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The real cause of Senator Ireti Kingibe’s fixation with Senator Philip Aduda

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Isn’t it weird that a winner in an election is so fixated with the vanquished, so much so that rational Nigerians are now asking; can we know more about the real issue here? It is no more news that Senator Ireti Kingibe of Labour Party (LP) defeated the sitting Senator representing Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Philip Aduda on February 2023 national assembly (NASS) election. The legal battle that followed after her victory at the polls also saw her triumph at the election tribunal. As of today, Senator Ireti Kingibe is the Senator representing FCT at NASS.  

It may interest Nigerians to know that Senator Ireti Kingibe had been contesting senatorial election in FCT since 2003 without success. So, what changed in 2023 that she won under LP that has been in existent before 2023, but she probably didn’t see it as a vehicle to achieving her ambition of becoming Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? A critical look at why she won FCT senatorial seat, reveals three (3) factors.

In the first place, Senator Philip Aduda’s party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was embroiled in crisis that led to large chunk of its members voting different parties at the general election. Secondly, the Presidential candidate of LP, Peter Gregory Obi brought a lot of goodwill to the party, besides, Peter Obi appealed to the youths of Nigeria, who wanted a break from the past.

Emeka Oraetoka
The author, Emeka Oraetoka

Thirdly, Obidient Movement, consisting of the youths, old men and women, members of the armed forces who are not necessarily members of any political party in Nigeria. The aforesaid factors gave Senator Ireti Kingibe victory at the polls. Nobody knows her as a political force in FCT.

This writer is absolutely sure that Senator Ireti Kingibe cannot stand the following illustrious sons of FCT in any election in Abuja: Senator Philip Aduda, Hon. Zephaniah Jisalo, now the honourable minister of Special Duty, Hon Micah Jibah, Jafaru Gwagwa, Hon Angulu Dobi, Senator Jubrin Wowo, Hon Abdullahi Candido. Having seen that her election was by default, she is now running from pillar to post to see how she can stay afloat ahead 2027. Senator Ireti Kingibe knows deep down in her that she cannot stand Senator Philip Aduda, on one to one contest in FCT anymore, hence, her fixation with Aduda. She knows the factors that gave her victory in 2023 will not be there in 2027.

Perhaps, Senator Ireti Kingibe opened political Pandora box by accusing Senator Philip Aduda of poor representation for the twenty (20) years he stayed at NASS. For avoidance of doubt, here is the extract of what Senator Kingibe said as reported by Daily Trust of March 5, 2023: — “I am bringing a credible representation; I am not going there to put anything in my pocket.

At my age, I have everything that I want. I am not trying to move to a better house, but I want to give back to the society that has been good to me. “I didn’t join politics for anything other than improving the country and the people. A nation and a government are judged by the well-being of the people, that is what determines success,” — Ireti said her major focus in the parliament as an FCT senator would be to tackle the infrastructural imbalance in the territory and ensure the issue of insecurity is addressed.

“FCT, except for Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), is primarily agrarian, but because of insecurity, nobody can go to the farm. Even if there is insecurity in the land, FCT is the capital. With a little bit of effort, we should be secured in the FCT, but we are at the point where nobody can go to the farm.

Senator Phillip Aduda
Senator Phillip Aduda

“I feel that there is a lack of will to fix insecurity, and what I am bringing to the FCT is goodwill, determination to work, sincerity, integrity and honesty. The things I cannot do, I will tell FCT residents that I cannot do it,” — She said the residents of the FCT do not feel the presence of the government due to poor representation at the National Assembly. “I am running because I can see a great lapse and lacuna in the representation of the FCT. I have lived in the FCT since 1988.  “Senatorial seat is the highest elective office in the FCT and the senator works closely with the Minister of FCT to represent the people and also take care of the FCT infrastructure. “The Senator is also there to keep an eye on the needs of the people because he is representing them”–.  For emphasis sake, this is what the same report said about Senator Philip Aduda on his representation of FCT while he was there: — However, Aduda’s defeat in the 2023 parliamentary poll was surprising as the senator is seen as the mouthpiece of Abuja natives, who had for long been complaining of marginalisation and poor representation at the federal level despite hosting the country’s seat of power. In the Red Chamber, the senator often raised the issue of exclusion of FCT indigenes in federal appointments like ministerial and ambassadorial nominations.

“We don’t get so many of these things, but the small ones that we have are about to be taken away which should not be so,” he had said while protesting against the non-inclusion of FCT natives in the appointment of non-career ambassadors by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020. He said the only FCT indigene currently serving as a non-career Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Hafiz Obada, was not re-appointed. Aduda had petitioned the Senate in July 2019 over the non-inclusion of a ministerial nominee from FCT. He said his constituents were surprised that no nominee representing FCT was on the list presented to the Senate for screening and confirmation by President Muhammadu Buhari.

During the last constitution review exercise in the National Assembly, Aduda lobbied his colleagues to support two FCT-related bills. However, the two bills seeking mayoral status and a ministerial slot for FCT were rejected during voting on the report of the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution. As Aduda prepares to exit the Senate, it remains to be seen if his successor would match or even beat his records in terms of providing quality representation for FCT natives and residents at the federal parliament.

Just ten (10) days after INEC declared Ireti Kingibe winner of FCT Senatorial election, she started giving the impression that Senator Philip Aduda’s poor representation was responsible for her victory. In fact, she stopped short of calling Aduda a selfish politician who did not represent his people NASS. But the above report itemizing the efforts Senator Aduda made for his people at NASS showed someone who has his people at heart and determined to give them a voice. Also, the report spoke for Aduda, and not him speaking for himself.

Not allowing the dangerous insinuation of poor representation from Senator Ireti Kingibe to stick, Senator Aduda elected to put aside the humility doctrine his Christian family is known for, to showcase  the massive infrastructural developments he recorded in FCT, even though belatedly. While taking journalists on tour of just some of his projects in FCT, the media men, in unison, asked him, “why didn’t you showcase these before the elections?” Aduda’s response was equally philosophical. He simply said he is showcasing it now for posterity sake. Hear him: “I want to be remembered as a lawmaker who was very modest about his achievements during his 20 years in NASS”.

 Here is roll-call of some verifiable projects showcased by distinguished Senator Philip Aduda: Some of the projects were as follows; N1.4billion Global Suite Road in Sabon Gari Area of Bwari with distance coverage of 6km, another N1.4 billion worth road project in Nyanya which passes in-front of   Divisional Police Headquarters, Area F and other landmarks. Other projects were 1.5 km GSS Kuduru road with street light,   expansive multipurpose Town Hall situated in Kuduru ward in Bwari Area Council, 2.2km internal road project in Gbazango , Kubwa ward  and age long in-passable Byhazin across road in Byhazin ward, Bwari Area Council.  In AMAC, aside series of road projects with drainages completed and nearing completion, showcased by Senator Aduda, were expansive Sports Centers built in Jikoyi and Nyanya for talents discovery.  

After the projects showcasing session, a happy Aduda has this to say: “For me, the more a person gets re-elected into the National Assembly or legislative arm, the more he or she garners experience and needed contacts for facilitation of development-driven projects to his or her constituency, as I have done for the people of FCT within the last 20 years. “As we are winding down the 9th Senate, we need to go round to take inventory of what we have done and put them into a compendium for history because we want history to judge us right, when our stories will be told. “The Nyanya-Hospital Road is costing over N1.4 billion, with the drainages, culverts with modern facilities like the one leading to Mechanic village around the Sabon-Gari area of Bwari Area Council which also costs over N1.4billion.“He said the projects unveiling and inspection would continue this week with visits to sites in Gwagwalada, Kuje, Kwali and Abaji Area Councils”. It must be understood that the Media was involved in the projects unveiling and inspection, and they have record of each and every project executed by Senator Philip Aduda.    

After seeing the quality projects Senator Philip Aduda put on ground in the Six Area Councils’ of FCT, Senator Ireti Kingibe knows she probably cannot match Aduda in terms of All Round Representation of the good people of FCT. So, the only thing she can do is base de-marketing of the person she “defeated” in an election. On January 2, 2024, at Berekete Family show programme, where Senator Ireti was a guest, she continued the trajectory of misinformation aimed at portraying Senator Aduda as one who offered poor representation as a Senator in FCT. On the occasion, she sought to distribute 2,500 bags of 5kg rice to the people of FCT through Ordinary President, Ahamad Isah. Not that the gesture was not a good one, but the real intention behind her appearance at the show was to continue her unhealthy and compulsive preoccupation with Senator Philip Aduda. Her gambit worked well when people started calling in, most of them praised her for using her money to buy such quantity of rice to be shared for the good people of FCT. When Ahmad Isah, the CEO and presenter of that day’s edition of the programme, announced another method he intend to share the rice, when some people started abusing the process of distribution, Senator Ireti told him she has made provision to also share through the traditional rulers in FCT. She said she had rice worth about N250 million on ground.

It was when people started demanding how N250 million worth of rice was shared in FCT that Presidency came to say that President Tinubu approved food items for Lawmakers and not cash that people started demanding that Senator Ireti Kingibe give good account of the rice palliative meant for them. The statement for Presidency on January 8, 2024 in response to demand of Nigerians on National Assembly members, reads thus: “President Tinubu only ordered the distribution of bags of rice worth 200m and N100m to each Senator and House of Reps member and the procurement of the items is ongoing”–. Nigerians are still demanding from their representatives to give account of the rice given to them to share in their constituents. Since no Senator or body of Senators have come out to deny the allegation of rice diversion, it will be safe to say, NASS members are guilty as charged.

To this writer, Senator Ireti Kingibe stands accused of what she said she will not be part of, as reported on March 5, 2023. The worth of 2,500 bags of 5kg rice is about N10 million @ N4, 000 par bag. If N10 million is subtracted from N200 million, about N190 million worth of rice is yet to be accounted for. I think Senator Kingibe, needs to address the good people of FCT on this allegation bearing in mind, the legal maxim, “he who comes into equity, must come with clean hands”. The poor representation she accused her predecessor of, could be liken to rice allegation in focus here.  

Another victim of Senator Ireti Kingibe’s fixation with Senator Philip Aduda, is the minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike. The real reason Wike is being attacked by Senator Ireti Kingibe appears to have root in Senator Philip Aduda’s presences in Port Harcourt on January 7, 2024, at the luncheon hosted by the FCT minister. While Senator Kingibe was yet to get over the presences of Senator Aduda in Port Harcourt, Wike again joined millions of Nigerians and government functionaries in consoling Aduda on the death of his mother’s in-law late Mrs. Asibi, a week after.  In the interview she granted Channels Television on Sunday, 21 January, 2024, she has this to say—“I have never met with the minister except when he came for appropriation. I have reached out to him several times. The minister for some reason thinks Senator Aduda is still the Senator of the FCT, unfortunately, that’s not the case”–. Here is the report that probably triggered the first real attack on Wike by FCT Senator, Ireti Kingibe: “The FCT minister Barrister Nyesom Wike, former minister of Information and National Orientation, Prof Jerry Gana, Senators, House of Representatives members, Obi Cubana, wife of the former senate president, Mrs. Toyin Bukola Saraki and top politicians and party chieftains as well as corporate organizations were among dignitaries that graced the funeral prayers of the late Senator Philip Aduda’s mother in-law, Mrs. Asibi Ishaku Bulus”.

The real reason for Senator Ireti Kingibe’s fixation with Senator Aduda is 2027 Senatorial election in FCT. The factors that worked in her favour in 2023 have since evaporated. Should Senator Philip Aduda or any of the personalities from FCT, I mentioned here, elects to contest in 2027; Ireti Kingibe has no chance of coming back.

Emeka Oraetoka, an Information/ Perception Management Consultant/ Researcher, wrote in from Abuja; e-mail:giltsdaimension@gmail.com; GSM: 08056031187, 09039094636

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