Following remarks by Ireti Kingibe, senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, in the senate to the effect that the Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike lacks executive powers among other issues in the administration of the FCT, a group, Movement for the Advancement of National Transformation (MANTRA) has urged the Senator to quit sounding combative in her comments but work with Wike to restore and enhance the Abuja masterplan for the benefit of all.
In a statement signed by the Convener of the group, Jude Ndukwe, and Publicity Secretary, Sani Gafar, and made available to newsmen on Saturday, it said “the remarks of the senator gives her out as being unnecessarily combative”, and implored her to see Wike as a partner in progress rather than as a competitor.
A part of the statement reads: “We are shocked to read the remarks of Senator Ireti Kingibe regarding Wike’s works as FCT minister and wish to state that such outbursts are unnecessary, unhelpful and retrogressive.
“While we respect the views of the senator as that of one concerned for the FCT, it is pertinent to put some records straight for the sake of posterity.
“It is not true that Wike as FCT minister does not have executive powers as stated by Senator Kingibe. As a member of the Federal Executive Council Wike has full executive powers to administer the FCT according to the vision and dictates of the President who appointed him. It is the same for all the ministers and Wike’s cannot be different.
“It is also not true that Mandate Secretaries appointed and inaugurated for the FCT need pass through screening at the senate. To agitate for that is to demonstrate a lack of knowledge of government processes.
“Appointment of mandate secretaries are not a creation of the Legislature but that of the Executive. In fact, it was the creation of an Executive Order by former President Olusegun Obasanjo after the dissolution of the ministry of FCT in 2004. The Executive Order: ‘Establishment of Functions and Departments and Ministry of Federal Capital Territory (Dissolution) Order No 1, 2004 as modified’, gave the President the powers to appoint and inaugurate mandate secretaries as may be recommended by the minister of FCT without any need of passing through screening by the senate or any other such institution.
“Never in the history of the FCT has such appointments been a subject of controversy between a minister and the senate and we urge Senator Ireti Kingibe to stop stoking fire where there is none.
“While it took the immediate past minister of the FCT, Mohammed Bello, a whole year after his appointment to inaugurate mandate secretaries for the FCT, it took him even longer to inaugurate same in his second tenure without any fuss by any senator. To this end, rather than attempt to vilify Wike, he should be commended for inaugurating the mandate secretaries only few weeks after his appointment. Such a gesture is indicative of a man who is open to working with people rather than doing it all alone.
“We were also taken aback by Kingibe’s accusation that one of the secretaries she interacted with did not know where Kwali is and she made it look as if such is a prerequisite for becoming a mandate secretary in the FCT.
“Just like commissioners in states, mandate secretaries do not need to know everywhere before they can qualify for such appointments. It is just like saying that the President must know every location in Nigeria before he qualifies to be president or that a minister of works, for instance, must know all the federal roads in the country before he can qualify to be the minister when these ministers are deployed and redeployed to ministries at the pleasure of the president even at the shortest notice. What is required is for such appointees to begin to acquaint themselves with the mandates of the office in line with the vision of the appointing official/institution.
“That a newly appointed mandate secretary of the FCT did not know where a particular place is located in the FCT is also as good as Senator Kingibe not knowing that appointment of such secretaries do not require senate screening.
“We therefore strongly appeal to the senator to take advantage of Wike’s call to congratulate her on her victory at the National and State Houses of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal which is a magnanimous display of solidarity by the minister, change her belligerent approach to issues of administration and stop whipping up divisive sentiments that are capable of stalling or even rolling back the appreciable progress already made by Wike who has demonstrated enormous capacity and determination to fix our broken FCT.
“What he needs is the support of all stakeholders and citizens alike to build the FCT of our dreams”, the statement concluded.