As the countdown to the 2019 general elections gathers momentum, the majority of Nigerians are on the same page in their contention that the victory or otherwise of President Muhammadu Buhari in next year’s presidential poll is contingent on the performance of his administration. And the best way to interrogate the president’s administration on this note is to assess the performance of his ministers, of which the FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello happens to be one of them.
Since Abuja took over from Lagos as the nation’s capital city, successive ministers of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have striven relentlessly against all odds to make the dreams of Abuja’s founding a reality. Even as they churn out one policy after the other geared towards realizing this noble objective, the jury is still out whether they have achieved this purpose or not.
However, under the ministerial superintendence of Mallam Muhammadu Musa Bello, who assumed office in November 2015, things are gradually turning around for good. Irrespective of a few avoidable lapses here and there, he has left no one in doubt about his determination to alter the socio-political cum economic equation of the territory. It has been one flurry of activity after another. Happily enough, in spite of several paralyzing challenges, especially paucity of funds, he has doggedly kept the faith with his promise of developing the city and ensuring that the city’s Master Plan is not unduly distorted.
Apparently concerned about the debilitating effects of the activities of hawkers, beggars and cattle grazing on the ascetic beauty of Abuja, the FCT administration, apart from issuing an order to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association to move their cattle out of Abuja, 25 cows and 51 sheep have been arrested with nine herdsmen prosecuted, while thousands of hawkers have also been nabbed.
It is this grim determination geared towards ensuring environmental cleanliness of the FCT that informed Bello’s decision to weld the big stick against the management of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB). In this singular move, the then Director of AEPB, Baba Shehu Lawan, and the entire management team of AEPB were kicked out and replaced with a new management team headed by Mrs. Oluwatoyin Omolola Olanipekun.
Since then, the new team, complimented by an action-packed Task Force under the leadership of Squadron Leader Abdullahi Adamu Monjel (rtd), has been working assiduously to execute its mandate with admirable intrepidity. It is to the credit of AEPB that suspected beggars and scavengers have been arrested and dangerous weapons such as knives, daggers and cutlasses, ostensibly used to steal manhole covers recovered from them.
In order to reduce traffic congestion in the city, the Administration prioritized the construction of the Southern Park of the Abuja Parkway in 2017. The parkway is a 10-lane six-kilometre road traversing 4 key roads with 8 major interchanges from the National Christian Centre to the Ring Road 1 of the FCT. Its major features are streetlights, recreational centres, Cafes and underpasses etc.
The administration is assiduously developing designated satellite towns within the FCT through completion of some on-going MDGs projects, including the Abaji multi-million naira MDG water project, which is expected to improve the standard of living of residents in those towns and help reduce unnecessary influx of people from the satellite towns to the city centre. It is this determination to develop Satellite towns that hitherto informed the release of N2billion Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA) as take-off grant.
In situating his promise of providing infrastructural facilities within the context of reality, the FCT administration under Bello’s leadership has completed some roads, while others are nearing completion.
It is equally noteworthy that the 10-lane airport road and Kubwa expressways have also been completed, while the interchange at the airport junction by Bill Clinton Drive has been completed, except for a few skeletal works that require retouching.
In the health sector, while the administration is busy revamping the primary health care, it has also provided a princely sum of N360million for the construction of 220-bed spaces at the new Gwarimpa hospital.
In order to minimize the spread of communicable diseases in the territory, the Administration has unveiled plans to build specialized health centres for patients with infectious diseases where they will be quarantined and given treatment. The construction of these centres is currently on-going.
Also, the Bello led Administration has been partnering with some private individuals to set up new hospitals with a view to increasing the number of hospitals in the territory and making them more accessible to residents.
Similarly, Bello’s administration has developed a blueprint for youths sports development aimed at catching talents and developing them at embryonic stage. This has been manifesting in the organization of Primary School games geared towards discovering talents at the grassroots level.
In a related development, the FCT Administration has equally evolved a blueprint for Community Development Scheme, which is gradually opening up the development of rural areas with basic and adequate facilities to make life meaningful for the rural dwellers.
So, judging from the aforementioned developments in the FCT, it is easy to discern that Mohammed Musa Bello remains one undeniable legitimatizing factor that is necessary and will be helpful in the realization of President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid in the 2019 presidential poll.
– Ochela, a media consultant based in Abuja, can be reached via email@example.com.