President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday disclosed how he appointed heads of security agencies in his government
The president, while addressing the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, as well as otber traditional and religious rulers at the palace of the monarch in Anambra State, said appointment of security chiefs was purely based on competence and merit.
The president made the comments in response to allegations raised by the traditional rulers about the marginalisation of the South East states, particularly in the military.
Buhari noted that he had been fair to all the regions of the country since his assumption of office on May 29, 2015.
“I am pleased that you have the courage to present issues about your constituency but I expect you to be more patriotic in your presentation.
“In the south east, there are five states, in the north, there are 19 states. In the south east, out of the five states, I think five members of the Federal Executive Council are from this region, Trade and Investment, Foreign Affairs, Labour, Science and Technology, and seven of the northern states have only ministers of state.
“I appointed most people into the country’s security architecture without knowing them personally, except based on their professional records.
“I think I tried to be fair. And you can ask these ministers. I never asked them how are they running their parastatals, the boards. I appointed them and I trust them. I allow them work.
“I don’t have to tell you what noise the other states are making especially when compared to the votes I got in 2015. So, I think I try to be fair.
“Those of you who were in the military even in the Biafran Army, know that the entry point is the same and you go for basic training, until you go to your formations or institutions whether it is Army, Navy, AirForce or the police.
“The most competent or senior person is the one that gets there.
“If there are half a million soldiers, only one man can be the chief of Army staff at a time. This is so for the rest of the troop. In recruitment, we make sure that by states, people are recruited. At least, this is what I do, people are recruited from each state. For those who manage to get recruited, it’s up to them to get to the top if they are professional and work for it.
“The present chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Air Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff even the previous Inspector General of Police that just left, I didn’t know them personally before I appointed them. I follow records. The current acting Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, was appointed based on merit.
“The same thing with the IG, that one was appointed last week. I don’t think I have ever seen him, I follow records. So, appointments in the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies depends on individual performance after recruitment not where you think you come. At least between me and God, this is what I do,” he said.