We will challenge the President’s Decision in Court If FCT Indigene Is Omitted From Ministerial List
With 56 days gone into the 60-day grace period that President Bola Tinubu has to submit the list of his ministerial nominees to the National Assembly, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, has threatened lawsuit if an indigene from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is omitted from the ministerial list.
Olajengbesi, the Managing Partner of Abuja-based law firm, Law Corridor, said the FCT should not be denied the benefits of a state.
He reiterated that it will be injustice for the about four million FCT indigenes and population if the current administration of President Tinubu does not give the FCT a ministerial slot.
Olajengbesi said it is crucial for the President to obey a January 2018 Appeal Court judgement which ruled that indigenous people of the FCT are entitled to ministerial slots as provided by the combined provisions of sections 147 (3), 299, 14 (3) & 42 of the 1999 constitution.
The court also declared that the refusal to appoint an indigene of FCT as minister constitutes a gross violation of the provisions of the constitution on fundamental human rights.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives recently urged President Tinubu to appoint an indigene of the FCT as minister following the resolution and adoption of a motion co-sponsored by Abdulrahman Ajiya and Gaza Jonathan Gbefwi.
Section 42 of 1999 Constitution (as Amended) states that “the nomination of any person to the office of a Minister for confirmation by the Senate shall be done within sixty days after the date the President has taken the oath of office”.
Olajengbesi said, “With the 60-day lawful allowance period for the President to submit his ministerial-nominees to the National Assembly coming to an expiration, it is important that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration act within the ambit of the law and include an FCT indigene into the list.
“The APC-led government of President Bola Tinubu must not deny the FCT of a ministerial slot just as each of the 36 states get at least one ministerial slot. We’ll be challenging any contrary outcome in court,” Olajengbesi stated.
“This is in line with Section 318 and Section 14 (3 and (4) of the 1999 Constitution on federal character principle to promote national unity, foster national loyalty and give every citizen of Nigeria a sense of belonging to the nation.”
Olajengbesi further said it will be hypocrisy for the APC government not to allot a ministerial slot to the FCT after the party considered the FCT as a state and not a different entity in arguing the requirement of 25% of votes in the February 25 presidential election.
Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, no indigene of the Abuja has been appointed FCT minister yet political parties use the FCT as a state to get the required constitutional votes to win presidential election.
Past FCT ministers include Ibrahim Bunu – May 1999 to February 2001 (Borno State). Mohammed Abba Gana – February 2001 to July 2003 (Borno State). Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai – July 2003 to July 2007 (Kaduna State). Aliyu Modibbo Umar – July 2007 to October 2008 (Gombe State). Muhammadu Adamu Aliero – December 2008 to April 2010 (Kebbi State). Bala Mohammed – April 2010 to May 2015 (Bauchi State). Mohammed Musa Bello – May 2015 to May 2023 (Adamawa State) alongside his Minister of State, Ramatu Aliyu (Kogi State).