For some time now I’ve paid rapt attention to the political happenings in the country with particular interest in Abuja.
Politics has taken a different dimension as every ethnic group seems to be more concerned about what they stand to gain from supporting a particular candidate for the presidency and governorship positions; Abuja seems to be silent on this simply because on the 2nd March, 2019 they will not be privileged to choose for themselves a governor nor a Mayor. Hmmm! Are they not Nigerians? Maybe a special set of Nigerians that need not to choose for themselves a governor. Now, it should be noted that this is not just right. They should be given same opportunity to cast their votes for a governor or mayor. It would be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission had on March 9, 2017, announced dates for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections indicating that Presidential Election would hold on February 16, 2019, while Governorship and State Assembly Elections would be conducted on March 2, 2019.
Well, before the elections I’ve considered it reasonable to remind all Nigerians that Abuja has paid its due for Nigeria and they deserve to be allowed to have for themselves a governor or mayor. There’s no ethnic group that will willingly give up its land for any meaningful national development without any form of protest. But Abuja did and it is yet to benefit from the government. Another example is the non-representation of FCT at Federal Executive Council. While other states have ministers representing them at the highest decision making body in Nigeria, Abuja has none, they are at the mercy of what others decide.
Acquiescing to the Federal Government request to use Abuja land as the Federal Capital Territory should be seen and regarded as one of the most magnanimous acts of patriotism on the part of the Gbagyi and other indigenous people of Abuja. This is because there is hardly any Nigerian ethnic group which would have yielded so easily and quickly to such a request to cede its land for any national development as the original inhabitants of Abuja did. Ironically, the treatment that is reportedly being meted out to these indigenes deserves attention and examination. The seemingly inconsistent laws and policies with which Abuja is administered very often causes frustration and hardship to the indigenes. For the major fact that decades after the establishment of the territory there is still an ambiguous political status of Abuja vis-a-vis the thirty six states of Nigeria implies the different attitudes of the Federal Government towards the welfare of the indigenous and even new inhabitants of the territory. For instance, the appointment of a minister to oversee the affairs of the FCT gives one the impression that the FCT is an equivalent of a federal ministry which is an inanimate entity. On the Contrary, Abuja was, and still is, a tangible socio-political entity inhabited the people with established customs, norms, values and all the attributes of a dynamic society. Abuja has about nine indigenous ethnic groups.
Based on the above, one with a thorough knowledge of history would know that the government and Nigerians have not been fair to the indigenes of Abuja. They have for decades endured the hardship brought upon them the movement of FCT from Lagos to Abuja. One wonders why the government doesn’t think it appropriate to review its laws in order to give the indigenes some level of freedom and equal rights as citizens of Nigeria.
Fellow Nigerians, let’s tell ourselves the truth, the indigenes of Abuja are in pain. They are suffering. They’ve been stripped of their lands and every day one community or the other is demolished leaving for them nothing but mushrooms as homes with no place to cultivate their crops and with virtually no basic amenities to better their lives.
I am of the opinion that instead of making laws that further harden their life, efforts should be made to create for them an avenue to have for themselves an elected governor or mayor and of course a minister to represent them at FEC.
To the natives of Abuja please endeavor to go get your PVCs to exercise your rights and while doing that please vote wisely. Enough of sentimental voting. Your choice of a councilor or chairman has a lot to do with how we are treated. Your choice of a senator and House of Representatives will go a long way to rightly position our case before the government. Please be wise.
Finally, Abuja would be better off when the indigenes are carried along.
Written by: Theotanko Chigudu Wambi Wushapa