Group advises FCT Minister against extending tenure of area council chairmen, councilors



The Progressive Democratic Youth Front, has urged FCT Minister Mohammed Bello not to extend the scheduled swearing-in of the chairmen and councilors-elect of the six Area Councils slated for May 20 in Abuja.

The group said this in a statement co-signed on Thursday in Abuja by its Chairman, Mr Sanbarka Garus, Mr Shebi Yaba Secretary, Ms Chika Chinedu Trustee, Public Relations Officer Mr Madaki Zuma, and Mr Zamani Tukura, Organizing Secretary.

It the statement, the group said that for the sustenance of justice, equity, and fair play, the minister should go ahead and swear-in the democratically and popularly elected representatives of the people.

It also advised the minister not to do anything that could threaten the democracy, peace, security, serenity, tranquility and stability being enjoyed in the FCT.

“With utter shock and amazement, we, members of the Progressive Democratic Youth Front in all the six area councils of the FCT, received the devastating news of a cavalier judgement given by a High Court in the FCT.

“The effect is that the newly democratically elected chairmen and councilors of all the six area councils will not be sworn-in as scheduled on Friday, May 20, 2022.

“According to the reports reaching us, the cavalier, anti-democratic, and anti-people judgment followed a suit filed by the present out-going chairmen and councilors seeking a one-year extension of their tenure.

The group described the court’s judgment as questionable, suspicious and that the provisions of Section 108 did not affect the current council elected officials, and their tenure would expire on May 20.

It said that the present chairmen and councilors were elected, and sworn-in in the context of the law that stipulated a three-year term for council chairmen and councilors.

“Therefore, in our candid opinion, and in the perception of any right-thinking, objective, and informed commentators, since the provisions of Section 108 of the Electoral Act did not provide for retroactive effect to its implementation.

“It is trite in law and in logic, for the present crop of council chairmen and councilors to expect to benefit from the ‘largesse’, so to say, contained in that section of the Act.

“Further to the above, it is pertinent to note that the Electoral Act 2022 came into effect on March 16, being the date that the Bill received the Presidential Assent.

“How then, logically, do the people that went to court, and the judge that gave the verdict, have expected that they should benefit when it is critical to note that the election of the in-coming council chairmen and councilors was conducted on February 12, 2022,” it said.

According to the statement, the election of the chairmen and councilors preceded the coming of the Act by 32 days.

“What a travesty of logic and judicial wisdom which in our view, amounts to somersaulting, and sitting justice on its head,” it stated.

It urged the minister not to be used for the antics, and ambitions of some few unscrupulous, unconscious, and selfish persons.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Vice Chairman of AMAC, Mr. Lawrence, allegedly filed a case at the Federal High Court.

He challenged and asked that based on the new Electoral Act signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the tenure of area councils be extended from three to four years.

The alleged case has, however, sprung a series of reactions from both residents of FCT, political stakeholders and lawmakers representing different area councils in the FCT. (NAN)