration winds down its first tenure in office and prepares for its second term from May 29, 2019, following Buhari’s victory in the last election, categorised ministers, special advisers, senior special assistants and personal assistants as presidential aides.
Among the aides are those seconded to the office of the vice-president, the office of the chief of staff to the president, office of the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, office of the wife of the vice-president, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, and some ministries, departments and agencies(MDAs).
The list also includes the names of the president and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
Of a total of 161 political aides, 88 work with the president, 39 with the vice-president, and 25 were seconded to ministries, office of the chief of staff and extra-ministerial agencies, among others.
Five of the political aides were deployed to the office of the wife of the president and three to the office of the wife of the vice-president.
A breakdown of the number of political aides working with the president, excluding ministers who he is under constitutional obligation to appoint one from each of the 36 states of the federation shows that 26 of them, representing about 30 percent of the appointments, are from Adamawa (6), where his wife hails from, Kaduna (6), where he resides outside his Daura hometown, Kano (8 ), where he has his largest base of supporters and Katsina (6), his home state.
However, apart from ministers, the president has no other political aides from any of the five states in the South-East (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo) working with him. The geopolitical zone is the bastion of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which Buhari has found difficult to penetrate since he started his presidential bid in 2003.
Like his principal, Osinbajo drew the bulk of his political aides from his South-west geopolitical zone. Of the 39 aides working directly with him, 24, representing about 62 percent of the figure, are from the South-west. Appointees from his home state of Ogun (7) and his political base in Lagos (5) top the list.
Other South-west states such as Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and Oyo have three appointees each.
A further breakdown shows that appointees of political aides from Abia are 2, Adamawa (12), Akwa Ibom (5), Anambra(2), Bauchi(4), Bayelsa (1), Borno(4), Cross River (3), Delta (6), Ebonyi(1), Ekiti(7), Enugu (2), Gombe (3), Imo (2), Jigawa (2) Kaduna (9), Kano (12), Katsina (9), Kebbi(1) and Kogi(3).
Others are: Kwara(3), Lagos(9), Nasarawa(1), Niger(3), Ogun(11), Ondo(6), Osun(7), Oyo(11), Plateau(1), Rivers(3), Sokoto(2), Taraba(3), Yobe(3) and Zamfara(1).
A breakdown of the list on a zonal basis reveals that South-west tops the list with 50 of the political officeholders, including the vice-president and ministers, in this category, coming from the six states in the region.
Behind the South-west is the North-east with 29 beneficiaries of various political posts from the zone.
The North-west, where Buhari hails from, occupies the third position with 25 people from the zone holding different categories of positions.
Next to the North-west is the South-south with 23 appointees while the South-east occupies the bottom position with only 10 appointees, including a total of five ministers from each of the states in the geopolitical zone.
By aggregation, the South has the lion’s share of political officeholders in this category with 83 of them coming from the area while 78 of their other colleagues are from the North.
Meanwhile, a breakdown of the list of appointments into boards of federal parastatals and special agencies shows that 14 of the appointees are from Abia State, 21 from Adamawa, Akwa Ibom(12), Anambra(20), Bauchi(18 ), Bayelsa(nine), Benue(17), Borno(21), Cross River(12), Delta(23), Ebonyi(7), Edo(30), Ekiti(12), Enugu(8 ), FCT(2), Gombe(15), Imo(29), Jigawa (12), Kaduna(16) and Kano(16).
The standing of other states on the list is: Katsina(24), Kebbi(13), Kogi(22), Kwara(21), Lagos(17), Nasarawa(12), Niger(20), Ogun(31), Ondo(17), Osun(12), Oyo(12), Plateau(8 ), Rivers(13), Sokoto(6), Taraba(9), Yobe(9) and Zamfara(7).
Of the total of 567 appointees in this category, 289 are from the North and 278 from the South.
A further breakdown of data on appointments into boards and heads of parastatals and special agencies shows the North-central leading the pack with 102 appointments, followed by the South-west (101), South-south (99), North-west(94), North-east(93) and South-east (78).
Taken together, the two lists of political aides and board appointments show conscious efforts by the Buhari administration to reward states and zones that gave him higher percentage of votes that put him in office in 2015 than his then main opponent, Jonathan.
Except for the South-south, another PDP stronghold, which with 99 appointees came third on the list of board and other appointments, the South-east remains at the bottom of the list and that of political aides.
Perhaps, the chances of the South-south are brightened by the fact that Edo, with 30 appointees, is in the APC’s fold.
Since his assumption of office, Buhari has been under swirling criticisms over his perceived insensitivity to geopolitical balancing in his picks for political appointments.
Critics have cited the domination of the nation’s security agencies’ top hierarchy by Northerners and many of his aides drawn from the North as a sign of his alleged clannishness.
But the president has rebutted the allegations with explanation that it would be out of tune with “political realities” to treat equally “on some issues” geopolitical zones that gave him 97 per cent of the votes as those that gave him five per cent.