Christopher Zakka Maikalangu
“I DO solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute functions of the office of chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
These were the words being read by the six new chairmen of Abuja’s area councils after Justice Suleiman Belgore administered the oath of office to them and their deputies at the Cyprian Ekwensi Arts and Cultural Centre, Garki Area 10, venue of their inauguration, for a four-year tenure.
Out of the six chairmen, Christopher Zakka Maikalangu of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, and Abubakar Umar Abdullahi of Abaji council would be exploring their first term in office while the chairmen of Kuje, Bwari, Gwagwalada, and Kwali councils were inaugurated for their second and final tenures.
The FCT Minister, Muhammed Musa Bello, in his remarks shortly after the inauguration, urged them to reflect on the oath they have taken and chart a way forward to provide the dividends of democracy to the people at the grassroots.
“The documents you signed today are very weighty. There will come a day when you will be held accountable. If you are corrupt, and the relevant agencies catch you, many of your friends and supporters will desert you. You will face the music alone. If I were you, I will go for the basics. I will tackle primary education and healthcare. I will tackle sanitation and insecurity. No matter who you are, you can’t do anything on security until you relate with your elders,” he warned.
Remarkable among the new chairmen is 44-year-old Christopher Zakka Maikalangu, whose emergence as the chairman of AMAC, one of the largest and most strategic local council areas in the country, could be described as a transformation from grass to grace. He does not hide the facts of his life and his struggles to emerge as a leader of the people through politics.
Born on December 23, 1978 to the indigent family of Zakka Tukura Sefu Maikalangu of Garki Village, he started his educational pursuit at the Garki Primary school from 1989 in Garki village. He couldn’t proceed to secondary school until he was 23. He later graduated in 2007 at the age of 29. Two years later, he ventured into grassroots politics and became a councillor in 2013. He quickly mastered the art of grassroots legislation and was re-elected on multiple occasions for his excellent representation of his ward.
Having lived all his life in the Abuja municipal and convinced that he understood the issues and challenges bedeviling the area council, he ran for the chairmanship position on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and won by a landslide in his first attempt. Addressing his supporters and well-wishers after the inauguration ceremony, Zakka, a thoroughbred politician and grass root mobiliser with a calm disposition, promised to run a fair government, free of discrimination to all residents, irrespective of political, ethnic or religious background.
“The people have so much expectations from us. By the grace of God, with prayer and support, we shall make them proud,” he said, noting that the area council was the closest level of government to the people at the grassroots.