COLD WAR BETWEEN FCT MINISTER OF STATE AND AREA COUNCILS CHAIRMEN DEEPENS

Igho Oyoyo

Chairmen of the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) now take decisions and implement policies on their own in total disregard to superior authorities, LEADERSHIP Sunday findings have revealed.

Administratively, the minister of state for FCT, Ramatu Aliyu, has the responsibility of supervising activities in the six area councils of the FCT, with the council chairmen reporting to her whenever they want to make decisions on policies or issues bordering on the people.

It was gathered the case is quite different now, as most of the council chairmen are now answerable to themselves without recourse to any constituted authority.

The development, it was learnt, has severed their working relationship between the minister and the council chairmen and is gradually brewing a cold in the FCT Administration.

The FCT administration, under the supervision of the office of the FCT minister of state, has accused the chairmen of the area councils of hardheadedness and insubordination to the superior office.

A senior director in the FCTA who did not want his name in print said the council chairmen no longer report to elected FCT representatives at the National Assembly and the Area Council Services Secretariat on issues pertaining to the councils.

According to him, the chairmen no longer care about the security situation of their councils, and they have demonstrated it by their absence at security meetings summoned by the minister of state for FCT.

The source told our correspondent: “Despite several warnings and threats by the minister of state, the chairmen still show a lackadaisical attitude towards security matters in the area councils. They are either late or not present at such meetings.

“They are only punctual and physically present during the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) meetings where monies are shared to their councils.

“Some of the chairmen who at different occasions, publicly alluded to their independence as elected officers not answerable to appointed officials, have been appointing chiefs in their councils despite the ban on such appointments”.

The source further disclosed that the FCT administration had in 2016 suspended all chieftaincy-related appointments in traditional institutions across the territory due to the numerous complaints, petitions and legal tussles by interested parties.

“However, despite the ban, from the information we got, the chairman of Kwali area council, Hon. Chiya Danladi has issued some persons with appointment letters as district heads of Yebu, Dafa, Kilankwa, and Wako communities respectively.

“We have been reliably informed that documentation by the head of administration at the Kwali area council for the various appointees preparatory to placing them on monthly allowances has been processed,” he said.

LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that the meeting of all the Gbagyi chiefs was held to fine-tune and perfect plans for the official turbaning of the district heads by the Etsu of Kwali.

Ephraim Danladi, one of the youth leaders in Kwali, said that the decision of the chairman to go against the FCT order to appoint district heads could be interpreted or assumed to be a calculated attempt to create disunity and throw the entire Kwali area council into chaos.

“I can confirm to you that crisis is already brewing in Yebu chiefdom following the substitution of one Bulus Garba as the successor to the office of the Yebu District Head by the chairman of the council. This is not a good development, following the state of insecurity in the country,” he said.

It was also learnt that another council chairman who initially violated the authority of the minister of state is the chairman of Gwagwalada area council, Mustapha Adamu, who was accused taking a similar action, but later rescinded the decision by withdrawing controversial appointments from some district heads.

A senior staff in the office of the minister of state for FCT who did not want his name in print accused the chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Hon. Abdullahi Candido, of using illegal means to generate revenue, including the use of thugs in the guise of consultants to generate revenues that are not remitted to government coffers.

“Candido has failed to consult the legal department of either the FCTA or AMAC in drafting legal documents before such consultancy jobs are awarded or executed. Things cannot continue in this ugly trend. The chairmen of the area councils should not be lords to themselves because they are under authority.

“Besides the supervising minister, the National Assembly oversees the activities of the FCTA including the six area councils. Operating in silos will not help the system. Therefore, it is high time the relevant authorities call them to order,” the source said.

When contacted, special assistant on media to the minister of state for FCT, Austine Elemue, refused to speak on the matter, saying he cannot speak for the council chairmen.

He said, “I agree with you absolutely that the minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, oversees the activities of area councils, but I am not in a position to speak for them.

“Each area council has a spokesperson and they are competent to speak for their respective bosses. However, the chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council has been punctual in our meetings, but as pointed earlier, I cannot comment on other issues.”

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