Everyone who knows Abuja knows how things are in the capital city, that ought to be a model to other Nigerian states’ capitals
Leadership. That magical word is the elixir that transforms drab to bright, bad to good; directionless meander to a sense of purpose and a journey of reason.
Many also famously call it ‘body language’. The loud but unspoken language of a man in power or position setting the direction or agenda or path he intends to take.
If the leader ‘radiates’ the right body language, things straighten up, and the sun shows the signs of shining brighter than it had hitherto done. Conversely, if it’s the toxic, putrid fumes that constitute the man at the helms’ ‘body language’ the outcomes are pretty obvious: A spiral down the road of retrogression and ultimate darkness!
In Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory Abuja today, many residents and visitors are loudly proclaiming the positivity of the maverick minister, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s body language.
Well, for this writer, I would rather call it ‘The Wike Effect.’
No matter. Whether you call it Wike’s ‘body language’ or ‘Wike effect,’ what many people are seeing so far is a sense of mission; a purposeful agenda, and a vision to leave an enduring legacy in the sands of time.
First, just the mere announcement of his appointment, Abuja residents felt a positive jab to their veins; a spring to their gait. Expectations high in their eyes. They instinctively knew that old things were about to pass away for a new, vibrant order.
Only those stuck in mud and rust and decay of disorder and impunity were those who had and still have sleepless nights at the news of the coming of the new sheriff in Abuja!
Everyone who knows Abuja knows how things are in the capital city, that ought to be a model to other Nigerian states’ capitals: Garbage heaps in dishonourable display of colours; dark corners hibernating criminal elements because streetlights seem to have struck a pact with the god of darkness; beautiful traffic lights that are stone blind displaying neither red, amber nor green. Just there. Motion without movement.
What about the ubiquitous bikes and tricycles that have contributed largely to the chaotic public space in the city centre and highbrow areas?
They all congregate to give FCT the image of a city that was conceptualised to be a beauty to behold but turned to sickening eyesore. Also, no thanks to the activities of many members of unruly elite that have perverted the masterplan meant to ensure sanity and decorum in the environment.
Enters, Nyesom Wike, the ‘stormy petrel’ of Rivers and Nigerian politics, the man President Bola Tinubu describes as “not just FCT minister, but also a strong adviser and admirer of mine.”
The ‘Wike Effect’ is making everyone sit up and adjust to the new reality. Those who erected illegal structures are either regretting their actions or thinking twice about their thoughtless adventure. The bulldozers have started roaring in strict enforcement of building codes. Shanties sheltering criminals are being flattened.
Some say the poor are affected, and poverty will be enhanced. The question is: Should we have shanties dotting everywhere in the name of providing for the have-nots, while the rest of society live in mortal dread of criminal gangs? To be sure, the state owes the people comfortable abode after the day’s hassles. That has to be looked into as priority concern by the new administration. However, even the poor need to be safe, secure, and alive to enjoy beautiful or conducive housing.
Traffic lights, dead for what seems like ages, are aggressively being fixed, to make them functional. Have you noticed those in charge of street lights are working almost day and night to have the lights on at night?
Have you also observed the rush by hitherto recalcitrant landlords and landowners to pay up their land/ground rent charges? Many had simply forgotten what it meant to pay land charges and other dues to the FCT administration. However, with the coming of Wike, a no-nonsense man, they know they can’t get away with impunity. They are complying even before the deadline expires. Abeg nobody dey like wahala.
Am I saying that the city and satellite towns have become squeaky clean, where everything is now working? An eldorado or paradise? Not in the least. My thesis is: The ‘Wike Effect’ is positively rubbing off on the city and people. Many are happy that a man who means well for the people is now in charge, an action man who is not scared of stepping on toes to achieve the common good. Of course, some may not be comfortable with his unconventional style and may be ganging up to thwart the laudable projects he and the Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud have lined up. The immutable fact is that if unconventional strategy will make our beloved FCT safe, secure, environmentally friendly, business smart, workable, and livable, so be it. If Abuja and Lagos work, Nigeria will be 50 per cent transformed.
As for those who may not understand or decipher Wike’s leadership style, Peter Drucker, the American-Australian management and leadership expert, has an answer. He says: “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results.”
– Osagie, former Managing Director/Editor-in-chief of The Sun and New Telegraph newspapers, is Chairman/CEO of THISNIGERIA newspaper