Controversy Trails Appointments
· Group alleges lopsidedness, wants reversal
· All interests covered, FCTA insists
By Williams ABAH
The appointment of long overdue mandate secretaries for the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, and other heads of agencies and aides, have continued to generate controversy with groups accusing the minister of skewing the appointments in favour of the north.
The appointments were announced on November 22, 2021 more than two years after President Muhammadu Buhari was reelected and the appointment of ministers.
The new mandate secretaries and heads of agencies and departments in a statement by Anthony Ogunleye are: Secretary, Area Council Services Secretariat, Ibrahim Abubakar Dantsoho; Secretary, Agricultural & Rural Development Secretariat, Abubakar Ibrahim; Secretary, Education, Sani Dahir El-Katazu; Secretary, Health & Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Abubakar Tafida, Secretary, Legal Services Secretariat, Muhammad B. Umar and Secretary, Social Development Secretariat, Hadiza Mahammed Kabir.
Others include Secretary, Transportation Secretariat, Zakari Angulu Dobi, Secretary, Economic Planning, Revenue Generation and PPP, Agboola Lukman Dabiri, Coordinator, Satellite Towns Development. Department, Obinna Francis Ogwuegbu, Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Umar Shuaibu and Executive Secretary, FCDA, Engr. Shehu Hadi Ahmed.
Also, Ibrahim Damisa was appointed MD, Abuja Broadcasting Corporation and Dr. Muhammed B. Kawu, General Manager, Hospital Management Board.
An interest group, Young People’s Initiative for Credible Leadership, accused the FCT minister of completely excluding the southern part of the country in the appointments, an act they say does not only breach constitutional provisions, but also disregard the contributions of the three geopolitical zones in the south.
Executive director of the initiative, Abdulwahab Ekekhide, in a statement called for immediate reversal of the appointments to reflect federal character.
“The FCT by status is the Centre of Unity and being the seat of the federal government the constitutional provisions as regards appointments must be followed, but in this new appointments made by the FCT minister, federal character has not been obeyed as there is no representation of the South East, South South and South West Geopolitical zones in the statutory positions of the FCT.
“We are all living witnesses to the fact that it has taken the minister two years plus to appoint mandate secretaries for the FCT. You will recall that ministers were sworn in on August 21, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister is making his appointments on the night of November 22, 2021.
“We the people of Southern Nigeria see this as the height of injustice, marginalisation, lack of equity and total disregard of the contributions of the three geopolitical zones of Southern Nigeria to the development of the FCT.
“We make bold to tell the minister that this will be resisted with everything within our disposal in accordance with the law. As a matter of fact, this is an insult to the entire Southern Nigeria.”
They, therefore, called on the minister to appoint South East, South South and South West as mandate secretaries.
The FCT Administration has, however, refuted the claim as it insists all interests were represented in the latest appointments.
Speaking on behalf of the administration, the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister, Abubakar Sani, said the nation’s capital is a Mini-Nigeria, thus wide consultations were made and consensus reached before the appointments were made.
He said, “If you look at the appointments, the president by the recommendation of the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has taken every interests into consideration and that is why we now have a formidable team to join the minister in developing the territory.
“A careful look at the list of the appointees indicates that no geopolitical zone of this country has been left out. It must also be mentioned that every appointment and position is important for the smooth running of the FCT Administration”.
On whether the appointees can achieve their mandate considering the limited time left for them, Sani said the minister has given the appointees a charge, “I can assure you that as soon as they are sworn in they will hit the ground running.”
The FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, announced the appointment of 26 new appointees as well as the ratification of 14 others.
Among those appointed are 8 mandate secretaries, 5 heads of agencies and 27 political aides for both ministers.
Three journalists, are the Assistant Editor of The Abuja Inquirer, Mr. Austine Elemue, Ikharo Attah and Abubakar Sani, are among the political aides to the ministers.