By Awaal Gata
The Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA) has warned ‘political sycophants’ in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), “especially the supporters of FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, to stop playing politics” with the constitutional and socio-economic demands of Abuja natives.
Reacting to recent media publications and broadcast by some unknown groups calling on the Minister not to leave FCT to pursue his political ambitions in Bauchi state due to his alleged positive impact on Abuja natives, the umbrella-body of FCT original inhabitants advised indigenous communities and residents of the territory to disregard such ‘sycophantic groups.’
In a statement signed by OIDA’s Media Adviser, Sumner Shagari Sambo, the pan-FCT group said “certain policies and mega projects of the present FCT Administration like Landswap, Centenary City Project and many others are all aimed at short-changing Abuja natives and “we see no reason why some unknown groups will claim that our people have benefited from such elitist policies that do not even benefit ordinary Nigerians resident in Abuja.
“More comical is the fact that such groups making the calls are led by the immediate beneficiaries of the rejected Landswap scheme in their capacity as consultants or so-called community liason officers. What else are they expected to do, if not to praise their benefactors to high heavens?”
The statement adds that: “Abuja indigenous people remain cheated without proper resettlement and compensation for their seized lands as enshrined in Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), hence, OIDA’s rejection of such policies as Landswap, which in our view, debases the humanity of the original inhabitants whose lands continue to be illegally taken away for over 38 years now by the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The group says it has repeatedly drawn the attention of the FCTA to the huge developmental challenges facing Abuja natives and communities such as lack of schools, teachers, hospitals and roads in the townships and villages without receiving a reply.
“While we appreciate some modest developments achieved in the areas of transportation, water supply and revival of the Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA) by the Senator Bala-led FCTA; we however believe he could have done more given the huge resources at his disposal. Majority of Nigerians resident in Abuja keep congesting our communities and over-stretching facilities put in place by communal
efforts of the FCT natives instead of FCT administration,” the statement said.
According to the statement, “Senator Bala is the longest serving FCT Minister apart from Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni’s military tenure, but if truth be told Abuja natives have not benefited much from his long stay in government. His performance remains average when compared to other longest serving ex-FCT ministers like Nasir El-Rufa’i.
“Why has the Nyanya-AYA road remained a nightmare, causing daily untold hardship to Nigerians and natives, when it took former minister El-Rufa’i less than three years to expand the same road and build two overhead bridges in Karu and Nyanya? Why is the Karshi-Apo new road taking forever to be completed?”
The group said while it does not hold personal grudges against the Minister for the lack of democratic laws for proper governance of the FCT, “we however feel slighted by the groups using Senator Bala Mohammed’s name to hoodwink Nigerians and Abuja residents into believing that the Territory cannot function without him. We feel these unknown groups are being sponsored by fifth columnists to influence President Goodluck Jonathan into reappointing their mentor in the event of a cabinet reshuffle or after winning the 2015 election. We want such groups to be called to order.
“OIDA also cautions these groups not to turn the FCT natives into a laughing stock before other Nigerians. We shall resist all attempts to trivialize or introduce divide-and-rule politics into the struggle for the liberation of Abuja indigenous people from the administrative bottle-necks put in place by past military and civilian regimes to annihilate the aspirations of our people for equality and justice in the Nigerian federation.”
The group asked FCT residents to pay little attention to such ‘sycophantic groups’ whether they come in the guise of original inhabitants, resident associations or religious groups.
As the 2015 elections approach, the group also urged all FCT natives and residents to vote in better representatives into the National Assembly that will often protect their interest without fear.