In a significant development, the original inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have initiated legal proceedings to secure their right to equal representation in Nigeria’s political landscape. This action comes in response to the recent ruling by the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, which declared that the FCT holds no special status in comparison to the country’s other 36 states.
The move to approach the court and demand the production of a governor, three senators, House of Representatives members, and State House of Assembly representatives for the FCT signifies a groundbreaking effort to ensure equitable political participation for Abuja’s indigenous population.
The initiative was disclosed by Daniel Bwala, the former spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, through his verified X account, formerly known as Twitter. Bwala highlighted that the decision to pursue this course of action was prompted by the Tribunal’s judgment, which effectively categorizes Abuja as equivalent to any other state within Nigeria.
Bwala stated, “Following the Presidential Election Petition Court’s judgment, which declares that Abuja is just like any other state; I am hearing that the natives of Abuja are approaching the court for an order mandating the Federal Government to let them produce their Governor and 3 Senators amongst other peculiarities of a state. What is good for Guinea is also good for Uganda. LOL!”
This legal undertaking raises essential questions about representation and political rights within the FCT, challenging the status quo that had long placed the territory in a distinct category due to its role as Nigeria’s capital.
The crux of the matter revolves around the interpretation of Section 134 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), which outlines the requirements for a presidential candidate to be declared duly elected. This section stipulates that a presidential candidate must secure a majority of votes cast in a presidential election and obtain at least 25% in two-thirds of the 36 states and FCT.
The Tribunal’s ruling has declared that the FCT’s requirement for 25% of the votes does not differentiate it from other states, thus denying it any special status.
While this legal endeavor unfolds, it opens a fresh chapter in the discourse of political representation within Nigeria, emphasizing the importance of equitable participation and inclusivity in the nation’s governance. The outcome of this legal pursuit could potentially reshape the political landscape of the Federal Capital Territory and set a precedent for similar regions seeking equal representation across the country.
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