Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, has dismissed rumours of relocating the Federal Capital Territory from Abuja to Lagos, labelling such talk as dishonest tactics employed by opponents during the previous year’s campaign. He indicated that the relocation of departments of FAAN and CBN was for strategic reasons and not politics.
Onanuga made this clarification in a statement on his X account on Wednesday.
The president’s aide emphasised that Abuja’s status is legally established and refuted claims of any plans to move the capital.
Regarding the relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to Lagos, Onanuga clarified that it does not constitute a shift of the Federal Capital Territory. He noted that the federal agency was based in Lagos before it was moved to Abuja a few years ago during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “The movement of FAAN, a department of the Aviation Ministry to Lagos, where it was based before former minister Hadi Sirika moved it to Abuja during the last administration, does not amount to moving the FCT to Lagos.”
He highlighted the commercial significance of Lagos, being the hub of aviation business in Nigeria. The move is described as an administrative decision to align FAAN with the industry it regulates, with the assurance that FAAN will maintain some presence in Abuja.
Similarly, Onanuga addressed the movement of certain departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Lagos. Emphasising the regulatory aspect, he noted that these departments deal with commercial banks, all headquartered in Lagos. The proximity of the regulator to the businesses it oversees is considered essential.
The presidential aide condemned the politicisation of these administrative decisions, accusing those spreading falsehoods of engaging in dangerous politics aimed at creating divisions between the North and the South.
“All those pushing this campaign of falsehood know they are playing politics, albeit a dangerous politics to pit the North against the South,” he said.
He pointed out other parastatals with locations outside Abuja based on their mandates, such as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Lokoja.
He said, “There are many parastatals that are not based in Abuja depending on their mandate. NIMASA is in Lagos. So is NPA. National Inland Waterways Authority( NIWA) is in Lokoja, not Abuja. Will the people opposing the movement of FAAN and some CBN departments want those agencies to be in Abuja, where there is no single port and no maritime activity?”
He called for an end to what he terms “dirty politics,” urging a cessation of political manoeuvring that distracts from the broader national agenda. He emphasised the need to refrain from generating harmful rumours to undermine an administration led by a Southerner and called for more constructive political discourse.