Section 147 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended) provides that the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State. This provision however doesn’t expressly include the FCT.
Following years of clamour for the appointment of a Minister of the Government of the Federation from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), President Bola Tinubu has nominated Honourable Zaphaniah Bitrus Jisalo as a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Jisalo’s name was among a batch of nineteen (19) fresh nominees sent to the National Assembly for screening and possible confirmation as a Minister on Wednesday ahead of the Senate’s conclusion of screening for the first batch of twenty-eight (28) Ministerial Nominees previously submitted.
Fifty-three-year old Jisalo; a Public Relations Expert had worked with Nigeria’s election management body; the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) between 1990 to 2002 before his sojourn into politics.
Upon his entrance into politics; he was elected as Chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in 2004 and secured re-election in 2007 where he served until 2010. Jisalo thereafter ran for one of the two House of Representatives seat reserved for the FCT; the Abuja Municipal/Bwari Federal Constituency in 2011 and 2015 leading to his service in the 7th and 8th National Assembly on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
At the House of Representatives, he served on the Committees on Defence, National Security, Appropriation, Customs and Excise, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Sports. He also aspired for the lone Senatorial seat in the Federal Capital Territory.
His last political appointment before his nomination as a Minister was the position of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Coordinator for the Tinubu Support Group (TSG).
Section 147 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended) provides that the President shall appoint at least one Minister from each State, who shall be an indigene of such State.
The practice over the years however, is that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is usually left out of this arrangement leading to the clamour for a representation of the original inhabitants and indigenes of the Territory in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as with other states.
According to those advocating for this Ministerial slot, such appointment would be in the interest of fairness and equity amongst all federating units of the country. This has however, been countered by another school of thought which argues that the “concept of catchment areas and Federal Character has had an adverse effect on our socio-economic and political development.”
It is noteworthy that indigenes and residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for the first time in at least twelve years, elected Ireti Heebah Kingibe; a non-indigene to represent their interest in the Senate. A development that ended the occupation of the lone seat reserved for the FCT in the Red Chamber by Senator Phillip Aduda; an indigene of the FCT who had moved to the Senate from the House of Representatives.