FCT Minister, APC and the Council Polls

Muhammed Zayyad

Muhammed Zayyad

The February 12th, 2022 FCT council polls was a kind of disaster to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) so to speak- the party won three out of the six area councils.  In the 2016 elections, the APC was in control of five area councils – AMAC, Abaji, Bwari, Kuje, and Kwali. While the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was not in control of any of the six area councils. APGA was controlling Gwagwalada.  In the 2019 elections, the APC won the chairmanship seats in Abaji, Kwali, Gwagwalada, and AMAC while the PDP won in Kuje and Bwari. In 2022, the opposition PDP was able to dislodge the ruling APC- gaining control of Bwari, Kuje, and AMAC. The APC is left with  Gwagwalada, Abaji and Kwali.

What went wrong? Is it the fault of the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello? Is it that of the ruling APC at both the Abuja and national levels? Or the results are peoples’ way of showing their dissatisfactions with APC’s way of governance in Abuja and the country at large.

The Governor David Umahi led 131-member APC national campaign council for the Federal Capital Territory Area Council election was caught napping, the campaigns were poorly done, logistics and mobilization of supporters were insufficient, thus widespread voter apathy impaired the elections; which resulted in many voters shunning the polls.  Though, some observers say; peoples’ lack of interest in the exercise, as well as lack of trust in the outcome of the election, was responsible for the low voter turnout which affected the APC’s fortunes.

Some pundits are of the view that the APC Abuja chapter didn’t put its house in order and was not organized and ready for the polls- for example, the APC had two aspirants in AMAC until the Supreme Court’s verdict 48hours to the elections. The APC despite winning the Abaji chairmanship position- the party doesn’t know its candidate – the duo of Abubakar Umar Abdullah and Alhaji Mohammed Angulu Loko are still in court battling for the party ticket.  The APC was lucky to have even scored 13,240 votes in AMAC and won Abaji with 7,289 votes, because the PDP was busy campaigning for votes and support, while the APC was at the courts against itself.

The FCT Minister Mohammed Bello has found himself in a catch-22 situation – he appears apolitical in a politically-dense environment- some people accused him of not fully participating in the politics of Abuja as previous FCT administrations have done. The Minister was right and wrong at the same time. As the FCT Minister under the administration of the APC, he must ‘assert’ the powers and influence of his office to guide and renatured the APC to win the February 12th area councils election. By not fully doing that, the Minister was wrong. However, for allowing things to go unhindered, he was right.

During the Inauguration of the FCT Mandate Secretary, the Minister said- his Administration will always strengthen the institutions of governance in the FCT and rekindle public confidence in the Administration’s bureaucratic machinery. And, anyone found guilty of malfeasance will not be shielded and will certainly be punished to the full extent of the law. Some people are of the view that the FCT Minister’s simple approach has weakened the APC in Abuja.

For example, take the issue of Abuja city waste management, which is now in the courts- AMAC vs the FCDA and the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP). When the Ministers came on board, he beautifully reorganized and expanded the waste collection system by further dividing the Districts into more Lots, for efficiency and to give opportunities for more waste management firms and contractors to participate in the system. Now the waste collection and management in Abuja city have become problematic and haphazard, because AMAC is challenging the authority of the Ministers, FCDA, and the BPP in the courts. There are some insinuations that some of the 64 or so cleaning contractors who are benefiting from the stalemate are behind the court cases and incessant petitions.

APC’s mobilization and logistics were poorly coordinated, 24 hrs to the election the APC was lagging behind in terms of mobilization ad coordination. In fact, I know some young APC members from far away Adamawa state who mobilized themselves for logistics and campaign in AMAC to save the Minister from a humiliating defeat- the AMAC result could have been severely more demeaning to the APC.

The Election has come and gone- PDP is fully in control of three area councils from zero in 2016 and two in 2019, while the APC is left with three from five in 2016 and four in 2019. FCT Minister Mohammed Bello has a herculean task ahead to assert his powers and assist the APC in rekindling itself. The time has come for the FCT Minister Mohamed Bello and the APC Abuja to redefine and remodel their strategies.

 

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, 08036070980, zaymohd@yahoo.com

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