The Federal Government’s decision to relocate the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters and certain Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) divisions to Lagos State has sparked controversy that hasn’t yet subsided. At their meeting in Abuja today, Monday, the members of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, or SMBLF, are anticipated to make a firm decision over the controversial matter.
It may be remembered that Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, ordered the transfer of FAAN’s headquarters to Lagos in an internal memo signed by the organization’s Managing Director, Olubunmi Kuku.
Similarly, CBN has presented a decongestant action plan intended to optimize its operational environment through the relocation of certain critical units to Lagos.
The Banking Supervision, Other Financial Institutions Supervision, Consumer Protection, Payment System Management, and Financial Policy Regulations departments are among the departments of the Apex Bank that moved to Lagos.
A broad spectrum of Northerners fiercely opposed the decision, claiming that it was a part of a scheme to further underdevelop the area.
Chief Senate Whip Ali Ndume was among the first to criticize it, claiming that it was driven by “political cartels” in the administration.
The senator from Borno South, Mr. Ndume, claimed that President Bola Tinubu is being misled into enacting unwise policies by the “cartels” by means of false counsel.
Mr. Ndume warned that a political crisis would arise in the nation if the president did not undo the decision to move the two agencies to Lagos.
He said, “They are not doing Mr. President any favors because this will have political repercussions.”
Before the Senator made this claim, the Arewa Consultative Forum, or ACF, had denounced the two government agencies’ relocation, saying that the move will
The dispute spread to the southern section of the nation, where local organizations adopted contrasting stances.
Members of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) are scheduled to convene in Abuja today, Monday, February 5, 2024, to discuss the issue at hand.
Leaders from the Middle Belt, South South, and Ohanaeze Ndigbo are slated to attend the conference and share a common stance on the ongoing crisis.
According to a person with knowledge of the conference who wishes to remain anonymous, leaders from the three geopolitical zones have resolved to discuss the issue and adopt a common stance.
severely underdevelop the nation’s north.
Likewise, if the office relocations were not stopped, the Northern Senators Forum, NSF, likewise threatened to sue the federal government.
You are aware that Nigeria is home to more people than only Yorubas and Northerners. Since we are all citizens of this nation, our opinions ought to be considered when making decisions.
He declared, “We are going to have a thorough discussion about this matter and other urgent issues that affect national unity.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, or NNPCL, should move its headquarters to any of the states that produce oil, according to the source, who expressed concern about the actions of some Northern politicians.
Arewa Youths promise a ferocious opposition to the projected relocation of FAAN and CBN.
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), a well-known youth organization in Northern Nigeria, responded to the relocation by promising to vehemently oppose any attempt to tamper with the original plan for the country’s capital.
The planned relocation “posed a significant threat” to Abuja’s standing as the capital city and might have detrimental effects on the country as a whole, according to AYCF President General Yerima Shettima.
Shettima highlighted that the FG’s move “risks undermining national unity, disrupting operations, causing economic setbacks, and perpetuating regional imbalances” in light of her fears about possible repercussions.
He said that Abuja was “chosen as the capital with deliberate intention to foster national unity and decentralize power.”
“AYCF and its supporters will fiercely resist any agenda that seeks to tamper with this arrangement.”
Shettima added that the Northern elite “must not be silent when the political and economic viability of Northern Nigeria is at stake” and voiced his unhappiness with the “complicit silence of the Northern elite regarding these provocations.”
The AYCF called on the relevant authorities to reconsider the proposed relocations in view of the “potential harm they may cause to Abuja’s status as the capital city and the nation as a whole”.
He asked those in charge to put the country’s unity first and make sure that no steps are done to worsen regional imbalances or jeopardize Northern Nigeria’s political and economic stability.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to advancing national development and unity in Northern Nigeria.
Shettima continued, “We will keep fighting to keep Abuja as the nation’s capital and to oppose any attempts to sabotage unity within the country.”
Chieftain Chucks Ibegbu, who was Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide’s immediate past deputy national publicity secretary, told the Daily Post that the Southeast’s population is the target of systemic and societal injustice.
“There is no federal presence in the Southeast,” he asserts. Every time, we’re regarded as conquered territory. We are being treated as though we are conquered people by the North and the West.
“There are the fewest states and local administrations in the Southeast. If the FG moves at least one ministry or agency to Enugu, what’s wrong with that?
Are Aba, Umuahia, and Enugu not in Nigeria? They said there was an international airport in Enugu, but there isn’t any proof of one—there is just one restricted airline.The FAAN should be moved to Enugu and the CBN to Aba by the government. That is not at all problematic. We belong to the nation as well.It is a fact that the Southeast is the target of institutional, social, and political injustice.
“The North and the West are taking advantage of us because some of our politicians here don’t fight for their people—they just care about their own fortunes.
“As if people in the Southeast are spectators, the North and the West have been switching around even the President among themselves. The fact is that we do not receive fair treatment in this nation.
Chucks, who bemoaned the hardship brought on by the loss of fuel subsidies, countered that Nigerians should direct their complaints toward more urgent problems facing the country.
“The issue with Nigerians is that they prioritize shadow over substance. There is no connection between the food on our table and the move of the FAAN headquarters and certain CBN staff to Lagos.
Ohanaeze spokesman Alex Ogbonna declined to comment on the topic, stating that Southeast would disclose its stance following Monday’s Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum meeting.
“We will state our position on that by Monday morning and we will make our position known to the general public through a communique,” he said, not wanting to spoil what they would say during the meeting.
The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization Afenifere has stated that moving the FAAN headquarters and CBN units to Lagos was in the best interests of Nigerians amidst the uproar over the FG’s move.
The National Publicity Secretary for Afenifere stated that there was nothing wrong with the FG’s decision.
“We in Afenifere don’t see anything wrong with it,” he remarked. The Federal Government’s attempt to move the FAAN headquarters and CBN operations to Lagos State is not illegal.
“The relocation issue predated Tinubu’s administration by some distance. Muhammadu Buhari’s administration served as the beginning, but it was not the end. Tinubu deserves praise for continuing initiatives that the previous administration had initiated.
He claims that people who are against the decision are individuals who are hesitant to leave their familiar surroundings in Abuja. It does not only occur in Nigeria.
You will realize that the legislative, the executive branch, and the judiciary are not all in one place if you visit South Africa.It doesn’t matter who is in charge; we want the administration to be successful, and we are willing to support any efforts that would help the nation function.