May 25, 2024

Wike’s FCT Scorecard: Cheers louder than jeers



•He’s relentless in pursuit of progress—Activist, Pelumi

•His interference in Rivers politics unfortunate—ACF

By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja

The tenure of Nyesom Wike as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride, drawing both praise and criticism from various quarters. Wike, known for his assertive governance style and vocal support for his political party, has faced intense scrutiny in recent times, leaving civil society organizations (CSOs), activists and residents divided in their opinions. His appointment as FCT Minister raised eyebrows due to his previous role as the Governor of Rivers State.

Despite this, he has continued to prioritize infrastructural development and urban renewal since assuming office.
Wike’s remarkable achievements so far have led residents to wonder what the previous administration actually did, considering the significant strides he has made in such a short time. Some of his infrastructural strides include but not limited to the introduction of new road networks and revitalization projects, which undoubtedly improved the FCT’s aesthetics and functionality.

Some of Wike’s significant projects in Abuja to be commissioned later in May are: Federal Secretariat (First Phase), Abuja Metro Line, Southern Parkway, Roads B6 and B12, Vice President’s official residence, Wuye Interchange and Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX).

In addition to infrastructure projects, Wike has also taken decisive steps to combat corruption in the FCT administration. His anti-corruption drive, aimed at fostering transparency and accountability, has been lauded by CSOs and other anti-corruption advocates. However, Wike’s tenure has been marked by controversy, drawing cheers from some and jeers from others.

Wike relentless in pursuit of progress—Activist, Pelumi

Speaking with Saturday Vanguard over Wike’s unmatched drive for development, human rights activist and lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, commended Wike for his relentless pursuit of progress. He noted that Wike’s efforts had led to a massive overhaul of the city’s road infrastructure, earning widespread acclaim from residents and commuters alike. He said: “In the annals of civilization, few instances match the scale and pace of road infrastructure development witnessed in Abuja today, thanks to the FCT Minister, Wike. His relentless pursuit of progress has transformed the city scape, making commuting smoother and safer.”

He should not smear his good works with bad politics—Adeyanju

Adding his voice, Deji Adeyanju, the founding partner of Deji Adeyanju & Partners, and human rights activist, described Wike as an extraordinary performer considering the significant strides he has made in such a short time. His words: “Wike is an extraordinary performer in my opinion and the reason I said that is because we had a Minister of FCT here for eight years under the Buhari regime and the man was practically non-existent. Look at the level of work in the FCT in just few months that he was appointed as minister. And he is not just focusing on the FCT central, you need to go to Kuje and other outskirts of Abuja to realize and appreciate the level of work that Nyesom Wike is doing. Wike is doing very well as FCT Minister and if he continues like this, he may as well surpass Nasir El Rufai who was FCT Minister for such a long time. That is the person we can actually call the last known FCT minister that we who live and work in Abuja can remember him in a long time. So, in my view the FCT Minister has done exceptionally well in just a few months as minister of the FCT.”

However, Adeyanju highlighted the other side of Wike accusing him of disregarding the rule of law. Citing the alleged unlawful demolition of the Ukachukwu brothers’ estate, Adeyanju said, “while he has performed tremendously well as FCT minister, there’s a need for him to comply with the rule of law and allow the right things to be done at all times. One must at all times try to be democratic, try to observe and respect the rule of law.”

Wike’s Rivers politics interference unfortunate—ACF

The spokesperson, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Professor Tukur Mohammed Baba, however argued that it was too early to give credit to Wike as minister of FCT, adding that his interference in the governance of Rivers state was rather unfortunate. According to him, “In terms of the cheers, there are signs but I think it is a bit too early to judge him now that he has spent less than a year in office. There are signs that he is restoring due processes and procedures in the FCT especially with regard to land administration. A lot has been going wrong, a lot was allowed to rot and there is every sign that he is doing everything he can to restore the very good fidelity of procedures. He should be encouraged and he should not relax on the right thing to be done. However, the jeers of Wike as the Minister of FCT is of course his interference in the politics of Rivers state. It is a very negative thing for him and for democracy in Africa. What ever role he played in bringing in the present governor, he should let him be.

Wike must know he’s not Minister of Rivers—Activist

President of Yoruba Council World Wide, Mr Hassan Dotun, also commended Wike’s passion to deliver on projects but criticized his interference in the politics of Rivers state.

Residents speak

Micheal Kachi, a trader of kitchen utensils, said: “We acknowledge Wike’s good work in Rivers and FCT particularly on building road but he should also pay attention to the security challenge. He should ensure security is provided in FCT. More crimes are happening in Abuja than anywhere in Nigeria.”
Patience Danjuma, an FCT-based teacher, said: “Abuja residents, particularly those in Karu site are suffering. We have had no water from waterboard since Wike came in as Minister. We really can’t say what is going on. Yes, he is working, but he should consider fixing Abuja water board and give us water. We suffer to get water to drink and cook in the nation’s capital. It is embarrassing!”

Ojo Tunde, a mechanic, said: “Wike is doing his best. He is one of the few we can say has the mind to do the work but he should also allow peace to reign in Rivers. A lot of things need to be done in Abuja, he should focus on the FCT and leave Rivers state alone.”