In a definitive statement, Bayo Onanuga, the Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to President Bola Tinubu, has clarified that President Tinubu has no intention of relocating Nigeria’s Federal Capital from Abuja to Lagos. This clarification comes amidst circulating rumors suggesting a potential move of the capital, which Onanuga categorically denied.
Onanuga’s statement was issued on January 24, 2024, in response to allegations that gained traction following the recent relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), a department of the Aviation Ministry, to Lagos. He emphasized that such administrative decisions should not be misinterpreted as indicative of a larger plan to move the nation’s capital. He pointed out that Lagos, being the commercial hub and center of the aviation business in Nigeria, is a logical location for FAAN.
The adviser also addressed similar concerns about the movement of certain departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Lagos. He clarified that the relocated departments, including the bank supervision department, are closely linked with commercial banks headquartered in Lagos. According to Onanuga, proximity to the businesses they regulate justifies their location in Lagos rather than Abuja.
Onanuga denounced those fueling the relocation rumor, labeling them as dishonest, ethnic, and regional champions seeking to cause unnecessary tension. He accused them of engaging in dangerous politics aimed at creating divisions between the North and the South of Nigeria. He further stated that the decision to move FAAN and some CBN departments is purely administrative and should not be politicized.
The Presidential adviser also provided examples of other parastatals not based in Abuja, underscoring the practicality of their locations based on their mandates. He mentioned the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Lagos, and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Lokoja, highlighting that their locations are strategically chosen for operational effectiveness.
Concluding his statement, Onanuga urged an end to what he described as ‘dirty politics’. He called for a focus on the bigger picture and a refrain from creating rumors that distract and undermine the administration. His comments aim to reassure the public and dispel any fears or speculations about a change in the location of Nigeria’s capital.