The attention of Middle Belt Youth Forum (MBYF) has been drawn to a recent statement credited to the Kebbi state Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) objecting to the nomination of Gen. Bitrus Boka Ushe (rtd) as minister from Kebbi state by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The reasons advance by the chairman of the party for unilaterally objecting to Ushe’s nomination, according to the statement is that he does not know the nominee in the party and that he has not contributed to the development of Kebbi state.
The MBYF view this as myopic and spark of sentiments and bias typical of the Hausa Fulani oligarchy which northern minorities have continued to suffer.
In the first place, when has the membership of a party become a precondition for ministerial appointment? The 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria only provided for each state of the federation to produce a minister, but did not in any way suggest that a person so nominated must belong to a particular political party, tribe or religion.
It is very obvious that the PDP chairman and his cohorts who are opposed to the nomination of Ushe are doing so simply because of the fact that he is a minority and a Christian from Zuru.
For a long time ethnic minorities in Kebbi state, in spite of their education and the most industrious people have continued to be discriminated and marginalised in the hands of their oppressors.
It may interest the party chairman in Kebbi state to know that former President Obasanjo appointed Mal. Nasir El-Rufai as FCT minister even though he was never a card carrying member of the PDP and never identified himself with the party throughout his tenure as minister.
Also, the late Chief Bola Ige and Mrs Dupe Adelaja, both of whom were chieftains of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) were appointed ministers in spite of the fact that they were in the opposition party. Similarly, the late Mr Steven Akiga and Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Nweala were never known to be card carrying members of any political party, yet they were appointed ministers of police affairs and finance respectively.
The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua also appointed Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande, a Hausa Fulani Muslim from Sokoto state who lives in Jos as a minister representing Plateau state, a predominatly Christian state.
When Dasuki Nakande was appointed, the late President made it categorically clear to those that dared to object to the appointment that it was deliberately given to the Hausa-Fulani settlers in Jos, who to him, did not stand the chance of being fairly considered for appointments in the state.
The Zuru people are also a minority who do not stand the chance of being fairly treated in the affairs of Kebbi state. The Nomination of Gen. Ushe by President Jonathan is to be seen in the same light as the appointment of Dasuki Nakande by Late Yar’Adua.
The people of Zuru emirate have for long been marginalised. It is worthy of note that since 1999 till date, Zuru emirate has been the mainstay of the PDP in Kebbi state. Almost the entire votes that Mr President scored in the 20011 Presidential election in Kebbi state came from Zuru emirate.
We wish to warned that we will no longer tolerate any further attempt to continue to marginalise northern minorities on the basis of tribe or religion. For a long time, some elements in the north have perpetually oppressed northern minorities for no just cause other than on ethnic and religious grounds.
We believe that Mr.President must have seen certain qualities in Gen. Ushe before nominating him for a ministerial appointment. We urged him to disregard the rantings of the party chairman because his position is bias and sectional and not in the national interest.
Hon. Jonathan Asake
National Youth Leader,