Written by Austine ELEMUE

Ministerial nomination: Again, FCT natives knock Buhari over non-inclusion · Plan protest · Stakeholders want Bello back to FCT

As President Muhammadu Buhari declares open a presidential retreat for ministerial designates, Monday, natives of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have warned that they will not allow the present administration to mark one year in office without appointing one of theirs as minister.

The natives also maintained that they will embark on what they described as "citizens engagement" to stop the planned inauguration of the ministerial designates billed Wednesday, August 21. 

The latest warning is coming on the heels of a suit on behalf of the natives by Musa Baba Panya Esq, last Thursday, seeking the Federal High Court Abuja to restrain the president from conducting the inauguration over the exemption of FCT indigenes from the list.

Spokesman of Abuja natives, Comrade Yunusa Yusuf, told our correspondent, in an interview that the natives have crossed the Rubicon and there is no going back on the issue of ministerial appointment and other constitutional matters that affect the status of Abuja as a state. 

Yusuf, who expressed confidence that the natives will get favourable judgment before the planned inauguration of a new cabinet, however threatened that the natives have been pushed to a brick-wall and it was natural to fight back. 

He also regretted that all constitutional means and dialogues that could lead to peaceful resolutions of the matter have proved abortive. 

"We are very hopeful that on Monday we will get judgment on this matter. However, I want to assure you that we will continue to demand for our rights as clearly spelt out in the constitution. We will embark on citizens’ engagement to achieve our collective objective.

"If you like call it protest or whatever name, but one thing you can take home is the fact that we (Abuja natives) will not allow President Muhammadu Buhari to mark one year in office without appointing an Abuja native as minister. You can quote me anywhere," he vowed. 

According to Yusuf, the natives are not demanding for the portfolio of FCT minister, rather the fulfilment of a constitutional demand by the federal government.  

The natives in their suit by Panya contends that the president was in contempt of a Court of Appeal judgement delivered on January 15, 2018 compelling him to immediately appoint an indigene of the FCT as Minister of the Federation.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo has fixed the motion to Monday, August 20 for judgement.

Barring any last minute judgment stopping the president from proceeding with the inauguration, former FCT minister, Mohammad Musa Bello, and others will get their portfolios this Wednesday.

This is even as the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, stakeholders in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have called for the reappointment of Bello as FCT minister.

Comrade Suleiman Saidu, FCT Chapter Coordinator of APC Progressives Vanguard in company of Idris Umar -Farouq, North-Central Zonal Coordinator of the group, told journalists in Abuja that the former minister recorded significant milestones in the territory and should be brought back for continuity.

"It is our prayer that President Buhari would consider Mohammad Bello, to continue as minister of FCT because of the good working relationship we had with him and because when he came on board there were abandoned projects by the past administrations which he executed and that is exactly what we want. Government is a continuous process and we admire him and we are seeking the attention of the president to reappoint him to be FCT minister.

"The president lives in the FCT and sees most of the programmes that this man has done so far in the FCT. For us, in the aspect of security, we will want to give it to Bello. In infrastructure, he has tried, even when we were in recession, he was able to put one or two infrastructure. So for these reasons, even if the president is not having it in mind, we are speaking today to the world to reconsider and still bring him back to us", Saidu stated.



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