31 January 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan Blames Unhealthy Rivalry for Delay in Appointing Heads for MDAs

President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday attributed the delay in filling vacancies in the leadership positions in 12 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government to unhealthy rivalry by people from different sections of the country interested in the positions.

He said in Abuja at the swearing in of members of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) and two permanent secretaries that over-ambition and relentless hatred among people from different sections of the country was to blame.

Explaining why the Federal Government was yet to fill the leadership positions in the 12 MDAs, Jonathan said the bane of the federal civil service is lack of accommodation and intolerance by the disparate groups of workers jostling for plum jobs in the name of their states or ethnic groups as well as their supporters.

Until recently, the positions of two ministers, both of which became vacant when one occupant was sacked and the other resigned, took an inordinately long time before the posts were filled.

Similarly, some MDAs, such as the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and others are being headed by interim helmsmen, following the retirement or expiration of the tenures of their erstwhile heads.

According to the president, in order to address this situation, which he acknowledged, "I have told the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to do a proper analysis and probably to wait and accumulate the number of agencies affected.

"Probably if we accumulate them up to 12, when we want to make the appointments, we will make sure that all the geo-political zones get two each.

"All the geo-political zones are complaining that they are not given appointments. In fact, we have some pending appointments because of that."

He said once the evaluation was done and a balance struck, "your conscience will be clear," adding, "That is why some appointments are pending which I hope we will deal with this week. I think they are about 12 or so. We will make sure that all the geo-political zones are accommodated."

The president criticised the attitude of civil servants who

jettison patriotism and nationalism replacing them with self-aggrandisement and urged federal workers to embrace the spirit of unity in the overall interest of the country.

The president, who stressed the need to adhere to the principle of federal character, said doing so would reduce instances of exclusion.

He urged the new appointees to discharge their duties without fear or favour.

"You must learn how to relate with your colleagues because one of the greatest problems we have in the service is people fight over nothing, the relationship between one officer and the other is poor. You must see this country as one; you must treat everybody the same way.

"The Federal Character Commission is very critical. We are in an era where every geo-political zone complains about marginalisation. Initially, I thought that only some parts of the country are marginalised, but when I got here, all the geo-political zones complain that they are marginalised," he added.

He admonished the new members of the FCC to be upright in theirdealings and observe the spirit and letter of the rule of law in the course of performing their duties.

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