Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Philip Aduda, on Thursday berated the Federal Government for ignoring calls to use democratic instruments to bestow the FCT a state status. The implication, he said, is that the people of the territory are observers while the other 36 states of the federation cast votes for governors and House of Assemblies candidates.
Speaking at a press conference, Aduda who lost his parliamentary election to the Labour Party candidate, insisted that the disenfranchisement of the FCT natives constitutes injustice and they are looking forward to the court for remedy by giving effect to the Court of Appeal judgement of January 2018.
The outgoing senator said: “I want to use this opportunity to address some fundamental issues as it concerns the good people of the FCT.
“That while other Nigerians will be going to their respective states on Saturday to elect their governors and state houses of assembly members, the FCT people will be at home watching them.
“This wouldn’t have been so if the federal government had yielded to calls for the democratisation and second-tier government for the people of the FCT.
“Over the years, we have made concerted calls and pursued the institution of a second-tier government in the FCT so as to address injustices as this, but to our surprise, there are still some people who feel that it is not an injustice and this disenfranchisement of the people of the FCT should continue unabated.”
A state status, Aduda argued, would improve the political leadership of the FCT and cater for the seeming influx of people into the territory, even as it would have afforded the natives and residents the opportunity to determine their political leaders by themselves.
He added: “We are praying that the judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered in January 2018 and the recent interpretation and judgement of the Supreme Court describing the status of the FCT as a state be implemented by the federal government.
“The people of the FCT ought to be treated as an integral part of the nation by allowing them to exercise their right to vote and produce their political leaders at that level.
“This concern forms our periodic advocacy for a mayoral status for the FCT. But, unfortunately for us, when the Mayoral Status Bill was presented on the floor of the Senate, some senators voted against it probably because I was the only senator among 108 members advocating for such an amendment. Despite the FCT ranking as one of the fastest developing cities around the world and, naturally, ought to be conferred with such status, just like New York City in the US and London in the UK. Again, that will go down as another lost opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of the indigenes and residents of the FCT.”