Wike and the gods of Abuja, By Kassim Afegbua

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First, he’s a news maker. The word is going round that there’s a new sheriff in town. His dance steps, his spoken words, and his actions are unique and distinct. His ability to anatomize scenarios and come up with unerring interpretations is unmatched. His croaky voice albeit, may mislead one into thinking he doesn’t know where he is going, but I dare say, he always sure knows where he is going. That is Wike for you; never distracted by the echoes of protest or soundbites of agitations.
Since he resumed as the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has dominated the news in the nation’s capital and everywhere else. He is not new to trailblazing and trailblazing not new to him. He’s a man of grit. It’s trite also, that he is not new to taking bold steps that impact humanity. He has his peculiar style. His courage is tempestuous and his audacity knows no bounds. As a freeborn, Wike does not shy away from criticism, he deals with the issues and as best as he can quashes them. Hate him or love him, Wike has become a movement; a cerebral model in the eyes of his followers and fans; and an indomitable petrel of an uncommon hue, a superbly determined patriot, whose commitment and infinite readiness to deliver on promises drives his excellence. Don’t dare Wike by invoking your gods and pouring libations to weaken his resolve, no way. He will garner additional strength to rout you off your stead. Wike is always available to work; hands- on. He’s a hands-on leader who goes out to see things for himself; he is not a couch potato. Wike loves to take responsibility for his actions both positive and negative. His style is compelling; he’s not the road of the middle man. He can hold his own any day, without let or hindrance.

From his first day in office, he was very clear on the direction he wants to court. He already understands the challenges facing the nation’s capital and the one he faces. The streets are often in darkness. Cows feed on the greenery that were put in place to beautify the City. Rickety vehicles, harzardous to the environment are all over the place; polluting the air we breathe. The parks that should foster relaxation have been hijacked indiscriminately, altering the master plan. Shanties are sprouting up everywhere and further complicating the insecurity in the city. The mood in the city is that of mixed feeling. With little provocation, tempers would rise to fever pitch. Abuja is built to be a home for all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, race, ethnicity or religious affiliations. It is a civil service city primed for two million people but now over bloated with over six million people scrambling for the scarce resources and infrastructure in the city. The moment Nyesom Wike made his inaugural speech, several interpretations were given; some trying to push out propaganda to generate avoidable crises to derail the good intention of the Minister. Some have gone to town to reel out names of estates that have been marked for demolition even when the Minister has not said a word about the demographics. Others have said that the gods of Abuja, would resist any attempt to embark on a reversal to the master plan. I watched an amateur video where a man picked holes in the appointment of a non-muslim to administer the Federal Capital; what a nebulous sentiment; just to distract the Minister from focusing on his job

Wike has set sail; he’s going round the capital city to see things for himself. He has visited the abandoned Light Rail Project, and given a marching order to the Permanent Secretary to defray the cost of the project completion, so that the people can enjoy the service and have their standard of living raised. Abuja as the nation’s capital, needs a lot of infrastructure. Its educational sector needs serious revamping, its health sector needs greater attention and many more. Wike’s predecessor was hardly on hand to execute the greater task of uplifting the city to the level it should be, as the poster city for the country. Due to its importance as the home for foreigners and consular activities, Abuja cannot afford the illogic of rearing cows in broad day light or such other crude ways of farming. Thus, when the Honourable Minister, Nyesom Wike, raised his resentment against the rearing of cows in broad daylight, the message was instructive. Knowing Nyesom Wike, he will do just that, without minding whose ox is gored. Heaven will certainly not fall. Let those who have ears, hear!! We must encourage those who are ready to break the eggs to make omelette for all. Contemporary societies deliberately take actions that deepen infrastructural renewal, and set out the architectural platform to enhance environmental and social statuses for the benefit of their inhabitants and visitors.

I hope Wike remains resolute in his determination to restore the beauty of Abuja without equivocation, fear, or favour. He should as a matter of haste fix the following: the A.Y.A area;, restoring the beauty of the roundabout. That spot has become endangered zone, The shanty at Asokoro Extension which presently houses a market should also be cleared and relocated. That settlement has become a hideout for criminals at night. It must be understood that ninety percent of the aborigines and indigenes were compensated; but they sold their newly alloted plots, made good money, and then started occupying other plots, illegally, in the name of being indigenes. I trust Wike to address this anomaly. Also, the prevalence of beggars in Abuja is becoming very worrisome. Some of these beggars could be relocated to a settlement created specially for them- Beggars Village. Added to this is the fact that the once beautiful Abuja City, is giving way to erosion and denudation. The Minister needs to invest time and other resources to tree planting, greenery, and flowers beautification to bring back the lost glory of the city. The street lights from the Nation’s Airport on the long stretch of the 40 kilometres dual carriage way are often left dead for way too long; leaving the entire road in darkness. Something urgent needs to be done to restore night beauty on that road; being a gateway into the city.

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All illegal settlers, weed and drug sellers within the city centres, especially in uncompleted buildings must be routed and expelled from their present locations, to enhance the security architecture of the City. The Vehicle Inspection Organisation, VIO, must clear abandoned scraps and broken down vehicles around Mabushi Area to breathe sanity into the City. Abuja Geographic Information System should be dismantled to accommodate new dynamics and personnel to run it. There is too much of redtapism and sharp practices within the system. If Wike must succeed in line with his goal getting mentality, he must disrupt the proceedings in AGIS. That appears to be the first place he should start from in this noble journey to breathing new life into Abuja and its environs. That is where the gods should focus their attention; for the benefit of all. Welcome to Abuja, Your Excellency and Honourable Minister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

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