Hello, Abuja! Get set for action. Get set for business unusual. A new sheriff is in town!
You all know what happens when a new sheriff is drafted to a location, a place that needs straightening up? A place that seems to be at peace with disorder, chaos, and impunity?
Everywhere and everything stands at attention. The status quo is about to be disrupted for something new, something fresh, something more enduring.
Nyesom Ezenwo Wike is his name. Who doesn’t know him? The tough-talking, no- nonsense former governor of Rivers State. A man who means different things to different people. Loved and beloved; opposed and resisted, but all converging on one immutable fact: his capacity and ability to deliver on assigned duties.
In the South-South State of Rivers, where he held sway for eight remarkable years, he was the guy who led from the front, dazzling his many admirers with songs and dance steps, and project after project; Making his adversaries green with envy as he turned his state into one huge construction site.
His numerous landmark projects in health, education, sports, roads, flyovers, among others dot the nooks and crannies of the state. Did he solve all the problems? Of course, not. No administration does. However, many Nigerians can attest to the fact that ‘there was a Gov. Wike, who served his people to the best of his ability.”
Now, when such a man becomes the new sheriff in Abuja, what do you expect? Action. Since the announcement of his appointment by the Bola Tinubu administration, as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the people of the FCT have been upbeat. Excitement has enveloped the city. Expectation hangs in the air. You can literally touch it.
Why? They know things won’t remain the way they have been for a long time now. They are certain that Wike would bring to bear his rigorous and thorough approach to the business of governance. They are expecting him to replicate his ‘magic’ performance in Rivers State in the FCT.
Truth be told, Abuja is sick, and some would say, dying. Just like many parts of the country: Dilapidated. Lack of visionary plan. Despondency.
But Abuja could have been different, given the fact that it is the soul of our country. Not so. The city is dark, dirty and unlit. Something that ought to be as elementary as fixing bulbs to light up everywhere, has been akin to fathoming rocket science! Street lights generally don’t work. The Abuja masterplan, which el-Rufai, the fire-spitting ex-minister strictly enforced in his days, appears to have been serially violated by the city’s powerful men.
There’s the urgency to aggressively develop the satellite towns to decongest the city centre. Effective transport system remains a mirage in a city that ought to have the clock-work efficiency of London, New York, and other comparable capital cities.
Why shouldn’t the satellite towns be industrialised, developed, and linked? Why can’t there be monorail to ease the transportation burden of poor workers, especially civil servants? Where are the CCTV cameras to assist the security agencies in crime detection, leading to a crackdown on the nefarious activities of the bad guys giving the city a bad name?
In governance, leadership is everything. Everything rises and falls on leadership, so the saying goes. True.
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be”, says Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist, poet and philosopher.
Bill Taylor also says: “The true mark of a leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action — an unconventional business strategy, even as the rest of the world wonders why you are not marching in step with the status quo. In other words, real leaders are happy to zig while others zag. They understand that the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special.”
Emerson and Taylor are absolutely right.
Everyone follows the leader to the top or bottom. If the leader is straightforward, principled, and visionary, the citizenry will queue behind him. If he is fickle and lacks the courage to make and implement good decisions, the people groan.
However, fortunately for FCT, the new minister is courageous, hardworking, and visionary. He is not the kind of man anyone can push around. He will not be afraid to step on toes no matter how fat, as long as it will be in the public interest. I am certain he will do justice to all: rich, poor, North, South; East and West without fear or favour. Not being dogmatic or a religious bigot, I trust he will be fair and just to all religious persuasions. He will be Minister of all! His track record bears testimony to this.
This is no time for politics, but governance. Our nation is in dire need of competent surgeons to get her out of the intensive care unit, where she’s gasping for breath. Abuja get set for healing. ‘Doctor’ Wike is on call!
– Osagie, former Managing Director/Editor-in-chief of The Sun and New Telegraph, is the publisher of ThisNigeria newspaper