Natives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have condemned the absence of an indigene of Abuja name from the 42 ambassadorial-designate nominees list sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate for confirmation.
The natives which consist of stakeholders and indegenous civil society organisations from cross sections of the FCT in an emergency press briefing yesterday questioned the offence they have committed against the present administration for them to marginalized and denied of rightful political positions.
Speaking on behalf of the natives at the briefing, Commandant Isaac David, President of Abuja Original Inhabitants Youths Empowerment Organisation (AOIYEO) asked the federal government to come out with convincing reason why the FCT indigenes were omitted from the submmited list.
The natives in a strong term questioned the rationale behind the endless desire by the Buhari led administration to relegate FCT natives to second hand citizens in their own land, asking, “what have we done to Buhari to deserve all this distance presence from the government?”
“The omission of FCT indigenes from the summited list is suspicion that it could have been left out due to its stance during the last election of voting for Buhari for the president, while voting for the lone Senator and two House of Assembly members for the PDP.
“We did this because the FG government decided in its pettiness not to place a special priority on the plight of of the FCT indigenes, who on daily basis because of government’s position languish in poverty, neglect and marginalisation.
“The holistic picture of this present administration has so far shown that the president has not come to terms that the FCT people contributed hugely to votes he got to win his last election.
“With what we are seeing presently, we may be forced to believe in the statement of President Muhammadu Buhari when he described residents of the FCT, as necessary evil for not voting for him during the February 23 presidential election.
“We are aware and still alive to testify of the legacy and grassroots achievements of President Buhari, which has given us the confidence to say that all hope is not lost. We believe that the President Buhari will still consider an indigene of the FCT for the ambassadorial position, which is our constitutional right.
“If that is not done, it potents danger for the future of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the FCT. Because, the continuous commission of the names of Abuja indigenes from ministerial, ambassadorial and other political appointment lists, is a direct incitement of violence from the indigenes against the government, and could be seen as a ‘Time Bomb’ waiting to explode,” the natives said.
According to the natives, FCT ministers have always been attending the National Economic Council (NEC), where only governors attend and chaired by the Vice Presidents in line with the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)
They explained that the FCT has statutory representatives in the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
“Like every other state, FCT has a Chief Judge, Governor (President Buhari) and State House of Assembly (National Assembly in line with Sections 299, 300, 301, 302 and 303 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). With these FCT has all the trappings of a typical state in Nigeria.
“If we look at the case between Okoyode versus FCDA, the Court of Appeal has ruled that FCT is a state. In the case of Okoyode vs FCDA (2005) Vol. 27, Weekly Reports of Nigeria(WRN) 97 – 153 at PP 125 and 149 per Hon. Justice Raphael Rowland, JCA in delivering the lead judgment said:
“On whether the Federal Capital Territory is in law a state, the Court of Appeal said that by virtue of section 299 of the Constitution of the Federation, the Federal Capital Territory is in law a state. In other words the Federal Capital Territory should be treated as one of the states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It follows therefore that bodies like the Federal Capital Development Authority are to be regarded an agency of a ‘state’ independent of the Federal Government. Section 299 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 has clear and unambiguous provisions to the effect that the Federal Capital Territory is in law a State.
“It is law that where provision of statute is clear and unambiguous only its natural meaning will suffice. There is a plethora of cases on this points. The 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. Part 11 of the laws of the federation of Nigeria as amended in 2004 provides that, ‘no person shall lay claim to more than one state or to a state and the Federal Capital Territory
“The size and population of FCT is more than some states such as Ebonyi, Bayelsa etc yet they all have three Senators each and more House of Representatives members,” they said.
OIAYEO president however, called on the FCT minister, Mallam Musa Muhammad Bello, to rise up to the challenge and fight for the state being FCT, where he governs as the FCT minister and equally as a governor, that he can not be a minister and list of appointees are passed without his contribution.