Natives of the Federal Capital Territory under the banner of Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA) have commended the National Conference for giving voice to the aspirations of Abuja natives through the approval of a Mayoral status for Abuja; One (1) Ministerial slot for FCT; Two (2) additional Federal Constituencies; Two (2) additional Area Councils; an FCT Commission for indigenous people and asking the Federal Government to accelerate compensation for owners of seized lands in the nation’s capital.
A press statement signed by OIDA Media Adviser, Sumner Shagari Sambo states that “a democratically elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor will aid good governance and accountability to the FCT electorate unlike the present ministerial system that lacks transparency and accountability to the people. It will also put Nigeria on the global map as one of the countries with an elected mayor that runs its capital city in accordance with democratic best practises.”
The FCT original inhabitants say the recommendations of the General Ike Nwachukwu and Mohammed Kumalia led-Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government is in tandem with the natives’ desire for a democratic system that allows Abuja indigenous people and other Nigerians resident in the city to freely elect leaders that can be directly held accountable by them.
“The National Conference recommendation gives credence to Abuja natives’ quest for democratization of governance in the FCT as contained in its memoranda submitted to the National Assembly in 2013 and as earlier proposed by the former Minister of State (FCT) Barrister Solomon Ewuga-led ministerial committee on FCT Indigeneship, Land and Political Administration in Year 2000,” the statement added.
While expressing hope that the National Assembly and the 36 States Houses of Assembly will pass the approved National Conference recommendations as proposed into an amended constitution, the FCT people thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for supporting Abuja natives’ demands and for convoking the National Conference to help restructure Nigeria. They also thanked all FCT delegates to the National Conference for a job well done.
The FCT group however disclosed its resolve to continue agitation for two additional senatorial districts, two House of Representatives constituencies and eight more area councils due to population explosion in Abuja which has made the Territory to be at par with some states in the country.
OIDA also reminded Nigerians of the July 4th 1978 policy reversal made by ex-Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo to stop the evacuation of FCT natives as earlier recommended by the Justice Akinola Aguda. This decision affirmed that FCT has never been a “virgin land” or “no man’s land” as misconceived by some Nigerians.
Condemning the recent demolition of some indigenous communities in Jahi and Lungu villages around Gwarimpa district which led to massive protests and arrests, OIDA commended the prompt release of the arrested community leaders but are asking the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed to discontinue their prosecution in court as he earlier promised.
As INEC prepares to distribute the new permanent voters card in Abuja, OIDA urged all FCT natives to ensure that they prepare adequately for the electoral cycle by getting their cards promptly so that they will vote-in performing political office holders that have the interest of original inhabitants and FCT residents in 2015.
The group also condemned all the bomb blasts in Abuja and other parts of Nigeria, calling on the Federal Government to do all within its powers to protect the seat of government and compensate all victims and families of the terrorist attacks.
Sumner Shagari Sambo
Media Adviser, OIDA