Abuja, the capital city of the world’s most populous black nation on earth will continue to occupy a prime position in the hearts of most Nigerian citizens. No doubt, many Nigerians would love to see the Federal Capital Territory develop and grow as a model capital city and to this end they usually write and speak firmly against any perceived shortcomings. But when these socio-political criticisms are made out of personal malice, negative ulterior motives or outright ignorance, they create more problems for the Nigerian State than they are intended to solve.
Some people who appeared to have spoken in a manner that one would have thought they are contributing to the genuine efforts targeted at the development of the city recently, however, only ended up displaying sheer ignorance on activities and initiatives taken by the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, since his assumption of office, in November last year. Or could it be that such persons have sold their pride; and are conniving with some forces to spread malice and hate against the minister of the FCT? Because it is really surprising and disheartening too, for any discerning individual to feign ignorance of the remarkable feats so far recorded by the minister and his team.There are some who even talk ignorantly that the minister considers himself a superman who can deliver by a solo effort, which definitely is mischievous at best.
The running of the FCT Administration has not in any way suffered due to the absence of any political appointee. While not trying to paint a larger than life picture of the minister, as some people may want the public to believe, the minister is equal to the task of effectively and efficiently managing the affairs of the Federal Capital Territory given the retinue of technocrats and bureaucrats within the system that are comparable to none in any government establishment in this great country.
Together with these technocrats and the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Babatope Ajakaiye who is also a thorough bred bureaucrat as the arrow head, the minister has made tremendous efforts to take the FCT to the desired level in city management which cannot be seen by the myopic and narrow minded persons apparently hired by political job seekers who are angling for political appointments thereby giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
Otherwise, how can anyone claim ignorance of the massive roads rehabilitation that is ongoing especially, in the city center?
Could anybody dare to say the introduction of the Household and Community sanitation exercise has not helped in sanitizing the territory, particularly in the Area Councils and satellite towns? Without undermining the contributions of political appointees such as mandate secretaries may bring to bear in administering the territory, it is equally important to know that the various FCT secretariats all have secretaries that are serving in acting capacities and have so far been doing these without any inhibition.
It may be recalled how the minister took it upon himself few weeks after he assumed office to clear the unpaid salary arrears of Area Council workers, even though this responsibility did not fall directly under his purview. To the minister’s credit, he has had to offset the over N2 billion owed cleaning contractors by previous administrations, to enable them resume work on the evacuation of solid and liquid waste in the city centre and satellite towns. This was achieved through prudent management of resources accruing to the FCTA as well as drastic reduction of frivolities. His Household and Community cleanup exercise is also already yielding results as some of the refuse heaps that once dotted the city centre, satellite towns and Area Councils have already been cleared. Several refuse dumpsites in the FCT like the one in Gosa have been leveled to provide better access points.
As a matter of fact, the FCT is at a stage now where it is trying to develop waste sorting centers, technically referred to as Waste Transfer Stations for the purposes of recycling waste. Furthermore, the minister has resuscitated the hitherto moribund Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and replaced its leadership with capable hands that are already delivering on the expected goals. It is worthy of note that Malam Bello also followed this up by establishing the FCT Task Team on Environmental Protection to work alongside 200 officers/men of the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for enforcement purposes. The Task Team has so far impounded hundreds of unpainted taxis including “One Chance”, keke Napep as well as Okada motorcycles.
— Akpabio is an Abuja-based public affairs analyst