President Muhammadu Buhari has said that all appointments into his administration were strictly based on merit and not on ethnic or regional balance.
Buhari stated this on Thursday in an interview with Arise TV.
The President has been criticised by Nigerians for flouting federal character rule and allegedly appointing northerners in strategic positions.
The Nigerian Constitution states that major appointments and other privileges should be shared in such a way that it reflects federal character, that is balance across the 36 states of the federation
But the President said he cannot jettison seniority and merit for balance and federal character.
Buhari added that he cannot favour those who have spent shorter years in service over those that have stayed for a long time.
“People who have been there for 18 years or even for 10 years, they trained in Zaria or in Abeokuta, they come through the ranks.
“And because they served under all the circumstances, the crises and everything and they gradually rise to that status and you think you just pick somebody just to balance up? These positions have to be earned,” the President said.
However, the recent appointment of the Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya, appears to have contradicted the President’s claim.
Yahaya was picked over many of his seniors who have spent more years in service and are now set to go on compulsory retirement.