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FCT Natives Tackle Buhari Over Ministerial Slot

Worried over none inclusion of indigene of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the just released ministerial list of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to the national Assembly, Natives of FCT under the auspices a coalition of Abuja original inhabitants has protested exclusion and marginalisation of the people by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The protest, which was led by Comrade Dalhatu Ezekiel, agitated for a fair representation, as well as justice, as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We wish to draw the attention of Mr. President to the fact in the time past, the original inhabitants of FCT in various capacities have agitated over non recognition of its status as a State and disregard for ministerial appointments through write-ups, personal letters from the FCT natives and our political representatives in the National Assembly.

“We are now more worried sequel to the recent list of ministerial nominees The UNION Inside Abuja  sent by Mr. President to the Senate on the 30th of September, 2015 which was made public on the 6th of October, 2015 with no FCT indigene making the list. We had been optimistic that we would get a slot this time around, owing to Mr. President’s inaugural speech that states ‘I belong to nobody and I belong to everybody.’

“In the light of the above, we therefore wish to once again draw the attention of Mr. President to Section 147(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) that he swore to uphold, which states that “Any appointment under the provisions under subsection (2) of this section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of this section. Provided that in giving effect to the provisions aforesaid, the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State

“Similarly and most importantly, it is clear that FCT is a State, which should be treated as such as enshrined in section 299 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

More so that this section was also interpreted by the Court of Appeal in the case of Okoyode Vs FCDA WRN 97 at page 125 confirming that FCT in law is a State.

“We wish to further bring to the notice of Mr. President that though the FCT original inhabitants have been marginalized for the 39 years shouldn’t be seen as a weakness, but because we still seem to find solace with the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in whom we believe will do justice by righting the wrongs thaw out to the original inhabitants of the FCT by appointing one of our own in his subsequent list of nominees,” Comrade Ezekiel said on behalf of the FCT original inhabitants. They further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to facilitate the appointments of Abuja original inhabitantsinto his cabinet, boards of agencies and parasttals, even as they demanded a status of state for Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

Similarly, Original Inhabitants Youth Empowerment Organisation have also expressed disappointment over the ommission of name from the FCT describing it as an injustice to Abuja indigenes. While speaking to journalists in Abuja, President of the indigenous youth organisation, Commandant Isaac David, said the ommission of name from the FCT was a huge disappointment, further appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to use his well known diligence in choosing a truly committed, detribalized and focused new Minister of FCT, who will be ready to implement the recommendations of various Committees set up in the FCT to address the grievances of the indigenes and empower us.

According to Commandant David, the FCT has a state status which the Court Of Appeal has interpreted the provisions of section 299 of the 1999 Constitution( as Amended) to the effect that FCT is in law a State and should be treated as one of the States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Appointments into political offices at National level are regulated by the 1999 Constitution section 14 and by the Federal Character Establishment Act of 1997. The Act requires that appointments into political and other offices should be given to candidates who are indigenous to the FCT and the States of Nigeria.

“The section further defines the indigene of FCT as “a Nigerian citizen, other than by naturalization, who cannot lay claim to any State of the Federation,” or “is a person born in the FCT and whose descendents lived in the area presently constituting the Federal Capital Territory before 26 February, 1976 and has continued to reside in the Federal Capital Territory after that date.”

“This provision sets out the criteria clearly for selecting appointees to represent the FCT in the Federal Executive Council and the MDAs as a whole. Arising from this, we are worried that the issues raised above were not taken into consideration in the nomination of the Ministers that was sent to the Senate for screening.

“We insist that the appointments be carried out in strict compliance with the principle of Federal Character as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and the Federal Character Commission Act of 1997 and a Minister that satisfies the ‘indigenship’ requirements of the territory be appointed from the original inhabitants as none of the nominees as submitted was born or has lived as a descendant in the Territory before 26 February, 1976, “ he said.

The FCT indigenes said they have for long expected a leader they can trust and who can make promises and keep them, a man who will build bridges of trust and mutual understanding across the country.

–  Kingsley Madaki, Abuja

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