Edwin Clark, an elder statesman and an Ijaw national leader, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of Suleiman Abba, a former inspector-general of police (IGP), as chairman of the Police Trust Fund (PTF) board.
Abba’s appointment was announced in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, on Wednesday.
Shehu said the decision was in furtherance of Buhari’s commitment to retooling policing architecture in the country.
Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan had fired Abba for allegedly showing support for Buhari shortly after the 2015 elections.
But Clark said the appointment is tantamount to compensating wrongdoing.
The convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) argued that Buhari breached the federal character principle by picking Abba to head the fund.
“It is pertinent to state that the prerogative of ensuring that this aspect of the laws of the land is implemented and or executed lies squarely on the shoulders of the president of the country, presently, Muhammadu Buhari,” Clark said.
“However, it is quite disturbing that the same man who swore to uphold the laws of the land is flagrantly breaching them. A case in point is the recent re-appointment of Suleiman Abba as chairman, board of trustees, Nigeria Police Trust Fund, on May 5, 2023.
“Suleiman Abba is from Jigawa state, in the north western geo-political zone. The previous secretary of the fund, Mr. Abdullahi Bala is from Sokoto state, also from north western geo-political zone. One expected that if the chairman of the board of trustees of the police fund is from the northern part of the country, the secretary should come from the south and vice versa, because this is one of the ways of keeping Nigeria’s unity.
“But in appointing people to the board, President Muhammadu Buhari disregarded the provisions of the federal character as enshrined in the country’s constitution. President Buhari has a penchant for doing this. And this is very unfortunate.”
Clark asked Buhari to take advantage of the few days to the end of his tenure to re-examine his actions and make amends.
“Today, President Muhammadu Buhari is eulogising and praising the legacy of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, his peaceful conduct during the 2015 general elections when he conceded defeat,” Clark said.
“The question President Muhammadu Buhari should ask himself is what legacy does he want to leave after his years as a civilian president? Is it that of compensating people with appointments, most times the juicier ones, for aiding and executing wrong acts, such as he has just done for Suleiman Abba and his cohorts, who were alleged to have conspired and worked to remove Dr. Jonathan from office at all cost?
“Is it that of breaching the constitution of the country? Is it that of nepotism? Is it that of leaving the country more divided and more devastated than he met it?
“There is still room to make amends within the remaining few days that Mr. President has embarked on appointing people to offices, if it can be evenly distributed to all sections of the country, as stipulated in the federal character laws, and not in a manner of compensating wrongdoing.
“I also advise President Buhari to obey court rulings, including that delivered on Nnamdi Kanu. And as he winds up his tenure, to re-examine his actions.”