- Residents of Abuja have begun to see the impact of Nyesom Wike since he resumed his role as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)
- Wike, in less than two months, has enjoyed significant success in revenue generation, community engagement and infrastructural development
- However, some strong political players have critiqued his administrative style, which might prove challenging to the former Rivers State governor
FCT, Abuja - In recent years, Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, has witnessed a remarkable transformation and renaissance thanks to the visionary leadership of past ministers.
Many have, over time, credited the urban transformation of Abuja to former FCT minister Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who is known to be the only minister who followed the blueprint of Abuja's urban planning.
For others, the urban development of Abuja would be credited to the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida, who moved the federal capital from Lagos to Abuja.
However, no minister of the FCT since El-Rufai has been able to surpass his infrastructural legacy.
But a new sheriff is in town as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appointed former Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike to take over the helm of affairs.
In the last administration, Wike was arguably the best-performing governor in Nigeria due to his landmark infrastructural projects, which range from state workers' welfare to the construction of roads and schools and many other commendable achievements.
This article explores the dynamic moves Wike has taken in the first few weeks as FCT minister and the task ahead for him as the landlord of the nation's capital.
Engagement with monarchs
In mid-September, Wike reached out to ten of Abuja's strongest and most influential traditional rulers.
For many, this was a smart move as he sought the support of the custodians of the cultural heritage of the land and the grassroots.
Wike promised to work with them to help redevelop the FCT in his engagement with them.
The former Rivers State governor also gifted all ten local monarchs brand-new cars as part of his goodwill to them.
Proactive infrastructural development
Most recently, Wike flagged off the rehabilitation of 135 roads with the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), one of the six area councils in Abuja comprising Kuje, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali and Abaji.
Some of the areas in AMAC where Wike has ordered the renovation of roads include Garki, Gwarimpa, Wike, and Maitama District.
According to Wike, these renovations would mark the phase 1 of his reform. He also gave the contractors six months to deliver or face the consequences.
Within the short period since Wike assumed power, he has generated almost N2 billion for the capital city.
Isiaku Ndatsu Alfa, the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) acting director, disclosed that since the minister issued a two-week ultimatum, property owners owing ground rents have kept their offices busy.
Alfa said since Wike issued the threat and started the publication of the debtors' details, the AGIS has generated N1.9bn, which is projected to double by the end of September.
Less than two months into his FCT minister role, Wike has begun to suffer backlash and criticism for his administrative style in the FCT.
Daniel Bwala, a lawyer and political aide to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has become one of the first critics of Wike.
While addressing the demolition threats of Wike in the FCT, Bwala said:
"You came with a bullish and vendetta spirit venting fire and brimstone about demolition and revocation of titles.
"Abuja is not Port Harcourt. If you create chaos in the city, you will jeopardize your principal's interests, and he will be forced to sacrifice your job. You will learn humility on the job."
Similarly, Wike has already ignited a heated feud between himself and the lawmaker representing the FCT, Senator Ireti Kingibe.
Senator Kingibe seemed not to be pleased with the radicality and ferocious style of Wike’s administration of the FCT.
She recently said:
“The minister does not have executive powers. He works hand-in-hand with the National Assembly and the president to administer FCT.”
However, the current state of Abuja under the stewardship of FCT Minister Wike has been nothing short of remarkable.
His visionary leadership, dedication to infrastructure development, and commitment to improving the quality of life for Abuja's residents have ushered in a new age reform that will be felt for generations to come.
Wike speaks on providing accommodation for Court of Appeal judges as FCT Minister
Meanwhile, Nyesom Wike has said he would ensure that the housing deficit facing the court of appeals judges is addressed.
On Monday, the minister made the vow while delivering his address at the beginning of the 2023/2024 legal year of the court of appeal in Abuja.
Wike noted that President Bola Tinubu recognised the judiciary as the third tier of government, and it is essential to his renewed hope agenda.