Debunking the Abuja Indegene Myths: Why We Deserve Liberation, By Luka Ayedoo

Debunking the Abuja Indegene Myths: Why We Deserve Liberation, By Luka Ayedoo

AREWA AGENDA – There are alot of mythical narratives about Abuja and its indigenes out there and some of these stories are not only deliberate, ravenous and inhuman, but can be justification for what can easily provoke a civil genocide.

This situation is both as a result of the refusal of the indegenous people of this land to tell their own stories on the one hand and a suppressive system that has denied the natives the opportunity to speak for themselves on the other hand.

I have heard people say that the natives of Federal Capital Territory are naive, uncivilized and illiterates, some even go as far as saying the people are anti-development inclined and allergic to modernity; that urbanization drove them out of their lands, bringing about their replacement with strangers. All these fabrications are aimed at portraying the people as nomadic lifestyle, but I beg to differ that these stories are advanced as justifications for the deliberate and systemic incursion into the lands of the FCT natives.

It is also a myth that the natives are too primitive and ill equipped to govern themselves as well as man their own traditional institutions. More worrisome is the so-called declaration of FCT a “no man’s land” just to carve a niche for the Northern Oligarchy and other Nigerians.

This imaginary provision does not exist in the Nigerian constitution as conveniently cited by the predators. Ironically, reasons advanced by the buyers (government elites) of Abuja in the 21st century are same with that of the colonialist for taken ownership of Nigeria and usurping its right to self-determination. I therefore challenge any person who has records of the compensations paid to the natives of FCT for taking over their lands, traditional institutions and the entire administration of the area to publish same, so we can avoid asking too much from the government.

Alienation and genocide are children of same parent. Both sufficiently explains all deliberate and systematic processes targeting the destruction of a racial, political or cultural group. It can be orchestrated through war, blatant discrimination and legal frameworks like the case of FCT indigenes. Chapter VIII, part I, section 297 through 304 of the Nigerian Constitution clearly established the Federal Capital Territory as the seat of government and the capital of Federal Republic of Nigeria. This was done in avoidance of the fact that the area was curved out of states and had been part of existing local governments, having the rights to govern themselves. The establishment did not deny the fact that the territory belonged to a people, who have right to their lands, enjoyed political autonomy and would love to govern themselves either by appointments or elections.

The 1999 constitution declared the President, the Vice President and the National Assembly as the Governor, Deputy Governor and House of Assembly respectively for the purpose of administering FCT. The import of this declaration is that the Territory will be governed entirely by strangers who will care less about their plight, if the President and the Vice President are not indigenes of FCT. It serves to say here that FCT is a colony like Nigeria was to Britain, appropriated and subjugated by fellow Nigerians.

However, section 302 of the 1999 constitution has created a window for any seating President willing to be just, to appoint an indigene of FCT as the Minister of the territory who will be more qualified to exercise such powers and perform such functions as may be delegated to him by the President. This might not solve the entire problem but will diminish the heap of agitations for inclusion. Unfortunately, no President has utilized this section of the constitution for good. Instead, FCT has become a compensation for the most hardworking politicians, loyalist and kinsmen.

My cry to the indigenes of FCT and everyone that have concern for justice, is that a clear agenda for the political emancipation of the indigenous people of Abuja be drawn and articulated through non-violence means. The constant cry to appoint an indigene is valid but remains a temporal solution. As the nation cry for restructuring, we the indigenes of FCT should add our voice and request for the creation of a state structure and the recognition of FCT as a state, like Lagos while it served as the Capital of Nigeria.

The writer view on restructuring does not support the disintegration of Nigeria into various parts but rather strengthening the state governments with necessary powers to serve as autonomous adjoins of the Nigerian federation.

Luka Ayedoo writes via [email protected] and can be reached on 08063236274

Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards peaceful coexistence and national development through positive narratives.