In this interview with some journalists, former Chairperson, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), and ADC senatorial aspirant for the Federal Capital Territory, Esther John Audu, says she is going to the Senate to bring to the forefront, the neglect of the indigenous people of the Federal Capital Territory. She is an aspirant on the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC). CHUKS OYEMA-AZIKEN was there for The AUTHORITY.
What are your visions as you prepare to contest for the FCT senatorial seat?
Abuja is a mini Nigeria. People lived here before it became Federal Capital about 40 years ago. They were to be moved out for FCT to be established. Some were moved, some were behind. Those left behind were to be gradually moved. Up till today, those moved have not been compensated. Those left were not relocated. They have been affected as Federal government’s development activities that met them. Former FCT Minister, Ibrahim Bunu put in motion to move the people of Jabi 1 and 2 and Mabushi to Jibi along the Kubwa Expressway. Jibi was chosen and prototype structures selected. The place has now turned to Police village. My people have been disorganized, families cannot be together. Nigeria has ended up disorganising innocent people of Abuja. I am going to the Senate to represent this people so they will have a voice to speak for them. Sponsor bills on their behalf and lobby for these bills to be passed. I have been elected twice within the territory, as AMAC chairperson and to the House of Representative under then UNCP in the Abacha transition. My people know my capability. I have been tested. They know I will stand for them. I have always stood for them.
In what ways are the FCT indigenes neglected and disorganized?
I want to see FCT residents vote for their own Governor. We need more local governments, senatorial and House of Representative seats. There are about 3.2 million people in the FCT and still with one senator. We have right to have up to ten Local governments, so our children will have opportunities for jobs. There are many States that are not up to two million, but they have three senators and more than five members in the House of Representative. We have right to expansion to take care of the population. I am coming out to make sure we have more senators and at least five members in the house. Lagos operated as federal capital for many years as a state with governor and everything and we didn’t have problem in the country. Same thing we are asking for Abuja. The people are trapped up.
What is your take on the calls for restructuring of the country?
There has to be fairness and justice. We need to take care of the people that have been patient and peaceful, but don’t mean they should be trampled upon or taken as second class citizens in their own country for allowing their own resource control to be taken over. If there is anyone that needs restructuring, it is the FCT indigenes. They should have opportunities to participate in elections when others are voting. They should have right to expansion.