Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
Sixed reactions have continued trailing the decision of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, to drop his purported Bauchi governorship bid, in the forthcoming 2015 poll.
A cross section of FCT residents, who spoke to Peoples Daily, expressed varying opinions over the development.
While some hailed the minister for choosing to remain as FCT Minister, in exchange for his long term desire to occupy the highest political position in his home state, others said it was better is he had gone to pursue a higher political echelon.
Recall the FCT minister, who for long was widely peddled to be in the pole position on the race for Bauchi State government house, come next year, missed out from the list of the ministers that recently stooped down from the President Goodluck Jonathan led- Federal Executive Council (FEC).
A resident, in Jabi, Chioma Eke, who viewed the drama foreshadowing the number position of the FCT Administration, said with the minister dropping his perceived Bauchi state gubernatorial ambition, there would ample focus on governance of the Territory.
“I’m not particularly interested in the minister leaving or staying, what I want is an reinvigorated FCT Administration that would concentrate on improving the lives of residents in the Territory,” she stressed.
Another resident, Ugo Awulam, believes that the Mohammed’s decision to remain as FCT minister may not be unconnected with his seeming lean likelihoods of clenching the governorship candidate’s ticket of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the state.
“I strongly believe that the minister must have become not too convinced of winning his party’s primary election, and decided to drop out of the race.
“This, to me was a clever step taken by the minister, irrespective of whatever people say, it is a very calculated political move on his part,” he said.
Similarly, one Musa Kabir, in Wuse District, who expressed concerns over the implication of the emergence of anti and pro Bala Mohammed groups among the indigenous inhabitants in the FCT, said it was not supposed to be in the first instance, as people should not be allowed to be playing politics with the welfare of the people.
Also, James Bako, a resident in Garki, said he had expected the minister to leave for Bauchi, to take up the challenge of battling for the number one position of his home state.
He said the minister should have left his long term appointment as FCT minister, so as to test his popularity among people in his home state, ‘considering his closeness to the Presidency, because he might not get another chance in the nearest future to do so.’
Not left, a civil servant with the FCT Administration, who pleaded anonymity, said the development was sad news to the ears of a lot of his colleagues, who had earnestly wanted the minister to leave.
He said most of the civil servants in the FCTA and area councils were not happy with the continued stay of the minister, ever since he slashed their annual accommodation allowance from 100% to 60% of our salaries.
” How would anyone be happy to have a minister, who is only after taking from the workers or asking them to always make sacrifices, instead of elevating their welfare, when himself was not willing to do same,” the civil servant stressed.
It would be recalled that while reacting to the development, some Abuja natives under the umbrella of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Original Inhabitants Youths and Women Empowerment Association described the FCT minister’s decision as an outstanding act of patriotism and sacrifice, adding that it is truly an act in national interest for the minister to shelve his ambition to lead his people back home in Bauchi, in regard to overriding national interest.
According to them, with the development, Mohammed will now concentrate on the rapid development and transformation of Territory, saying he had harkened to the voice of Abuja natives and others, who begged him to shelve his gubernatorial bid.
However, the Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja (OIDA), scolded those who called on the minister to shelve his governorship ambition, begging him to stay behind to complete the ongoing FCT projects.
Describing them as political sycophants in FCT, OIDA warned them to stop playing politics with the constitutional and socio-economic demands of Abuja natives.
Also, the group scored the performance of Mohammed, as average when compared to other long serving FCT ministers.
“While we appreciate some modest developments achieved in the areas of transportation, water supply and revival of the Satellite Towns Development Agency (SATDA) by the Senator Bala-led FCTA, we however believe he could have done more given the huge resources at his disposal.
“Majority of Nigerians resident in Abuja keep congesting our communities and overstretching facilities put in place by communal efforts of FCT natives instead of FCT administration.” the pan-FCT group said in a statement.