One year scorecard: Indeed, Wike is working

History is in the making as beginning from tomorrow, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will flag off the commissioning of projects in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

President Tinubu is presenting his scorecard through the various ministers and telling the world what his administration has been able to achieve in the past one year.

For some days now the ministers, only God knows their number, have been presenting their scorecard.

While they are making their presentations, many Nigerians know the truth that most of them are simply warming the ministerial slots. Some of them know, that they have failed Mr. President, failed themselves and failed the nation at large.

However, there is one minister, among a few others, whose performance, so far, has been superlative. He is the workaholic minister that goes with the sobriquet, Mr. Project. He is the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike.

He is the man that has upped the ante of performance. His contributions to the infrastructural development of Abuja can give Mr. President almost 45 per cent of total performance of the All Progressives Congress, APC, renewed hope administration in the last one year.

The blind can feel it and the deaf can see that Abuja is now a huge construction site. All over the city, the change is enveloping residents, and it is one aspect of infrastructural development that can be seen and felt by all.

Abuja is changing in a lot of ways. But the most poignant and standout expression of the changes are the incredible amount of work that’s been done on the road network since Wike came on board as the FCT minister.

For sure, Mr. President can conveniently say that he did not make a mistake in the appointment of Wike as FCT minister. This is because the pace of development of Abuja is significantly dependent on the capacity and qualities of the man assigned by the president as the FCT minister.

Indeed, when President Tinubu appointed Nyesom Wike on 21st August, 2023, as the 17th Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, tongues were let loose, but even critics have now accepted that, indeed, Wike is working. History has a way of throwing up persons with a difference to sharpen its perspective in any given epoch.

Wike is a young man in a hurry but resolute to write his name in gold. He bowed to the overpowering zeal to serve humanity. His strength of character and no nonsense reputation for getting results has made this passionate political leader from Rivers state to prove that success is no respecter of gender but favours hard work, tenacity and purpose.

It appears that even in his stride, Barrister Nyesom Wike has already commenced efforts to stamp his feet in history as a man who utilised his office to make a profound difference in the lives of the people, especially rural dwellers. He is deliberate, intentional, purposeful, radical, creative and outstanding.

The job of steering Abuja to the path of rapid development, a smart and functional city full of opportunities for all, a city capable of global competitiveness, intelligent and compassionate slum renewal regime, creative satellite towns development and security architecture transformation are some of the hurdles Nyesom Wike has been able to cross to write his name in gold.

He is living up to the billing as a minister, and the good work that he is doing must be admired and commended. On his achievements within the past nine months he been supervising the affairs of FCT and the one year of Mr. President, Wike has been able to change the narrative as he ensured the exit of the FCTA from the Treasury Single Account (TSA)

On resumption as Minister of the FCT, Wike advocated the exit of the FCTA from the TSA to pave the way for access to FCT’s internally generated revenue for the execution of projects. President Tinubu graciously granted immediate approval. This has ensured a more robust financial base for the administration to implement much-needed projects.

As part of efforts to strengthen the administrative structure of the FCTA as well as ensure improved welfare and the career progression of staff, the minister sought approval for the immediate implementation of the FCT Civil Service Commission Act which was passed into law in 2018.

The minister, under the Act, also approved the appointment of the FCTA head of service and nine permanent secretaries. 

He also sought for the creation of a Secretariat of Women Affairs and in October 2023, Mr. President approved the creation of the Secretariat for Women Affairs in FCT with Mrs. Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi as its pioneer Mandate Secretary.

As part of the renewed hope agenda of President Tinubu in the FCT, Wike also embarked on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of dilapidated schools with a flag-off event in the FCT School for the Gifted in Gwagwalada.

A total of 19 schools are scheduled for rehabilitation with 21 more earmarked for same in the 2024 budget.

Determined to ensure that no ongoing project is abandoned in the FCT, the minister embarked on the completion of the ongoing road projects that had hitherto been abandoned. 

The minister identified the impediments to the completion of the projects such as poor funding due to low revenue generation. Several efforts were made to enforce the payment of outstanding ground rents and taxes in the FCT to shore up revenue generation.

To ensure development in the rural areas of the FCT, the minister also embarked on the construction of at least five kilometer roads in each of the six Area Councils of the FCT.

The roads which were deemed as very important were identified by the stakeholders in the FCT Area Councils which included construction/rehabilitation of 9km Paikon Kore-Ibwa road in Gwagwalada Area Council

There were the construction of temporary access road to Saburi 1 and 2 Communities within the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) from old Keffi Road near Dei-Dei International Market FCT and the construction/rehabilitation of 7.2km Gaba-Tokulo road in Bwari Area Council

Also included was the construction of a 5km asphalt carriageway from Garage Junction to LEA Secretariat, Kuje Area Council; Construction of 11km Yangoji-Sukuku-Ebo road in Kwali Area Council and the Construction of 5km Naharati-River Ukya-Unguwan Hausawa Road in Abaji Area Council

These rural roads are scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. When completed, the road will improve security in the rural areas as well as access to markets and farmlands. They will also encourage the development of rural areas, thereby reducing rural-urban migration in the FCT.

Wike came into office at a time of heightened insecurity in the nation’s capital. He held series of stakeholder engagements with the FCT Area Councils where far-reaching decisions were made to tackle the threats of insecurity in the FCT. He donated 100 motorcycles to the various security agencies to be used for policing the rural and semi-urban areas of the FCT. 

More than 40 years after its creation, the FCT, under Wike, is set as from May 29, to have a functional rail transport system. He embarked on the rehabilitation of the vandalised rail tracks and renovation of the train stations, as well as the provision of access roads and parking lots to the train stations in the FCT. 

To the glee of the FCT residents, the Abuja metro line is among the projects that will be commissioned and opened to the use of the public by the president on Wednesday.

With these, and many others, there is no doubt that, indeed, Wike is working and Abuja nay Nigeria is benefiting accordingly.

Abdul, Abuja based journalist, writes via [email protected]