News and Society Expression Unfold

+1 202 555 0180

Have a question, comment, or concern? Our dedicated team of experts is ready to hear and assist you. Reach us through our social media, phone, or live chat.

News and Society Expression Unfold


Read Time:8 Minute, 30 Second

                                                                                        One Year of FCT Minister’s Uncommon Commitment  to Infrastructural Transformation



Who knows, maybe this word will someday make its way into the Oxford English Dictionary – as an adjective describing anyone who works with the pace, energy, zeal and singular passion of a Nyesom Wike. 

In the one year since he became the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – the first Southern Nigerian to hold the office since the inception of the country’s 4th Republic in 1999 – the immediate past Governor of Rivers State has simply picked up from where he left off at the end of his impactful tenure at the helm of affairs at the Government House in Port Harcourt. In a remarkable display of leadership and vision, the man fondly referred to by his admirers back home as ‘Mr. Projects’ has transformed the landscape of Abuja with a string of infrastructure landmarks that will leave a lasting impact on the capital city. 

A prime testament of this commitment is the recent commissioning of the Wole Soyinka Road.  Named after Nigeria’s globally-celebrated literary icon and Nobel laureate, the road is an arterial pathway set to re-define the city’s transportation landscape. It is a masterpiece of engineering and design that has set a new standard for road construction in Nigeria. Its sleek design, modern amenities and safety features are sure to guarantee a drastic reduction in travel time, as well as improved connectivity, within the metropolis. Under Wike’s stewardship, Abuja has witnessed an unprecedented era of growth and development, with infrastructure projects that have not only enhanced the city’s aesthetic appeal but also improved the quality of life for its residents.

Not a few stakeholders agree that in the course of one year, Wike’s strides – especially in the area of infrastructure – have been nothing short of revolutionary; not only because of their implications for transportation and traffic management, but also for the fact that they have the potential to create massive employment opportunities for thousands of Nigerians, as well as stimulate economic growth and development. 

On Wike’s watch, Abuja is slowly but surely beginning to regain its lost glory and lustre. In recent years (and especially during the 8-year tenure of his predecessor, Muhammed Bello) Abuja lost much of its vigour and vibe. Though a relatively young city, Abuja seemed rather exhausted; indeed, it was a city in a coma. Her developmental strides were unsteady and knee-jerk at best, and retrogressive at worst – a reflection of the lack of conscious and transformational leadership. Abuja was a sleeping giant in need of urgent awakening. 

The FCT’s status as a special administrative entity under direct federal oversight (via the President’s direct appointee as Minister rather than a state with a Governor and House of Assembly) means that its law-making functions are domiciled in the National Assembly (a body which, most of the time, has too little time and energy to attend to matters pertaining to the FCT’s problems with the alacrity they deserve). Against this background, therefore, the profile and fortunes of Abuja depend to a great extent on the skills, capacity and attributes of the individual holding the office of FCT Minister. Under a capable and visionary Minister, as we have seen in the past, the FCT has seen an accelerated pace of progress. Under a mediocre one, on the other hand, progress has stalled, and an already laid-back city has languished in the dungeon of arrested development. 

And Abuja has had its fair share of both kinds of Ministers – with the former demonstrating how a leadership mandate should be managed with purpose, power and creativity. Under the latter, however, there has been an appalling lack of continuity in policy implementation, as a result of which Abuja’s sluggish progress has seen the emergence and proliferation of slums, the city has lacked even the appearance of functionality, and economic opportunities have been few and far between. Nowhere was the sorry state of the FCT more glaring than its squalid satellite towns, which seemed a throwback to a primitive, bygone era. Under Muhammed Bello’s stewardship, in particular, Abuja saw some of its darkest years. The city’s landscape was marked by unlighted  streets, oozing stench from sewage points, ineffective public transport infrastructure, as well as projects that proceeded at snail’s pace if at all, over many years. Worst of all, the Master Plan upon which Abuja was conceived by the Federal Government back in the 1970s was all but unrecognizable – no thanks to distortions caused by years of illegal, reckless, unplanned and uncontrolled development. 

Those dry years were an Ichabod moment for Nigeria’s once-sparkling federal capital; a time when her glory simply departed. 

These challenges were not lost on President Tinubu in the nascent days of his administration as he settled down in office in mid-2023 and pondered the composition of his cabinet. His choice of Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON (who, lest we forget, is a pillar of the leading opposition party, the PDP, and for years a thorn in the flesh of the President’s All Progressives Congress, APC) for the FCT portfolio reflected Tinubu’s understanding that the reversal of the territory’s dwindling fortunes called for exceptional leadership that will commence the accelerated implementation of the authentic Abuja Master Plan, improve socio-economic opportunities for residents, and administer the FCT with uncommon innovativeness aimed at making Abuja a global destination of choice (for business, investment and leisure). So seriously did the President take the regeneration of Abuja that he didn’t mind reaching beyond the partisan (APC vs.  PDP) divide to secure the services of the one man whom he knew would give the task every ounce of his considerable  energy, intellect and passion for excellence. 

On his assumption of office on August 21, 2023, Wike left no one in doubt about his readiness to face the challenges of Abuja with courage and vigour. In his initial engagements with the residents and other stakeholders, he challenged those who had distorted the said Master Plan for their own selfish ends and pledged to sanction and reverse their activities. He promised to tackle the prevailing inefficiency in the delivery of public services, including waste disposal. He decried, and promised to remedy, the lack of an effective government-run public transport system in the territory and the consequent proliferation of ‘okadas’ and ‘kekes’ on the major roads across the city. He read the Riot Act to land racketeers (with the threat to confiscate long-acquired but undeveloped plots in the FCT). And he promised to light up the streets and improve sanitation and security within six months. 

And on all (or most of) these counts, Wike has begun to deliver – in a manner that has given a tremendous boost in public appreciation and cautious optimism (especially among FCT residents) in President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda. .

Wike’s many accomplishments have, in the short span of one year, led to a massive overhaul, not just of the city’s road infrastructure, but also its land administration processes, as well as  the development of the real estate sector across the FCT.  The recent commissioning of the Southern Parkway Road (now renamed the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Way) and the  refurbishment of the Abuja Metro Rail Project, are among his many strides in this regard. Other major projects completed by the Wike administration are the Vice President’s residence, the Outer Southern Expressway; the Wuye Flyover Link Bridge; and the Defence Intelligence Headquarters, not to mention rehabilitation works on various roads in the city centre. Also notable ; the renovation of the International Conference Centre (ICC);  and the provision of potable water and solar electrification to locations and communities across the FCT. 

The Minister has also recorded similar strides in security; in influencing the President’s removal of the FCT from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) – thereby making the FCT self-dependent, as well as making it possible for the FCTA to have its own Civil Service Commission, thereby paving the way for FCT Directors to become Permanent Secretaries like their counterparts in other Federal Ministries, among others. In the words of an Abuja-based philanthropist, Dr. Emmanuel Musa, “Wike is taking Abuja to the comity of developed capital cities in the world, for sustainable development, efforts which must be commended by all well-meaning Nigerians.” No FCT Minister in the annals of history, Musa says from experience, has achieved such a feat in such a short period of time.

Characteristically, the Minister himself hasn’t been shy about outlining his ministry’s achievements – especially in 4 of the 9 areas listed as Presidential Priorities and Deliverables – namely: provision of critical infrastructure; creation of a safe and secure environment; improving access to social services: and, creating wealth and maintaining a first-class city. On May 23, 2024, during the Ministerial Sectoral Update, he presented a comprehensive scorecard detailing the remarkable achievements of the FCT Administration under President Tinubu’s first year in office – which was met with widespread approval. 

To be sure, there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly in the areas of water supply (which is currently at an unacceptably deplorate state, especially in the satellite towns); plugging security loopholes and responding to emerging threats like the use of taxis by ‘One-Chance’ criminals; reforming the FCTA to boost staff morale and efficiency; reversing the sad neglect of satellite towns by successive administrations; and the absence of a mass transit system. 

But if morning, as they say, shows the day, then Nigerians – especially FCT residents and organizations domiciled there – are justified in their confidence that under the leadership of Hon. Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Abuja’s best days are yet ahead. “The progress we have made is just the beginning,” the Minister himself said at the aforementioned ministerial update. “We are committed to sustaining this momentum and ensuring that (Abuja) continues to develop as a model city for Nigeria.” 

Under Wike, and with the active support of a President who is clearly pleased with the work he has done so far, in spite of the challenges, all signs point to a brighter future for the capital, its people and all it represents in the imagination of Nigerians. 


Prev Post


Next Post