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‘Why we want more area councils, ministerial slot for FCT’

Among the recommendations, what does the FCT get?We were able to have an increase in the number of area councils from the present six to…

Among the recommendations, what does the FCT get?
We were able to have an increase in the number of area councils from the present six to eight. We also have an increase in the number of Federal Constituencies from the present two to four. In addition is a ministerial slot for the FCT, this has never happened before. While a commission that would look into the plight of the FCT indigenes was also recommended.
Also, the FCT would be divided into two parts, the Federal Capital City and Federal Capital Territory, this was the initial intention in 1976 when the territory was created.
We were able to convince the conference delegates to agree and they so agreed; the FCC is to constitute a landmass of 2,000 square km and headed by an elected mayor.
We were able to achieve 85 percent of the demands by the indigenes. It is natural, you do not expect to have 100 percent of what you need. Nobody was able to achieve everything they wanted for their zone. We were lucky to achieve about 85 percent.
How would you suggest these recommendations to be implemented?
All the decisions were painstakingly taken after a heated debate. Well, I do not think anybody will come and joke with the decisions. My belief is that they will be implemented and President Goodluck Jonathan has informed us several times about his willingness to implement the decisions.
My only problem is the procedure to be followed. I think there are two fundamental ways, through referendum, which I do not want; while the National Assembly amendment mechanisms is the other option. That is easier and I prefer it.
Referendum is very costly and I do not think we have the resources in this country to carry it out. It means going round the state assemblies. I do not think we have the money, and we have an election in 2015.
We have over 600 recommendations, and a referendum is restricted to few items. I have never heard of a place, anywhere in the world, where referendum is restricted to so many issues. Subjecting over 600 recommendations to referendum is not feasible.
That is why I just feel the National Assembly should be given the free hand to do its constitutional role; they should use their institutions, and then come out with necessary amendments. It is easier, cheaper.
Do you have confidence in the National Assembly from what happened with the mayoralty clause during the constitution amendment?
Even at that, if you look at the number of those who rejected the mayoralty status for the FCT then, they lost it by just 16 votes, which meant if enough campaign had been done to sensitise the senators it would not have suffered defeat. I do not think the National Assembly will say no to all the recommendations.

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