…Says we are under silent intimidation by authorities
…Vows to reclaim what belongs to council
…Directs legal dept. to reclaim markets, others
By Chris Ochayi
The Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Hon. Abdullahi Adamu Candido, has raised the alert over alleged plot to frustrate his efforts to discharge his constitutional responsibilities of serving the people of the Area Council who elected him into the office.
Hon. Candido, who raised the alarm while speaking with newsmen in Abuja, noted that some vested interests were bent on usurping his constitutional responsibilities through ignition of unnecessary conflict aimed to make it impossible for his administration to deliver to the people “what is expected of us.”
Candido, who vowed not be cowed by silent intimidation and threats being orchestrated against him, said, “I will not keep quite because I have a mandate to discharge.”
According to him, “And must I keep quite again, the response is no, I wouldn’t. I will not keep quite because I have a mandate to discharge. One of the fall out is now is just lacking payment of ordinarily salary for workers. This Area Council is among the list of stronger, bigger local councils among the 774 local government councils in Nigeria. “
Recall there have been conflicting claims between the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, over who is empowered by law to collect certain taxes in the city centre.
The entire city centre, including space where the FCTA office is located, falls under the jurisdiction of AMAC., but the authorities of the FCTA have continued to lay claim to the right to collect the tax.
This development, Hon. Candido said has made things difficult for the administration to meet its obligation to the Council and its people.
He regretted that the Council was unable to off-set the May 2020 salaries of the secretariat workers of N170 million, which according to him, was due to activities of silent underground intimidation being targeted at the administration.
Candido, who lamented that the development was affecting the AMAC administration, attributed the Council’s indebtedness to some contractors, which he puts to less than N20 billion, while blaming the development on the hijack of Area Council’s revenue sources by certain authorities.
Some contractors, according to him have not being paid fully for jobs completed for almost two years, adding, though the council has being paying them instalmentally because these obstacles, hindrances and conflicts are crippling the revenue generation base of the council.
He said the silent underground intimidation from authorities was frustrating the council from discharging its constitutional right in order to paint the administration in bad light before the people who gave us the mandate.
The AMAC boss therefore directed the Legal Department in the Area Council, to urgently commence a process towards ensuring the reclamation of all the AMAC revenue sources, especially the Wuse Market which had been managed by the council for over 21 years.
He directed that, “The legal and Finance Departments to work together on how to reclaim the Wuse Market. AMAC by history has managed the market for 21 years. Apply all the necessary measures to ensure that we reclaim Wuse market.
“I must hand over all the reclaim assets to the income administration that will succeed me. I must be given the opportunity to deliver my mandate freely given by the people of AMAC, irrespective of intimidation and threat from authorities. “
Candido said, “I wish to state my position very clear, that I have the mandate of the people of Abuja municipal Area Council, to manage their trust, manage their affairs for the three additional years after exhausting the first three years. I have spent one year out of the three years of the second term.
“And this last one year, plus two previous years has not being too good with us financially. But why the silence all these while was love for harmony and zero confects between our government and any other arm of the government. So there can be peace, and tranquility through which development can be better achieved.
“However, as a democratic structure and a government put in place by citizens, we feel we are going to fail in our own way of discharging our responsibilities if we keep quite. So, we needed to let the people of Abuja Municipal Area Council, who brought me here and other elected representatives for why are we passing though this things,
“Sincerely, I am a respecter of authorities, and I value synergy with all organs of government. But it must not be at the expense of the good people of this Area Council. We have suffered enough in silence, and if we keep quite, the good people of this Area Council will continue to suffer.
“And that will not augur well for me as an elected representative of the people. And therefore, I felt the silent underground intimidation from authorities, silent intimidation from quarters that are likely superior to us, would wanting to discharge responsibility that constitutionally they don’t have has brought us to our knees.
“This silent intimidation has frustrated the administration and we have been perceived in bad light by people who do not understand the working of the relationship that is supposed to be between the Area Council and other arms of the government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerians need to know that we have arms of government. Local government is one, put in place by the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria. Each has its responsibilities. And since assumption of office, we have never done what does not belong to us. We are mindful of the fact that we only carry out what he constitution allows us to do
“Unfortunately, other arms of the government are as well interested in what the constitution bestowed in the Council to do. And so unnecessary conflict has made it so impossible for us to deliver to the people what is expected of us.
“And must I keep quite again, the response is no, I wouldn’t. I will not keep quite because I have a mandate to discharge. One of the fall out is now is just lacking payment of ordinarily salary for workers. This Area Council is among the list of stronger, bigger local councils among the 774 local government councils in Nigeria.
“It is a shame that we can even say, ordinary salary payment, we cannot do it. Of course, we can’t. Because of what I will describe intimidation, underground works which has frustrated us and we are almost going out of business.
“And then pitching us against the residents, wanting the residents to believe that the Area Councils are always doing the wrong thing whereas we are only keeping to what belongs to us. But for intimidation, we cannot deliver what is expected of us.
“Why we are here is for the residents of AMAC to be told that we have a responsibility to deliver. Ant the Chairman of this Area Council will do everything possible to protect what belong them, irrespective of anything that may come my way.
“The Chairman of this Area Council is ready to defend what belong to this Area Council, even if it is going to cost me this position. So long as I am standing for the people, their mandate is too important for me to give out what belong to the people of this Area Council. “