Traditional rulers and opinion leaders drawn from the six area councils of FCT made the call when they paid a visit to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Wednesday evening at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to express their unwavering support for the President and the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed.
He hailed the FCT Administration for recording outstanding achievements particularly in the education and infrastructure provision sectors. He described the standard of education in the FCT as very high stressing that the Territory has become the model for others to follow.
The Abuja natives, whose address was read by the Ona of Abaji and the Chairman of FCT Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa, praised Jonathan as a listening and performing leader.
The natives said the special funding was needed for steady implementation of critical projects in the FCT such as mass transportation, health, education roads construction and expansion. Of particular concern to them are the expansion of the ever busy Abuja – Nyanya – Keffi express road and the opening of alternate routes on that axis to ease perennial traffic gridlocks there.
They told the President that the extra funding would also be useful in fast tracking the development of FCT area councils and satellite towns to decongest the city centre and enhance living standard in the rural areas. They pointed to the fact that today the FCT population is over five million which is more than the population of some states.
The FCT traditional rulers and people also advocated greater funding of the Resettlement and Compensation programme as a way of giving a sense of belonging to their people and putting them in proper position to contribute their quota to national development. The delegation blamed the existence of places like Garki Village, Utako Village, Jabi Village and Guzape where the natives live in squalor without basic amenities on neglect by previous administrations.
They expressed happiness that through programmes like Land Swap and other Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives of this administration, the knotty issue of Resettlement and Compensation is being addressed at the same that new districts are being opened.
The natives said they were aware of the various challenges facing the country today such as general insecurity, terrorism and threat of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). They added that they were equally aware of the determined efforts of the present Administration to tackle and resolve the challenges.
The natives observed that since Dr. Jonathan came on board as President, a lot of developmental activities have been going on with increased speed adding that so much has been achieved particularly in FCT. They urged him to continue to bear the FCT in mind in his people-oriented transformation agenda. While expressing satisfaction with the President’s leadership, they vowed to do all we can to continue to support your purposeful administration.
The FCT chiefs and indigenes cited some examples of President Jonathan’s favourable decisions and actions which have impacted positively on the Abuja natives. Among them were the appointment of some sons and daughters of FCT to high positions in the Public and Civil Service among them Directors in the Civil Service, Ambassador and Commissioners in Federal parastatals and agencies.
They further thanked Mr. President for signing into law the FCT College of Education bill. They commended him for the support he has been giving to the FCT Administration under the leadership of the Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed while praising the Minister as a grassroots man who has been carrying the natives along in the programmes and measures of his administration.
“Mr. President, we attest to the fact that a lot has been achieved in the last four and half years. The amount of infrastructural development especially roads and bridges construction has increased tremendously. The land swap programme is a sound policy for accelerating the opening up of more districts in FCT while addressing the issue of resettlement and compensation of our people at the same time,” they declared.
They further commended Mr. President for his political sagacity in convoking the National Conference stressing that they were in support of his determination to reposition the country. They requested his continued support towards actualizing the lofty recommendations of the Conference.
The FCT natives particularly yearned for the endorsement of the recommendations of the Conference concerning creation of an additional Senatorial seat for FCT, two more Federal Constituencies, two additional area councils, provision for a mayoral status for Abuja City and appointment of a Minister from the FCT just like the states of the Federation. They appealed to the President to address some of these issues through discretionary action and lend his presidential support to others that are constitutional in nature.