According to an investigative report by Daily Trust, without following due process, the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) illegally recruited 4,916 workers in the last three years, as an analysis of official documents revealed that over 90% of the recruitment, which favoured the southern part of the country, was done from 2013 to 2015.
It was gathered that the vacancies were neither declared nor advertised for qualified and interested persons to compete for the positions, as the documents showed that the agency responsible for hiring workers for the federal government, recruited 486 in 2013; 4,368 in 2014 and 50 in 2015 without adhering to federal character principles.
The federal character principle requires even distribution of the positions across the country, but the FCSC hired 73.9 percent of the staff from the South, leaving only 26.1 percent for the North.
The Federal Character Commission (FCC) said the recruitment “threw away all common sense and wisdom of national cohesion and integration by favouring other states to the detriment of others.”
According to the report, South-south and South-west geo-political zones got the lion’s share of the recruitments over the three-year period at the expense of the rest of the zones in the country, the official documents revealed.
South-south got 1,647 (33.6 per cent); South-west 1,336 (27.2 percent); South-east 642 (13.1 percent); North-central 509 (10.4 percent); North-west 447 (9.1 percent) and North-east 323 (6.6 percent).
The FCC Act No 34 of 1996 prescribes fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socio-economic infrastructures among the various federating units of the country. The federal character commission derives its powers from sections 14 (3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution.
A revealed document showed that the FCSC might have jettisoned federal character in its recruitments as Delta state alone got 13.1 percent of the total public positions as against Jigawa and Ebonyi states that got 0.7 percent each.
States with the highest slots are Delta, 642; Ogun 295, Oyo 254 and Edo 240, while those with least slots include the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which got 22 and Jigawa and Ebonyi which had 36 each.
It was learnt that the FCC had written to the FCSC over the ‘breach’ of the federal character principles in the recruitment.
The letter dated May 3, 2016 and signed by the acting Executive Chairman of the FCC, Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba, described the recruitment as ‘glaringly lopsided’ and the federal character principle as ‘grossly abused.’
The FCC said it was inconceivable and unjust for the South-south to be allocated 33.6 percent of the total candidates recruited as against 26 percent allocated to the North-east, North-west and North-central combined.
The letter also questioned the allocation of 27.2 percent of the candidates recruited from the South-west, more than the allocation of the entire three zones of the North combined.
“In retrospect, this breach couldn’t have occurred if the leadership of the Civil Service Commission had listened to our clarion call for partnership and synergy to enable a just, fair and equitable distribution of these posts,” the letter read.
Dr Joel Oruche, the spokesperson of the FCSC, told a correspondent that the discrepancies in the recruitments within the past few years could be attributed to specific staff requirements from the MDAs in specialised fields, gender factors, presidential awardees for 2012, 2013 and 2014, who were granted automatic employments, skilled physically challenged and wider range of job selection for states with limited skilled manpower.
“The Principle of Federal Character is a dynamic process and it requires balancing from time to time. In addition to our effort, educational imbalance has contributed to its slow process and it would take some time for a full accomplishment of the desired national result. It is not only in the North that we have this sort of imbalance, it also affects some disadvantaged states in the South,” he said.
He said to address such discrepancies, where some states could not meet up with the selection criteria, Kaduna and Kogi states enjoyed higher allocation to address North-South imbalance.
Idris Abdullahi, the special assistant on media to FCC chairman, said “We seem to have an issue with the Federal Civil Service Commission. They felt they are independent and there are many independent bodies. The constitution is so clear that the composition of the government of the federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria,” he said.