Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

Our Agenda for the FCT Minister

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mallam Muhammad Bello, last Monday unveiled his roadmap to the press. Of significance is his admission that the territory is faced with obvious challenges that needs to be urgently tackled.

Of note, the minister said, “my initial interactions with relevant officials and stakeholders thus far has revealed that some of the most visible challenges facing the FCT are overstretched infrastructure due to rapid population growth, poor maintenance culture, poorly maintained roads, blocked water and sewer lines, poor waste management practices, and poorly maintained street and traffic lights systems.

“The other challenges include transportation, particularly with regards to commuter transport, difficulties with water supply, and a litany of uncompleted projects (including critical major infrastructure as well as Satellite Towns development projects.).”

Without gainsaying, the minister has done well in the two months and two weeks he has been in office to try to come to terms with the enormous but not insurmountable challenges he is faced with at the FCT.

It is instructive to note that it is not enough for officials of the administration to point out the challenges but proper engagement with critical stakeholders who without the famed ‘eye service’ will give much clearer picture of the situation in the territory.

Besides coming to terms with the problems, the minister need not dither in the appointment of Mandate Secretaries to the various secretariats as core civil servants have limitations by law in the decision making process for certain types of projects and approvals.

If indeed, Bello is in hurry as he posited to reposition the parlous state of things in the nation’s capital, he should be reminded that time is of essence.

It will also be welcomed if he institutes probe into the many abandoned but fully paid projects that litter the FCT. He should look into the concession of the N3.4billion Karu General Hospital to some Indians; review the over N3billion paid on the renovation of the United Nations building that was bombed by terrorists and over N3.7billion paid and many other such transactions.

The minister has seen for himself the joke that the very important Apo-Karshi road has become. While the minister’s tears are ennobling, the issue is more than weeping, it requires decisive action by bringing to book all those involved in paying out huge sums without corresponding result.

It is imperative for the minister to work to block revenue leakages, reorganise the FCT Treasury, settle the rift between the area councils and FCT advertising agency, work to engender productivity in the administration and shun the lure of religious and ethnic sentiments. 

Taking examples from his predecessors will stand him in good stead in achieving the Change Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. And the next few months will tell. 

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