By Emmanuel Nduka
The decision of President Bola Tinubu to withdraw the appointment of Imam Kashim Imam, a 24-year-old first-class Mechanical Engineering graduate, as the Board Chairman of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has sparked criticism, especially in northern Nigeria.
Heritage Times HT reports that President Tinubu had reconstituted the governing board and management team of FERMA for a renewable term of four years. Imam was nominated as the Board Chairman.
The nominee who is the son of prominent Borno politician, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, had gained attention for his academic achievements after his appointment, including a first-class degree from the University of Brighton in the UK and a master’s degree from the same institution.
Meanwhile, he had only completed his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in August 2022, prompting questions about his readiness for such a high-ranking government position.
Criticism of Imam’s appointment however intensified, as many Nigerians questioned whether his academic qualifications were enough to justify the appointment, given his supposed lack of work experience.
Reactions on X (formerly Twitter), have now trailed President Tinubu’s order for the reversal of Imam’s appointment, without giving any reason.
The President’s decision was met with criticism from some northerners who expressed their disappointment on social media.
While some had initially called on Tinubu to withdraw Imam’s appointment claiming he lacks the experience required for the position, northerners who reacted to Imam’s withdrawal on Thursday accused the president of marginalising the north by withdrawing the appointments of two young northerners who were appointed to key positions in his government.
It would be recalled that Maryam Shettima, popularly known as Maryam Shetty, had her ministerial appointment withdrawn just hours before her scheduled screening at the Nigerian Senate screening.
Shetty, also from northern Nigeria – Kano State, had arrived at the Senate and was waiting to be screened when news of the withdrawal filtered in.
See some of the reactions on X below:
“It seems like Tinubu only listens when there’s a certain appointment from the North that needs to be revoked, not when there’s some big security or economic problem. It first happened with Maryam Shetty’s appointment as a minister and now Engr. Imam Kashim Imam,” @MFaarees_ wrote.
“You withdrew Mal. Elrufai nomination, along 2 others, you withdrew Maryam Shetty Nomination, you reversed policies you introduced even before its implementation, so many uncertainties from PBAT administration. Are we sure The president is the one in charge,” @Nupe_prince wrote.
“What exactly is happening with nominations and withdrawal of Youths from Northern extraction? Are those appointments made by third party or is same reason of public outrage or incompetence as insinuated during Maryam Shetty’s withdrawal. Something is wrong!!!” @Iamumarfaisal stated.
“Y’all saying the outrage of northerners is why Imam and Maryam shetty are dropped are very funny and annoying at the same time. If outrage really makes impact on Bosun Tijjani and Matawalle wouldn’t have ministers today even though Bosun is doing an excellent job now,” @IU_Wakilii wrote.
“A random guy jst tld me that social media criticism is the reason why Tinubu revoked Imam Kashim Imam appointment likewise Maryam Shetty. I smiled &ignored. I dare all social media critics to bullied Tinubu to sack Wike &Matawalle let see if ur criticism has influence. Amateurs!” @EngrAbdoulaye wrote.
“If Arewa Youths are not appointed in PBAT administration, there should not be any complain; first it was Maryam Shetty now Imam Kashim appointment have been withdrawn. The same Arewa are plotting against their fellow brothers and sisters,” @AbuAbdulHameed7 opined.
“The President has directed the reversal of the nomination of Engr. Imam Kashim Imam, the 25-year-old that was announced as FERMA board chairman. This is the second withdrawal after Maryam Shetty. This is why I like Buhari. You can’t bully him to reverse appointments,” @el_bonga said.