By Our Reporter
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Philip Aduda, PDP, FCT disclosed, Thursday that he has concluded arrangements to drag the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the declared winner of the FCT Saturday, 25th February Senatorial election, Ireti Kingibe to court over the outcome of the poll he described as enveloped in manipulations
Aduda said that instead of declaring Kingibe as the winner, INEC would have declared the election inconclusive as that would have made the process transparent, fair, free and credible.
Addressing Journalists yesterday in Abuja, Senator Aduda alleged that INEC erred in the process of the election as a winner was declared when the collation of results of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC and other areas in the FCT were still in process and not concluded.
According to Aduda, as part of moves to address the marginalization of the original Inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory, President Muhammadu Buhari should as a matter of urgency, implement the interpretation and judgement of the Supreme Court that describes the status of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT as a state.
Senator Aduda said that the implementation of the judgement of the Court of appeal delivered in January 2018 and the recent one by the Apex Court has become imperative against the backdrop that the people of the FCT should be treated as an integral part of the country by allowing them exercise their right to vote and produce their political leaders at that level.
On the FCT National Assembly election, the Minority leader said, “Though the 2023 senatorial elections came with its challenges and concerns that we hope to address legally, we strongly believe that with your continuous support and prayers for a better FCT under our leadership, we will come out stronger. The faith to continue the struggle has come from the famous quote of Franklin D Roosevelt that; “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the belief that there is something more than fear.
“Unfortunately or fortunately, we had a situation apart from the fact that there was over voting, you saw it all over the country we heard that results were cancelled. Apart from that this election results were cancelled and were supposed to be rescheduled, you heard it, you saw it, from nowhere we had that results were declared.
“We are going to challenge it, I have represented the people very well and I have done the best I can, you can attest to that I came to the House of Representatives at the age of 33, by 41 I was in the Senate. I believe I have done very well and if the FCT residents feel that voting an old woman of about 70 years old and giving her capacity as against a 53 year old young man and bringing in somebody who is old enough to be my mother I think something is wrong. Even the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi spoke against old politicians who are supposed to retire at the age of 70 and she is just beginning to represent us.
“I am very close to Peter Obi when he was in the PDP,, we share a lot of friendship together, he has assisted me in the past and I have assisted him. She rode on the popularity of Peter Obi, ordinarily if she faces me in an ordinary contest, I will always defeat her. We have had this type of contest before she was in the PDP, we have been contesting against each other, she knows me and I know her I am not going to join issues with her or dwell so much on this, because this is all about the representation for the FCT. By God’s grace we are still there and this will not deter us in the remaining months that we have to represent the people with the fear of God Almighty and we will continue to do the best that we can. “She did not contest primary but we did not challenge that because we felt there was no need to challenge that because we were not part of the party and we did not join issues with her, we were so transparent as we refused to sponsor people to move against her.”
Recall that Ireti, the wife of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Kingibe of the Labour Party, LP garnered 202,175 votes while Philip Aduda of the PDP polled 100,544 votes to come second in the race while Angulu Dobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) placed third with 78,905 votes.The Returning Officer of INEC, Professor Sanni Saka of the University of Abuja, announced the result.
On the need for the Federal Government to implement the interpretation and judgement of the Supreme Court describing FCT as a State, Senator Aduda said, “I want to use this opportunity to address some fundamental issues as it concerns the good people of the FCT. That while other Nigerians will be going to their respective states on Saturday to elect their governors and state houses of assembly members, the FCT people will be at home watching them.
“This wouldn’t have been so if the federal government had yielded to calls for the democratization and second tier government for the people of the FCT.
“Over the years, we have made concerted calls and pursued the institution of a second tier government in the FCT so as to address injustices as this but to our surprises, there are still some people who feel that It is not an injustice and this disenfranchisement of the people of the FCT should continue unabated.
“The advocacy for the democratization of the FCT & institution of second tier government has been a call for the improvement of political leadership in the FCT & to cater for the seeming population influx into the city.
“But we are praying that; the judgement of the court of appeal delivered in January 2018 and the recent interpretation and judgement of the supreme court describing the status of the FCT as a state be implemented by the federal government.
“The people of the FCT ought to be treated as an integral part of the nation by allowing them to exercise their right to vote and produce their political leaders at that level.
“These Concerns form our periodic advocacy for a mayoral status for the FCT. But unfortunately for us, when the Mayoral Status Bill was presented in the floor of the Senate, some Senators voted against it probably because I was the only Senator among 108 members advocating for such amendment. despite the FCT ranking as one of the fastest developing cities around the world and naturally ought to be conferred with such status, just like New York City in the US and London in the UK. Again, that will go down , as another lost opportunity, to make a meaningful impact on the lives of the indigenes and residents of the FCT.
When asked on allegations that he lacks the capacity to represent the people of the FCT, Aduda said, “We have changed the dynamics of administration through unprecedented leadership in the FCT? I have constantly also put the issues of Youth and Women inclusion in my administrative style on the front burner, which largely reflects on my various programmes of empowerment, and it’s visible in my appointments of my aides, which cuts across all kinds of people irrespective of tribe, ethnicity and religion.
“Not forgetting also that at 52 years of age, there couldn’t have been a more vibrant and resilient character as myself as symbol of youth representation. Because of our antecedent in politics, our works have earned us reelection for 3 consecutive tenures at the National Assembly, not by Sharp practices but premised solely on Competence, Character, Credibility, Performance and proven Track records. I became a Councillor in 1996 at the age of 26, and later became a Supervisory councillor in AMAC at 32, all these were before my foray into the National Assembly where I gained very valuable experience having also humbly risen to become the Senate Minority Leader, making me a Principal Officer of the National Assembly.
“However, it is unfortunate that some people have allowed their emotions to becloud their judgement of our performance and thereby misleading the public with cheap utterances wrapped with ignorance even when it is clear that some of them are coming to public prominence through the glory of their principals. But for the sake of the records we have set in the FCT, we won’t join issues with such people even in electioneering and we will never do because we are too preoccupied working for the people of the FCT and for that, We want to urge the people of the FCT to keep faith in our abilities and continue to give us the support to build an FCT devoid of tribe, ethnicity or religious affiliation.
” I believe it is the person of Ireti Kingibe that has no capacity because if she has the capacity common Google will show her what I have done. It will show you that I led a protest to this place. On the floor of the Senate I had to discuss about this issue of redesign and so on. I moved that motion and I brought that to national consciousness and discourse.
”We have a road we are constructing in Kubwa, which is over N1b, another one in Nyanya, over N1b, we have the ones we are doing in Bwari, if I don’t have the capacity and can not represent the people, I don’t think I can attract these projects to the various communities or Area Councils. I am not talking of Gwagwalada or Kwali or Kuje, I am only talking about the urban center, the environment here.
” Apart from the bills I sponsored and were passed which President has assented to, Like the Federal College of Education, Zuba that has been there for over 17 years without graduating students until we passed that bill and they were able to conduct their convocation. When somebody is afraid the person is bound to say so many things
“Simply put where are her Corporte Social responsibilities, if you want to contest election, you want to endear people to yourself, you will at least build one small borehole here and there may be she will tell us what she has done as community service to the people.
“Furthermore, We did not just stop at advocacy and lobbying for constitutional amendments, we have also made unprecedented achievements in the history of National Assembly representation in the FCT, from sponsorship and passage of critical bills such as: -Federal Capital Territory College of Education Bill; Federal Capital Territory Area Councils (Administration & Political Structure) Bill; Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, Bill; Federal Capital Territory University of Science & Technology Abaji, Bill Federal Capital Territory Hospital Management Board Bill; Federal Capital Territory water Board Bill; Federal Capital Territory Transport Authority Bill; FCT Civil Service Commission Bill; Federal Capital Territory College of Nursing and Midwifery bill; FCT Health Insurance agency Bill; FCT Primary Health Care Board Bill.
“Establishment of Federal Polytechnic Orozo, Abuja Bill; Proposal for the establishment of FCT College of Agriculture, Rubochi Bill; Proposal for the establishment of FCT College of Health, Kwali Bill.”
On physical Infrastructure, Aduda said, “We have also made giant strides in infrastructures such as: – Provision of classrooms; Primary Health Care centers; Provision of portable water; Provision of Rural electrification; Construction of roads across the area councils in the FCT; Small & Medium Scale empowerment programmes and
Provision of student bursary to over three thousand (3,000) beneficiaries drawn across the sixty two (62) electoral wards of the six (6) Area Councils.
“Currently, we have: – An ongoing construction of Shadadi road, Kuje Area Councik; Pai road construction, Kwali Area Council; Byazhin road construction, Bwari Area Council; Gbazango road construction, Bwari Area Council; VIO-Police Station-Hospital Road construction Nyanya, AMAC; Ongoing construction of Youth & Sport center at Jikowyi, AMAC; The Gwagwalada Sport & Civic center Kaida; Community road construction in Yaba, Abaji Area Council; Kurudu road construction, AMAC; Jikwoyi road construction, AMAC; Karu Town Hall project, AMAC; BWARI Town Hall project; Agwan Dadi road construction Nyanya, AMAC; Gbagalape road construction Nyanya, AMAC; Construction of Sabon Gari – Technology village, Bwari Area Council; Agwan Dodo road construction, Gwagwalada Area Council; Rehabilitation of Kubwa Guinness Junction road, Bwari Area Council; Kilankwa road construction, Kwali Area Council; Tunga maje township road construction, Gwagwalada Area Council; Road construction in Abaji town.”