Refusal of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello to inaugurate Secretaries for the seven Mandate Secretariats 10 months after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, is already generating tension which may snowball into a serious political crisis in the Territory.
This, it was gathered, has seriously been affecting effective administration across the secretariats as the most senior civil servants are now running them in an acting capacity.
Similarly, a Coordinator of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, AMMC, who is expected to oversee the management of Abuja, the federal capital city is yet to be appointed.
President Buhari had in February this year upon request from the minister, reportedly approved appointments of secretaries for secretariats in the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA.
The Mandate Secretariats to be headed by the secretaries in capacities like commissioners in the state are Education, Health, Agriculture, Transportation, Social Development, Area Councils, and Legal Services.
Some staff members of the FCTA across the seven secretariats, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, confirmed that the management and staff, as well as many people in the Territory, are poised for a showdown with the minister over his continued refusal to inaugurate the secretaries.
“What the minister is doing since February, is like a state governor refusing to appoint commissioners to see to the smooth administration of ministries and Implementation of the policy direction of government.
“None of the FCT Ministers before the current one created the type of leadership vacuum and administrative bottleneck being experienced across the seven Mandate Secretariats.
“He did the same thing between 2015 and 2016 when he was first appointed as FCT Minister by delaying inauguration of such highly required secretaries till November 2016 a year after his own inauguration as a minister.
“The situation at hand now is even worse, because the Minister was sworn into office again in August 2019 and yet to inaugurate Mandate Secretariats Secretaries 14 months after,” lamented one of the members.
The situation according to another management staff who craved anonymity is even compounded with the absence of the Coordinator of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council.
He said: “Had it been the Coordinator is appointed and inaugurated, agencies such as the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB; Abuja Development Control; Abuja Geographic Information System, AGIS, and others would have been carrying out their functions very effectively.
“Look at how filthy the city is with refuse dumps here and there, street light not functioning, street urchins and beggars returning, and so on and fort.”
Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of State, FCT, Mr. Austine Elemue, however, denied the allegation about the minister’s action in the appointment, saying he only acted based on the instructions of the President.
His words: “Do you know, the truth about it is this; the appointment of mandate secretaries is with the approval of the President. Once the nominations come from the two ministers and some stakeholders according to geopolitical zones, they will now send it to security details for background checks.
“It is after this that they will now take it back for the final approval by the President. So, as I speak to you now, I don’t know whether it is still on Mr. President’s desk, because I don’t think a minister of FCT will single-handedly withhold the inauguration of mandate secretaries if the approval has been given.
“That office you are seeing is a delegated responsibility of Mr. President. So, I don’t think he can do it as in, I must sit on it because he must be in due consultation with Mr. President, that am sure of.
“I don’t know the stage it is now because it’s like the appointment of ministers, they can be nominated, screened and confirmed but then the Presidency still reserves the right to communicate to them that they have been appointed as ministers but their inauguration will be on so date.”