The decades old agitation for a mayoral status for the FCT suffered a major setback following the recent arrest of key agitators by the State Security Services, SSS.
The president of the Abuja Original Inhabitants Youths Empowerment Organisation, AOIYEO, Comrade Isaac David, was picked up by security agents after reports of a planned mayoral election came to fore.
AOIYEO had in a press conference, last week, announced plans to conduct a community mayor election in the nations’ capital.
Secretary General of the organisation, Comrade Yahuza Abubakar, said the election will ensure effective inclusiveness in governance, insisting that the lack of community participation in the decision making process puts the indigenes at a disadvantage, as the principal concern for local administration in the FCT ought to be that of local service delivery.
According to Abubakar, “Abuja’s leaders have owed their mandate to the president, not to the people. The minister owes her mandate to the president; the citizens of the state have little influence on policy concerning community security, socio-economic and political developments or evolvement.”
Comrade David, who said he was only invited by the DSS to explain certain aspects of the briefing, said the mayoral election has been put on hold as the group is looking to exploit other avenues for their agitation.
“The idea of a mayoral election is in the pipeline for now because of the issue of constitutional amendment that is being mulled by government. We want to give them a chance and see what plans they have for we the people of FCT to be able to govern ourselves.
“There have been calls and agitations for self-rule with most of them being hostile in their approach, but we decided to use a different approach to talk to government. The issue is most times government has a wrong impression about us, they feel if you allow these people rule themselves then there will be problem, but that is not true, the truth is, if you don’t empower the people today, there will be problem in the future with issues of insecurity.”
He advises government to take advantage of the agitation to politically empower the people and give them a sense of belonging.
The AOIYEO president, who believes the mayoral position is just an issue of nomenclature, said the administration should use the opportunity of the constitutional review to appoint or elect a Mayor for the Federal Capital City, which is the seat of power.
Though the AOIYEO president said the group will continue to agitate for a state or mayoral statues for the FCT within the ambit of the law, he warned that Abuja indigenes may soon run out of options.
In his words, “We may later have no option but to listen to the yearnings of our people because every group has the right to self-rule.
When contacted, the administration said any group has the right to agitate once it was within the ambit of the law.
Media Adviser to the FCT Minister of State, Mr. Austine Elemue, said every Nigerian has the right to agitate for what they believe is best for them, but said any election was towards that end was illegal.