By Kassim Afegbua.
Wike’s appointment as Honourable Minister of the nation’s capital did not resonate well with some members of his party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), but they were unable to abort it as it was well primed within the ambit of the government of national competence that the president envisaged.
They tried hard before its announcement, to put spanners in the works, arguing that the Ikwerre-born politician should not be trusted with such a portfolio; especially when his party’s candidate had rushed to the Tribunal with a petition on the outcome of the election.
The President who has a renewed hope agenda, insisted that he needs capable and trusted hands to discharge the onerous task of delivering on his promises; hence his choice of Nyesom Wike.
Wike came highly recommended as Mr. infrastructural development: in his day as Rivers governor, he transformed Rivers State to a modern destination. Also, as Minister of State for Education, during Jonathan’s era, he made huge strides.
The President’s rationale for entrusting the FCT to him was understandable and unimpregnable. The nation’s capital and its environs have been subjected to so many distortions over the years, in terms of its masterplan and administrative structure; and Mr President finds Nyesom Wike fit and proper to correct some of those masterplan discrepancies.
Moving on to now, in less than three months in the saddle, the initial noise of disapproval that heralded and accompanied Wike’s appointment has simmered; leaving only traces from some ridiculous faceless actors who see Abuja as the exclusive preserve of the North.
The sprucing of the city is already gaining momentum from his interventions. The territory is now wearing the status akin to that of a state: it now has the Civil Service Commission, its revenue generation has now been domiciled in its own in-house account and not the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government, and the women have now been given a sense of belonging by the creation of the Women’s Secretariat. The ability of the Federal Capital Territory to generate its own revenue alone, from where her budget will be partly funded, will allow for proper planning and execution of her projects, and other statutory responsibilities.
Only last week, the staff of the FCT Ministry in their hundreds gathered spontaneously on the Minister’s Office to give him a thumbs up for the kind of innovations his administration has brought to the ministry. They were particularly elated by the introduction of the Civil Service Commission, and the removal of the revenue generation accounts from the TSA. According to them, these will automatically impact positively on planning and execution of his stated goals and objectives. Two days after that, members of Nyesom Wike’s famed G-5 which became Atiku Abubakar’s albatross in the last elections, paid him a courtesy call in show of solidarity. He conducted them round the ministry and intimated them of some of the projects he is preparing to embark on, to give the territory a face-lift.
That initial cynicism and grip of fear atmosphere that Wike’s warning shots created on his first day have petered out, and his style is adjudged to be comely. Wike whom they thought had come to put their heads under the guillotine is now a friend, and is welcome. His humane persona coupled with his collective actions are paying off in more robust ways than were envisaged; his critics are gradually becoming his praise-singers, and for good reason.
Unlike in the past when the FCT administration somewhat saw the FCT as only the Abuja Municipal Area Council which hosts the seat of government, this minister is widening his horizon to other area councils also: Abaji, Kwali, Gwagwalada, Bwari and Kuje to inject a new thinking that would make the entire masterplan flourish in contemporary times. This has elicited greater interest in his work from the people. What the FCT needs amongst other things are: infrastructural furtherance that would truly footnote its masterplan i.e. an increase and expansion of its infrastructural spread, to decongest the municipality, an enhanced system of administration that would promote staff welfare, a transportation system and network that would guarantee easy and comfortable mobility, and functionality of other common social amenities that would be sufficient and readily accessible per capita.
Those who understand Wike’s work ethics can assure onlookers and FCT residents that his works will take the territory higher in ranking, as it opens new grounds for a better appreciation as a place to live.
On his recent meeting with members of the Miyetti Allah, it was reported that Wike unveiled his plan to create ranches that would warehouse wandering cows to stem open grazing and its ramifications, e.g open defeacation. By that meeting, members of Miyetti Allah saw the need to cooperate with the minister and subscribe to this developmental agendum, and are now ready to support him with a new approach to cattle rearing in the municipality. They appreciated that Abuja is the seat of government and plays host to many diplomats and investors who come around on a regular basis to do one thing or the other.
As a modern city, it must be able to showcase some level of decency in its aesthetics, environmental standards, security, safety, and comfort; and open grazing within the city centre does not support those. Hence the need to structure out green areas for ranching. It was proper that before taking such action, the operators of the system of open grazing were dialogued with to get their buy-in and understanding in order to have a seamless implementation of the new plan. Wike also resolved to complete those uncompleted projects that litter the city in the various area councils.
In order to fully implement his plans, the Minister of the FCT should be encouraged and supported by all others too; particularly FCT residents, to create a shift that would relaunch the Abuja and its environs to an adorable level of beauty. We are all here and can call for him to be checked if and when he wittingly or unwittingly derails from his projections and roadmap, to revamp the territory.
What Wike needs is a combination of constructive engagement, collective bargaining and a rousing support, for him to strike the right chord at the execution stage of his masterplan. He has the will. Negative criticisms by those select few who do not agree with his style in trying to reposition the FCT to attain new heights, is not in our interest. It is not every time that we must squabble, just to be noticed.
Worthy of note so far albeit, is that a good number Abuja residents now realise that there is a workaholic minister in place, who is ready to do his job, and will rein in anyone in the way of his job execution, to make FCT a better place for all. The courage to do the right thing is in him, the boldness to change the status quo is in him, and the grit to look anyone, eyeball to eyeball is also in him! So, with Wike, the FCT is ready for business.
Those like Sheik Gumi, who are trying to play up the religious card must quickly caution themselves not to stir the hornet’s nest and puncture the relative peaceful co-existence within the FCT. The claim by some mischief makers and sordid characters that the FCT is to be run according to the prerogative of the Northern conclave or preoccupation of muslims is utterly nauseating. The mere fact that such a dubious claim is uttered by anyone also ridicules the very essence of the FCT as a centre of unity for all.
It may indeed be necessary now to launch TV and radio jingles to echo and re-echoe it from time to time that, “the FCT is not, and will not become the exclusive property of any one group or religious consideration;” so that all doubts are cleared. The idea of the Abuja Masterplan was to build a city that represents the unity in diversity as the nation’s capital, to cement robust national cohesion and promote peaceful interactions and understanding across board. Those who still think that they can use religious parochialism as a tool for mischief better think again. We all now know better. Wike is equal to the task and it will be futile for anyone to even try to intimidate him.
The Honourable Minister of the FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike has come to stay as the FCT Minister and must be encouraged to deliver on his promise to enhance the beauty of Abuja City and its environs. He must be supported to succeed, in the overall interest of all; he cannot be bullied and or intimidated. Wike, from his antecedents does not bow to blackmail, threats, and or intimidation. Let everyone mind themselves.