Relief as new FCT council chairmen resume duty

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Swearing-in of chairman and councilors of Abaji area council Hon Abdullahi Abubakar Umar (aka farar Aniya)

Newly elected Abuja area council executive chairmen and councillors resumed duty on Wednesday in the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT ) after three months of uncertainty and suspense caused by a High Court order which stopped the handover process.

The executive members, who were elected February 12, 2022 were sworn into office on Tuesday by the FCT Minister, Mallam Mohammed Musa Bello, after the court vacated its order and dismissed the suit brought by former council chairmen who sought to extend their stay in office from three to four years.

A carnival-type victory fanfare and merriment, which spilled into Tuesday night were observed throughout the territory as supporters of the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) jubilated to usher in the new council executive members.

Recall that at the FCT Area council election, the two major parties secured three area councils each out of the six councils and also shared the councillorship positions.

The APC controls Gwagwalada , Kwali and Abaji while the PDP dominated Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Kuje and Bwari area councils.

Speaking in an interview, the Abaji Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar Umar Fara-Aniya, promised to transform the area council into a model to be envied in the next three years.

He also promised to vigorously pursue youth and women empowerment by providing employment opportunities and raising the educational levels of the people to enable them become better citizens.

“I will work according to the directives of the FCT minister who asked us to focus on four cardinal programmes of the APC which are education, security, sanitation, empowerment of youths and women,” he said.

Speaking also with newsmen, the Gwagwalada Area  Council Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Jibrin Giri, commended the FCT minister for taking prompt action to obey the court judgement by swearing in the new executive members after three months suspense.

Giri stated that the minister’s action has advanced democracy in the territory since it allowed the people who were duly chosen by the electorate to start work as directed by the court.

He promised to hit the ground running with youth and community friendly programmes that will provide employment and needed development in the area council.

“Everybody is happy today in Abuja because the minister has sworn-in the new executive members. This is one of the ways to provide dividends of democracy by allowing the people’s voice to prevail.

“We believe that democracy has been enhanced by this singular action of the minister and we are assuring the people, especially in Gwagwalada that they will not regret electing us to serve them,” Abubakar remarked.

FCT Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sunday Zakah applauded the quick intervention of the minister stressing that the inauguration of the new council executives made everyone happy, irrespective of party affiliation while speaking with newsmen.

“The minister of FCT made everyone happy with the inauguration of the new chairmen and councillors. Even though we are in different parties, I want to commend his action and to call on the officials to do everything possible to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.

“The electorate are happy since yesterday because their mandate was restored and people were waiting eagerly for this day. Politics apart, we believe that God’s time is the best. The effort to extend the tenure of former chairmen was not proper but we know that enemies of democracy were at work.”

On the failed tenure extension effort for area council chairmen, Zakah appealed to politicians and especially interested parties to use proper legal processes to obtain clear interpretation of the new electoral act on the matter.

Zakah called on the new chairmen to heed the advice of the FCT minister and pursue viable, community friendly projects which can be completed within the time frame of their three year tenure in office to avoid waste.