Some elder statesmen from the Southern part of the country have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being “sectional, narrow, parochial, and tribalistic”.
They made their position known on Thursday after the announcement of the removal of Matthew Seiyefa as the Acting Director-General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had announced Buhari’s approval of the appointment of Yusuf Magaji Bichi as new Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Thursday.
However, the elder statesmen rejected the appointment.
Expressing their reservations, they said: “Since 1960, Nigeria has never had a leader more sectional, narrow, parochial, and tribalistic like the current President who went on a global stage to divide Nigeria into ‘97 % and 5%’.”
In a statement signed by Chief E.K. Clark; Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Chief John Nwodo; and Mr Bitrus Pogu — the only signatory from the middle belt — the elder statesmen accused President Buhari of working against a united Nigeria.
Seiyefa, who is from Bayelsa State, was replaced by Bichi from Kano State, on Thursday.
Following the unauthorised siege of the National Assembly by the then DG, Lawal Daura, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had ordered Seiyefa to take over as the acting DSS boss.
Although Seiyefa is due to retire next year, his appointment was followed by goodwill from many Nigerians.
However, his replacement has now sparked heavy criticism against the President.
The statement read: “Tthe outright disregard for the conditions precedent for a united Nigeria and an inclusive country which President Buhari has become well known for was taken to a new height this evening with the removal of the Acting DG of DSS, Mr Matthew Seiyefa and replacement with Mr Yusuf Magaji Bichi from Kano.
“The I-don’t-care and in-your-face attitude of the President in restoring Nigeria’s security architecture to the provocative situation of having 16 out of 17 service chiefs from his corner of the country is a clear demonstration of the fact that Nigeria for General Muhammadu Buhari is no more than his section of Nigeria and the resources and the constitutionally mandatory votes from other sections of the country.
“We have looked critically at the profiles of the Acting DG who was removed and the one Buhari just appointed and it is crystal clear that Bichi does not come with any experience close to that of Seiyefa.
“The only qualification for this appointment is therefore only the rabid nepotism of the President which has seen him always masking personal and sectional interest as “national interest.
“Besides, Bichi is an out-of-the -system man drafted by Mr Lawal Daura in the days of his nepotism rule at the DSS.
“The next six most senior persons in line of succession at the DSS after Seiyefa are from our findings are all southerners which may explain why the President picked a man who already retired from the DSS to lead because of ethnic affinity.
“That the President went ahead to dip himself further into the cocoon of ethnic irredentism in making this insensitive appointment shows clearly that he does not care a hoot about the unity, cohesion and oneness of Nigeria.
“We reject this appointment and we do not shy away in telling Mr President that he no longer pretends that the country is one under him.
“In the last few days, there have been fears coming from the international community about the dangers that would come the way of Nigeria if Mr President returns for another term.
“With his latest action, we add that the country is not safe in the remainder of his first term.
“Lastly we ask Mr President: Are we still one county?”