On Wednesday, the Presidency clarified that President Bola Tinubu’s administration has no plans to relocate Nigeria’s Federal Capital from Abuja back to Lagos. This statement was issued in response to insinuations and concerns raised following the government’s decision to move the Department of Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the head office of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to Lagos. These insinuations were described as the work of “mischief-makers” aiming to stir “ethnic mistrust” and create a divide between the North and the South.
The controversy was further fueled by comments from Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno South Senatorial District, who criticized the move during an interview with Channels Television. Ndume suggested President Tinubu was being misled by “Lagos boys” in his administration, warning of potential “political consequences” of such relocations.
In a statement by Bayo Onanuga, the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, the Presidency dismissed the notion that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would be moved. Onanuga emphasized, “The status of Abuja as the Federal Capital has come to stay. It is backed by law.” He accused political opponents of spreading rumours to create ethnic and regional tension.
Onanuga explained that the administrative move of FAAN to Lagos, where it was initially headquartered, does not signify a relocation of the FCT. He also noted that the CBN’s Department of Banking Supervision’s move to Lagos was logical, considering that most commercial banks are headquartered there.
Senator Karimi Sunday, representing Kogi-West, also addressed Ndume’s comments, stating they were personal opinions and did not represent the Senate’s stance. He emphasized the need for leaders to avoid statements that could cause division.
Additionally, Doyin Okupe, a former spokesperson for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, cautioned Ndume against making provocative statements. Meanwhile, Udengs Eradiri, a former President of the Ijaw Youth Council, appealed to President Tinubu to consider relocating some critical federal agencies involved in the oil business to the Niger Delta region.
The recent controversy surrounding the relocation of specific departments of the CBN and FAAN to Lagos and the subsequent reactions, including those from Senator Ndume, highlight the delicate nature of administrative decisions in Nigeria’s diverse political landscape. The Presidency’s clarification that there are no plans to move the Federal Capital from Abuja to Lagos is a necessary step in dispelling rumours that could potentially cause ethnic and regional tensions.
Senator Ndume’s concerns, while reflecting a degree of regional apprehension, also underscore the need for transparent and inclusive decision-making processes in governance. It is crucial for government actions, especially those involving significant administrative changes, to be communicated clearly and effectively to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations that can lead to unnecessary political strife.
The call by Udengs Eradiri for the relocation of oil-related federal agencies to the Niger Delta is an example of how administrative decisions can be used to address regional disparities and foster a sense of inclusiveness. If well-planned and executed, such moves can contribute to national unity and the equitable distribution of resources and administrative functions across the country.
As Nigeria continues to navigate its complex socio-political environment, government officials and political leaders must exercise caution in their statements and actions. The focus should remain on fostering national unity, addressing regional concerns, and ensuring that all administrative decisions are made with the best interests of the entire nation in mind.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was moved from Lagos to Abuja in 1991 to promote national unity and development.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plays a crucial role in the country’s financial stability and economic policy.
- The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is responsible for managing all commercial airports in Nigeria and providing service to both passengers and airlines.
- Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, hosts the headquarters of many major businesses and financial institutions.
- The relocation of government agencies can have significant implications for regional development and national integration.