In the power equation of Nigeria today, whoever occupies the position of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is considered a powerful power broker, something akin to the status of a state governor. That is why all those that have been privileged to seat on that ‘hot’ seat are usually seen as been above several of their contemporaries in Nigeria’s power organogram.
As the nation’s capital city, Abuja is often seen as an elite and stupendously wealthy city, where the government is expected to do or provide virtually everything under the sun for the residents. The situation has gotten so bad that residents want all social amenities to be working with the precision of a Swiss clock, most times without playing their own part of the bargain.
Created through the instrumentality of a military decree of the Murtala Mohammed regime in 1976, Abuja enjoys the honour and distinction of being the only city created by law in Nigeria. Unlike other capital cities of the world, what makes the case of the city a bit worrisome is the notorious penchant of residents for flouting laws with the alarming impunity and rapidity of Lake Victoria Falls. The situation of breaking of laws with reckless abandon has gotten to a crescendo that even ordinary traffic lights, which are expected to restore sanity to our notoriously chaotic roads are been contumaciously disobeyed, thereby resulting to avoidable road crashes, sometimes with dire consequences on human lives.
It has been established the world over that the back-breaking nay capital intensive task of running of modern municipal cities requires the collaborative efforts of all and sundry – both the government and relevant stakeholders to bring to fruition. In other words, stakeholders are expected to fully participate in all government policies and programmes, with a view to actualizing laudable government policies and programmes tailored towards repositioning such cities.
Since the emergence of the present leadership in the FCT, lots of pessimisms have been expressed as to whether it possesses the wherewithal to turn around things for the better. Some have even gone ahead to question the transformative capabilities of the leadership to transmogrify Abuja into a World-class city. But it appears the critics are a bit too hasty in their rating of the Bello-led administration. So far, these critics are beginning to eat their hearts out, judging from how far the administration has gone in discharging its responsibilities.
It is now so glaring for all to see that the formidable synergy that has been forged between the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello and the FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye, is already beginning to yield positive dividends in all facets of governance in Abuja.
A critical appraisal of the Abuja city toady reveals that the present fct administration has ensured that several major contractors were mobilised back to sites. A visit to Karshi – Apo road would gladden one’s heart as work has gotten to advanced stage, hoping that sooner than later, the jinx of the non-completion of the project would be broken. The street lights, road shoulders as well as the deadly road leading to popular Utako Motor Park has been tarred at no cost to the government which is a novel innovation in city management.
This determination to ensure that Abuja regains its rightful place in the comity of capital cities of the world in terms of cleanliness recently led to the sacking of the management team of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the reconstitution of a new one, a development that is already bearing fruits considering the seriousness the new management is taking its assignment. Residents are full of expectations that the minister would extend the purge to other indolent agencies and parastatals in the FCT with a view to making them to sit up.
The recent marching order given to the minister by the Senate Committee on FCT that he clean-up the territory within two weeks is still in tandem with Bello’s grim determination to ensure that the nation’s capital territory is rid of filth.
As FCTA’s 2016 budget awaits passage by the National Assembly, the minister and his team should ensure that all inherited projects that are viable and have beneficial impact on the people are expeditiously completed. That is the only way his administration can make a meaningful and long lasting impact on the lives of the people.
Equally, in the face of dwindling allocation from the federation account occasioned by low oil prices, FCTA under Bello’s superintendence should be aggressive in its revenue drive to compliment the pittance that comes in from the federal government. In such a way, funds will be available to bring to fruition the minister’s dream of a developed FCT in terms of infrastructure. Considering the strategic position of FCT in the nation’s scheme of affairs, Mohammad Musa Bello cannot afford to fail in his redemptive drive to leave FCT better than he met it.
Edor, public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja