BY KINGSLY MADAKI
Following the outcome of the just concluded 2019 general elections that announced President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner for the second term in office, it is pertinent to note that constitutionally, to win the presidency, a candidate needs a majority of votes nationwide and at least 25 percent support in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and the FCT. It will not be out of place to confidently state that the FCT is still like a promising child growing up when it comes to practical politics and will surely grow up to full maturity in the nearest future. For instance, Lagos State as then capital city of Nigeria, attained her respected political status because they collectively worked for the greatness of the state. Although, the commitment of the immediate past House of Representatives member representing AMAC/Bwari federal constituency and the FCT Senatorial candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Zaphaniah Bitrus Jisalo, who believed in the possibility of the future and greatness of a better FCT, worked hard, sacrificing all it takes at the 2019 election and ensured that the 25 percent requirement for any President to be announced the winner of the election was singlehandedly achieved by him alone. Upon our investigation, we gathered that the left over squabbles at the APC FCT primaries that produced Jisalo as the senatorial candidate of the party was something other contestants on the platform of the party, could not forgive the party. This development led to most of them working against the party at the polls and finally led to the dismal performance of the party both at the presidential, senatorial and House of Representatives elections in the FCT.
In the electioneering campaign for FCT Senatorial seat, the party aspirant that contested the same position with Jisalo and key party stakeholders refused to show up in places where the party was popular which led to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party taking advantage to take dominance of such areas. For instance, in Abuja South, where the APC as then opposition party took dominance for years, they completely sold out during the 2019 general elections for the simple gains of a payback time tactics and operation pull him down syndrome. During his tenure in the Green Chambers, in order to impact positively on the lives of FCT residents, Jisalo sponsored the Mayoral Bill. That Bill has brought to the consciousness of Nigerians that something needs to be done for the people of the FCT, also, that the plight of the FCT should be looked into. Also, he was able to let Nigerians see the need for the FCT to be treated as one of the states in Nigeria. He also sponsored the Bill for an Act to establish the College of Education in Zuba. The College has been existing for over 16 years without an operational law. For all those years there has not been any convocation or graduation in the college. President Muhammad Buhari has accented to it and now the college has begun convocations and has started issuing out certificates to its graduands. That has been a great relief to the people of FCT.
Aside his great achievement to the people of FCT, he fought gallantly during the general elections to ensure that the All Progressives Congress (APC) take a stronghold in the FCT, which has never been possible since the inception of the nation’s nascent democracy. He ensured that he had direct communication with the people of FCT, making them to see the need to ensure continuity in the government of President Buhari. During the campaign for the presidential election, Jisalo spearheaded the campaigns for President Muhammad Buhari to every nook and cranny of the FCT, with the expectation that the hearts of the people will be positioned to the victory of the APC in the territory. He ensured that no matter what, even if the expected victory of the APC was becoming a mirage in the FCT, President Buhari must clinch the 25% needed in 2/3 of the states in Nigeria. Contrary to the false claim that FCT residents did not vote for Buhari during the election, the people voted, but the party could not deliver the needed victory for the President, but Jisalo made sure that the needed 25% was actualised, which should be seen as pass mark for FCT residents. With the efforts of some of the people in FCT through Jisalo, to ensure that President Buhari got the required 25% in the territory, I believe that the people of FCT deserve commendation and not anger from Buhari, who is the father of the nation.
We need to be appreciated and compensated for the efforts we made through Jisalo, whose political doggedness would have yielded more positive results, if he had the ultimate power as either a senator or a minister in the FCT. Political analysts have joined their voices to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to consider Hon. Zaphaniah Jisalo as his major eye in the FCT, as he assembles a fresh cabinet and he should further be compensated for fighting a good fight that delivered 25% required for the president to win the 2019 election. –Madaki writes from Abuja
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