President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday that his appointments are based on merit and not ethnic consideration.
Buhari speaking on Arise Television interview said he will not make appointments to balance ethnicity.
Critics have accused Buhari of lopsided appointments, which ran afoul of the principles of federal character, especially in the appointment of service chiefs.
His appointments across board, they said, have been tilted heavily in favour of the north.
Of recent, the president appointed Major-General Farouk Yahaya as the Chief of Army Staff to replace Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a plane crash.
Yahaya was appointed even though there are dozens of senior military officers with requisite qualification for the position.
However, Buhari justified his appointment on the premise that was the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, the counter-insurgency operation in the North-east.
Buhari said: “They trained in Zaria or Abeokuta, they come through the ranks and because they served under all the circumstances, the crises and everything and they gradually rise to the status.
“And you think, you will just pick somebody just to balance up. These positions have to be earned. There are people who have been there for 10 to 15 years.”
The president also dispelled the insinuation that the Southeast has been neglected by his government.
“You better get the list of our civil servants, if you think there are no people from the Southeast. There are people from the Southeast,” he said.