The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has urged the Federal Character Commission (FCC) to set up a compliance unit that will monitor the distribution of federal government appointments and infrastructural facilities across the country, in line with the principle of federal character.
Obaseki made the call on Thursday, at the commission’s seminar for South-South Zone, with the theme: The Spread of Socio-economic and Infrastructural Facilities – Need for Strategic Partnership with Stakeholders,” in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
According to the governor, “we must constantly project a national outlook in the appointments of Nigerians into federal ministries and agencies and ensure that infrastructural facilities are evenly spread across the country. We must reinforce the principles of fairness, equity, justice, which form the tripod upon which the Federal Character Commission rests.
“To ensure harmony in our polity, I will suggest that the Federal Character Commission establish a compliance monitoring department that will scrutinise federal government appointments and the distribution of infrastructural projects across the country. The compliance monitoring department should raise the red flag when the provisions of the Federal Character are abused or flouted.”
Obaseki who was represented at the event by the Special Adviser on Special Duties, Yakubu Gowon, advised that “If appointments and infrastructures are skewed or tilted in favour of one part of the country or state, those from other parts of the country will feel short-changed and become agitated.”
He said “stories abound of how some people abuse the provisions of the Federal Character. We learnt that some people fraudulently change their states of origin and take over appointment slots reserved for other states. This is condemnable.”
On synergy, Obaseki told the commission “to strengthen synergy with the state governments and publicise its activities by advertising appointment slots regularly, so that the various state governments can utilise their respective slots. I recommend that similar strategy should be adopted in the allocation of infrastructural facilities.”
He said: “There is a raging debate about whether the Federal Character Commission has outlived its usefulness and therefore should be scrapped. Some argue that the principle of federal character negates meritocracy, industry and creativity. My position is that, everything in life is dynamic. The only institutions that die with time, are those that refuse to modify their ways to keep steps with changing times and trends.
“My recommendation is that the commission should be ready to reinvent its systems from time to time so that it is not left behind.