Does Abuja Belong To Only Northerners?

VICTOR ANYA 

The continuous appointments and reappointments of only people of northern extraction as ministers of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has prompted the people of southern Nigeria to raise some pertinent questions as to whether Abuja belongs to only the northerners. Does the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja belong to only the north? Southerners have always asked. This question has become inevitable because when Lagos was the capital of Nigeria, two northerners-Muhammadu Ribadu and Alhaji Musa YarAdu were ministers of Lagos Affairs several years before that ministry was later scrapped. The ministry for Lagos Affairs was the equivalent of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja that is being headed by only northerners. Then, the people of the south didn’t claim, argue or insist that since Lagos is located in the southern part of the country, they must solely produce the minister for the capital of Nigeria at that time!

This point must be made clear to all and sundry and those Nigerians who believe or preach the unity of the country without having an iota of unity in their DNA. Then, the country was perceived as one entity and that since Lagos was the capital of Nigeria, any Nigerian, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and region was fit to be appointed minister of the capital of the country.

However, it has become obvious to the people of southern Nigeria that since the creation of the Federal Capital Territory in 1976, only one southerner in the person of Mr. Ajose Adeogun was appointed minister for only six months! Even at the time of his appointment Abuja was a thick forest and no work has started then. Meanwhile, since the capital was finally moved from Lagos to Abuja by the Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd) in 1991 till date, no southerner has ever been appointed minister for the Federal Capital Territory! More disturbing is the fact that this practice of appointing only northerners as ministers for the Federal Capital Territory since the movement of seat of power from Lagos to Abuja. With this germane observation, many Nigerians of southern extraction have begun to ask series of questions as to why the situation is like this. Why were northerners appointed ministers for the defunct Lagos Affairs and southerners cant be appointed as ministers for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja?

If Lagos as then capital of Nigeria was for all Nigerians and northerners were appointed ministers to head it, how come southerners are not qualified to head the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as ministers? Does the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja belong to only the people of the north? If it is not so, why is the office of the minister for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja an exclusive right of northerners? If northerners could be ministers for Lagos Affairs when Lagos was the capital of Nigeria why cant southerners be appointed ministers for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja which is the current capital of Nigeria? Is there anything so special about the current capital of Nigeria that can only be administered by only northerners?

If only northerners are qualified and also have the prerequisite to be minister for the Federal Capital Territory because it is located in the northern part of the country, how come the same northerners have been appointed group managing directors of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporate (NNPC) at various times when the north has no drop of crude oil? The north has always also produced the group managing directors for the refinery in Warri and the two refineries in Port Harcourt, why is it so? If the southern part of the country is holding a conservative, hard-line and rigid stand like the north, will there be peace in the country? Nations grow through compromise and flexibility-rigidity has never promoted growth and development anywhere in the world. Thus, it should be jettisoned and discarded.

Of a truth, the north doesn’t have a drop of crude oil yet the south allowed pipes that cost hundreds of billions of naira to be laid from the south to the north to supply crude oil to the Kaduna Refinery. The north that doesn’t have crude oil has produced the minister of petroleum, group managing directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the four refineries available in the country. But it is unbelievable that while the south is making huge sacrifices and concessions to ensure the unity of the country, the north seems not to give a qualms as to the unity of the country. The fabric of unity of this country has become worse since the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015! For instance, President Muhammadu Buhari is Petroleum Minister while Melee Kyari is the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. In Buharis first term, he was also petroleum minister while Maikati Baru was the group managing director of the NNPC.

Under the government of former president Gooluck Jonathan, the minister of petroleum was Diezane Madueke while the Group Managing Director was Austen Oniwon and Andrew Yakubu took over from him. Both Austen Oniwon and Andrew Yakubu were from Kogi and Kaduna States respectively. But what do we have today? President Buhari as Petroleum Minister is from the north while Melee Kyari is also from the north, how can these appointments promote peace and unity in Nigeria?

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