A High Court ruling directing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to suspend the inauguration of the newly elected Chairmen and Councilors, whose three-year tenure is supposed to end today, May 19, has thrown the Administration into confusion.
According to the judgment, based on the recently signed Electoral Act of 2022, which stipulates that the tenure of office of the Chairmen of the Area Councils in FCT would now be four years instead of three years, the existing Chairmen whose tenure were meant to expire or end today, have another one year to continue, based on the new law.
In a statement today, the Minister, Muhammadu Musa Bello said: “as an administration that is very conscious of the need to abide by the rule of law, even though we are not satisfied with the judgment of the court, we have no option but to comply.
“While complying, we are also making efforts to vacate the judgment and if need arises, to appeal the judgment, so that the correct position of the law will be determined by the legal processes.
“In the interim therefore, we are very conscious of the fact that the stand of the court has raised a lot of concerns within certain sections of the Federal Capital Territory residents.
“I wish to appeal to everyone to be calm, to be law abiding and to await the outcome of the legal processes. FCT is a creation of law. The FCT has always been known to be a place of unity, peace and good governance and populated by law abiding residents.”
The minister stressed that as a law-abiding government, the FCT Administration has no option than to suspend the planned inauguration of the Six Area Council Chairmen of the Federal Capital Territory who were duly elected some weeks ago as a result of this injunction of the court.
“Please let us continue the way we are and await the court processes. At the end of the court processes, the clear direction of what needs to be done would be clearly stated and then as an administration, we will do the needful.”
It would be recalled that in March of 2019, Area Council elections were held in the Federal Capital Territory, whereby Six Council Chairmen and their Councillors were elected after a very competitive and rigorous process.
These six Council Chairmen of the FCT were then inaugurated on the 20th of May 2019, under the 2010 Electoral Act.
Based on that Act, the tenure of the Chairmen would end today and the new Chairmen, based on the elections held in February this year, would be sworn in tomorrow MMay, 20.