According to Pelumi Olajengbesi, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, it will be an injustice for the indigenous people of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) if the current administration does not offer the FCT a cabinet post.
Olajengbesi, the Managing Partner of the Law Corridor, an Abuja-based law company, urged President Bola Tinubu on Friday not to deny the FCT the benefits of statehood.
He claimed it would be hypocritical not to give the FCT a cabinet post after the party deemed the FCT a state when pushing for the 25 percent vote criteria in the presidential election.
He said that during the 2023 presidential election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) maintained that the FCT is a state, citing Sections 134 (1) (b) and (2) (b), with emphasis on “two-thirds of all the states in the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
“For the sake of fairness, justice, and equity, President Bola Tinubu’s APC-led government should not deny the Federal Capital Territory a ministerial slot, just as each of the 36 states gets at least one ministerial slot,” he stated.
Olajengbesi stated that his call was in accordance with Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution on the federal character principle, which aims to promote national unity, inspire national loyalty, and give every Nigerian a sense of belonging to the country.
Furthermore, Section 14 (3 and 4) of the 1999 Constitution states that the composition of the Government of the Federation must reflect Nigeria’s federal nature and the need to promote national unity.
Also see Combating cross-border crime in the FCT and surrounding states.
“The APC-led administration should give the aboriginal people of Abuja a sense of belonging and a ministerial slot to an indigene, just as each of the 36 states produced indigenes as members of the Federal Executive Council.”
Olajengbesi remarked that no Abuja native had been appointed FCT Minister since the country’s restoration to democracy in 1999, despite the fact that political parties exploit the FCT as a state to obtain the necessary constitutional votes to win the presidential election.
He mentioned Ibrahim Bunu, who served as FCT minister from May 1999 to February 2001 (Borno State), and Mohammed Abba Gana, who served from February 2001 to July 2003 (Borno State).
Others were Nasir Elrufai (Kaduna State) from July 2003 to July 2007; Aliyu Modibbo Umar (Gombe State) from July 2007 to October 2008; and Adamu Aliero (Kebbi State) from December 2008 to April 2010.
He also named Bauchi’s Bala Mohammed as the seat’s incumbent from April 2010 to May 2015.
According to the legal practitioner, Mohammed Bello, the immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory under previous President Muhammadu Buhari, is from Adamawa, while his Minister of State, Ramatu Aliyu, is from Kogi.