ABUJA: WIKE DON COME OOOOH
By Kassim Afegbua.
Wike’s leadership style has continued to elicit attention since he became a political subject matter that requires dissection for about two decades and still counting. His trajectory has been a tale of uncommon courage and gravitas in confronting challenges and breaking new grounds in his leadership emanations.
He has been a thorn in the flesh of those political oppressors who happen to take him for a ride. Unreservedly outspoken with a midas touch that prods on the ideal, Wike’s leadership delivery mechanism is a recipe for developmental initiatives in a new world order where service and performance cannot be ignored.
From day one as Honourable Minister of the Nation’s Capital, Wike has given a direction to the shape of things to come. His first World Press Conference on day one was a teaser to his agenda setting projections of new expectations as he mounted the saddle as FCT number one citizen.
Wike’s skills are woven in fearlessness, bluntness, courage, boldness and ability to call a spade, by its very name. He doesn’t gamble, he extrapolates and interrogates, before stepping on toes.
He has stated without mincing words that he would step on toes in his shared commitment to recover Abuja Master Plan. Good optics for a nation’s capital whose master plan has been distorted over the years by the activities of land speculators and grabbers, especially after the intervention of Mallam Nasir El’rufai, as FCT Minister.
Nyesom Wike is easily a maverick of the uncommon hue, profoundly nuanced in the oleageneous paeans of performance. His boundless courage is self-effacing and his capacity to tread on dreaded surface is eternal.
Abuja, the seat of the Federal Capital harbours six Area Councils, but emphasis has been centred on the Municipal Area Council, and perhaps Bwari Area Council, leaving the rest four to the mercy of distortions.
Even within the Muncipal and Bwari Area Councils, land grabbers and speculators have altered the dynamics and demographics of a well planned Capital by the pressure of trying to usurp the master plan for self aggrandizement. Wike’s homily, on his first day in office, has set the proper tone for what to expect, especially in other Area Councils of Gwagwalada, Kuje, Abaji and Kwali, as he settles down to confront the scramble and partition of a nation’s capital beyond its original masterplan.
When El’rufai was around to correct the anomaly of the obvious distortions that had long existed, and which formed the basis for his intervention, it was a hell of an outcry.
Albeit, El’rufai damned all the consequences and shaped the distortions to assume a new outlook. He ended up his corrections with a few gaps. Within the City Centres, in the event of a vehicle breakdown, you can hardly find a handy mechanic to do a quick fix; even a vulcaniser will be hard to find.
He created Apo Mechanic Village which has also been further distorted by the growing demand for commercial housing for residential purpose.
Mallam Nasir El’rufai introduced the black cab system, to mimic the London Black Cab transportation system, and ensured that other taxis within Abuja are painted in the green-white-green colours.
No sooner he left office than the black cab system was abandoned and reverted to the old order which gave “keke napep”—a euphemism for tricyle operators—a pride of place in Municipal transport system. Not a single black cab could be seen today anywhere in the Federal Capital Territory. It is most likely that Nyesom Wike will re-introduce such an organised public transport system that defines the class and elegance of what the cab system should be.
In his world press conference, Wike seems to have captured the numerous problems confronting the Federal Capital Territory, aside from housing distortions.
He made specific mention of the growing incidents of shanties that populate the suburbs and the rampart incidence of uncompleted houses and plots of lands within the Municipality. Added to this was the issue of poorly lit street lightings that easily create the atmosphere for armed robbery and petty thieves especially at night.
He has promised that such ugly realities that obstruct the beauty of the City would be a thing of the past. Wike is aware that paucity of funds may be a hindrance but that would not take away his commitment to right the wrong in the fast expanding world of the nation’s capital.
The fact that Wike is a performer is not in doubt, and the urge to replicate what he did in Rivers State in terms of infrastructural renewal is further buoyed by a compelling need to trail a trajectory that is peculiar with his persona.
What is instructive in his leadership style is his capacity to break barriers to get the job done without minding whose ox is gored. His initial notice to land grabbers and speculators has set the tone for what to come.
He surely will step on toes, but not mindlessly. He’s human and satiates his persona with a milk of human kindness, but that is not to suggest that he will keep closed eyes to abuses, distortions and abnormalities.
By the time he will be leaving the FCT as Minister, his landmark achievements would have signposted every nook and corner of the Nation’s Capital, especially the other Area Councils that have long been abandoned.
As I welcome the Honourable Minister to the Federal Capital Territory, I wish to advise that not all master plans could be followed to the letters. He should give room for some urban renewal and turn-key projects in some places where the economic benefits far outweighs the observed distortion.
The success of the Honourable Minister will shape the trend in line with the standard operative procedure of coping with development and expansion in the City.