THE VISION, REALITY AND EMERGING ISSUES IN THE STATUS OF ABUJA, FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY (FCT) OF NIGERIA, AS A “NO MAN’S LAND”, 1976-2020

Julius O. Unumen (PhD), Prof. E. C. Emordi

Abstract


The study examines the contrast between the vision and the reality as well as emerging issues with regard to the status of Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria, as a “no man’s land”. It argues that when Abuja was created in 1976, the vision of the founding fathers was that the new capital would be “ethnically neutral” and, therefore, a “no man’s land”, where no ethnic group could claim to be indigenes of the area and on that basis demand for special privileges. This was to prevent the situation in Lagos, the former capital, which is predominated by the Yoruba ethnic group that laid claim to its ownership. In reality, however, the prevailing situation in Abuja within the period under review, with respect to its status as a “no man’s land”, is the contrast of this vision. The study posits that by 1976, when Abuja was created, there were nine indigenous ethnic groups that inhabited the area, which the Federal Government promised to evacuate and resettle outside the 8,000 square kilometers Territory. The failure of government to keep to this promise made Abuja to become the opposite of the vision of the founding fathers as a “no man’s land”. Incessant protests and agitations by the indigenous ethnic groups for special privileges in Abuja on the grounds of being indigenes of the area became common place with evident implications for ethnic harmony and peace in the Territory. Some emerging issues, including demand by the indigenous ethnic groups for Abuja to be recognised and administered as a state with a mayor or a governor, and having its own house of assembly, among many other demands, have become worrisome developments in the area. The study adopts the historical and analytical approaches and relies essentially on literary materials for its analysis. It concludes by recommending, among others, the need to integrate the indigenous people of Abuja into the development of the Territory to ensure ethnic harmony and avert the impending implosion in the nation’s capital.


Keywords


Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Vision, Reality, No Man’s Land, Agitations

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