Chidoka opposes FCC Secretary’s planned tenure extension
By Praise Necherem
A former minister of aviation, Osita Chidoka, has voiced his rejection of moves to extend the appointment of the secretary, Federal Character Commission (FCC), Mohammed Bello Tukur to allow him to retain the position after expiration of his tenure on April 7.
Chidoka, in a statement released on his social media handle, said he was not favourably disposed to the secretary’s tenure extension. He recalled how he, in 2020, equally opposed the appointment of the chairman of the commission for violation of federal character principle, imploring the senate not to clear him for that reason.
Chidoka, former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety commission berated the senate for not keeping to the spirit and letter of the federal character law which they enacted in the discharge of their statutory role. He emphatically stated that the senate had allowed the executive, led by President Muhamadu Buhari, to damage the ties that bind Nigerians together as a nation, insisting that such wilful disobedience of nation’s laws and consensus would have future disastrous consequences.
He said, “During the senate clearing hearings, a strong argument and appeal was made in favour of clearing the chairman who is from the North. My opposition was on the ground that the chairman should come from the South since the secretary to the commission is from the North.
“Those two positions were, historically and in compliance with the federal character law, shared between the North and the South. Interestingly, no southerner has headed the commission since its creation as both Obasanjo and Goodluck appointed northerners as chairmen.”
Chidoka recalled that the logic of the appeal at the senate during the clearing, was that the secretary to the commission had few months to complete his four-year tenure as his exit was expected to bring a southerner in as secretary.
He said that the seemingly plausible argument was bought by the Senators and they cleared the chairman. “The problem now is that the secretary, Mohammed Bello Tukur, whose tenure ends on April 7, 2021 is now lobbying for extension of his tenure for another four years.
“There are strong rumours he may have been granted another four-year term. This would be wrong and a flagrant abuse and disobedience of the Federal Character Law.
“If we are to follow the federal character principle, the president should appoint a South Easterner as the secretary of the commission. The last two southerners to hold that position were from the South South and South West.” Ike Obosi stressed.
Continuing, the former FRSC boss said that the reason he laboured to remind everybody about the federal character law was that it was one of the major consensus of political leaders to give every Nigerian a sense of belonging in the march to nationhood.
“Federal character does not exclude merit. It is a nation-building strategy that should take the best from every zone to create a pan-Nigerian outlook in our public institutions. Someday we will outgrow the need for zoning and federal character but, for now, we should respect it. Like the great Zik of Africa said “No condition is permanent.” Chidoka concluded.