Emmanuel Ebimami is the commissioner representing Delta State in the Federal Character Commission (FCC). He spoke to BLESSING BATURE, on the work of the commission and it’s challenges.
To what extent would you say the Federal Character Commission has fulfilled its mandate of ensuring fairness and equity in the distribution of socio-economic resources under the present administration?
You know the Federal Character Commission was established by the 1999 Constitution section 153 with a clear mandates. The first mandate is about ensuring fair and equitable distribution of posts in public service, the second mandate is about fair and equitable distribution of socio-economic infrastructure in the country.
The first mandate has been dominating the activities of the Federal Character Commission especially that of relating to employment in our companies and public services in the country. So that has been majored, but recently in the second mandate, we are trying to pursue that with some vigour, but so far you know before the FCC there were other policies used in the country that took care of that, for example if you want to join the army, the army will recruit a certain number from each of the state, we have our own template for employment which is for every state you must not employ less than 2.5% and not more than 3%, 1% for the federal capital territory. So that is where we raised our utilities so that each state will be fairly represented.
It is a very big task in this country to implement that to a perfect situation; it is not possible because the level of education in this country is not even. Some parts of this country are more literate than the others, so in trying to fix people into positions it is always very difficult to have even distribution across the board, but all the same, we have been doing all our best to see that we comply with that.
Most at times you see in the public where some NGOs or some government organisations just narrowly do things in preference because of narrow-mindedness trying to employ people because of the area they come from which is not fair and that is why we have this for the distribution of positions in the country and also appointments. Sometimes you will see even in the government or political appointments, there should be fair because what we are pursuing in this country is unity and through this we can also create unity but if there is loop sidedness in the distribution of this posts, infrastructure and socio-economic development you will see that unity will be loosen, that is why we must do our best to enforce the federal character government.
How would you say you have represented Delta State at the Commission?
Well I am very conscious of this distribution, we have to spread opportunities. I represent Delta and Delta interest is my focus, however, we are not employers, we are regulators. When we have the opportunities sometimes we help our people but we are always very conscious of this like I did some months ago, when I had three opportunities and I spread it among the south, central and north, even when they were not here. I did not know them officially, I got the opportunity to nominate some body for the Federal College of Education and one for oversea, that is, those who have first class or upper division to study abroad for scholarship. I picked one from the south; the one for college of education, I picked the one from the north and the other one I picked from the central, I have record; I keep record of whatever I do here in terms of those I assist and that is the job and that is what we do here though.
You cannot please everybody, some people will quarrel with you that they submitted their CV but they don’t know that we are not employers, we are regulators. It is only when we have opportunities to fix people that we use these our office.
I just pick them from the database we collected, so what we do is that we collect CV from people seeking appointment and jobs. From this database, I file them in order of their disciplines and the local government area where the applicants comes from, so I make sure Delta interest is equally represented.
I have been doing my best for my state. My state has three senatorial districts, 25 local government areas which have the same lesson or principle at the state level that is why we always spread it among the senatorial district.
The standard of education has continued to nose-dive. What is your recipe for the falling standard of education today?
Well you know things have changed even in this country the population of the people attending the universities has increased and there is likely tendency of things getting a bit slower than our time. If you check our orientation, it’s quite different from that of the students who are now in the universities, so there will likely be a shift in terms of attitudes. I think older people like us were more concerned about achieving what we went to do. Students nowadays will know the truth some of them will not be serious with what they go to do in the university or want to achieve at the university but I think generally, we expect that things will improve, development will also improve in the country so I believe that no matter the situation of the universities the standards are still ok.
What advice will you give to managers of tertiary institutions in the country?
Well I had the opportunity of interacting with the University of Lagos, I think they have much work to do because the number of students nowadays is not just like the time we attended university their has been increase in the population of the students as a result of the increase in the population of the country. My happiness is that as long as the standards are kept, then more opportunities are coming especially now that we have good private universities operating in the country.
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