Fri, 06/07/2012 ? 12:31am | IBRAHIM MODIBBO Opinion Comment & Opinion
In my quiet moments of writing this piece, I recall with nostalgia a paper delivered in Enugu, by Miriam Ekejiani Clark, a professor and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, who declared Nigeria a failed state.
She attributed her conclusions to ?undue political patronage to low quality democrats, who now pilot the affairs of government that woefully failed to provide or improve infrastructural facilities in Nigeria?
Having set the template for discourse on this issue of fundamental importance, one is at liberty to critically examine the last 700 days in office of Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed as minister of the FCT. It is songs of sorrow and lamentations as the FCT is drifting in almost every department of human endeavour.
With clear demonstration of blatant ineptitude, comprehensive incompetence and cluelessness of wider proportion that one could decipher, the dream of many Nigerians of developing a world class capital city out of Abuja could only be a wishful thinking as the man lacks the vision and mission of executing the people?s mandate.
Top flight analysts are of the opinion that the last 700 days of Mohammed?s administration in the FCT is not worth recalling with fanfare as all indices of socio-economic development are gradually and systematically drifting from the sublime to the ridiculous.
As a resident and a thinker in development strategies, I have followed with keen interest the activities of the current minister in the FCT. To say that I am not personally disappointed with the poverty of governance which to a large extent has been raised to an acceptable statecraft, is to say the last, foolhardy.
The 700 days gone-by, were days of lost glory and perverted adventure in strategic thinking. So, for Nigerians who expect something good to come out from the FCT under Bala Mohammed, they had better forget it as there appears to be nothing noteworthy to cheer, but jeers and tears for the nation?s capital.
Infact, the actions and body language of the minister during the period under review tend to suggest yawning gaps due to intellectual paucity and logical puerility on how to transform this critical sector that represents the heart and soul of the nation.
Although Goodluck Jonathan came to power through a dubious political arrangement, yet expectations were high as people clamoured for patriotic individuals who could be positive agents in the transformation agenda.
But sadly, there is no paradigm shift to tame the tide of half measured solutions to our teething problems. Instead, there is lack of honest, transparent and selfless approach to governance, while allegations of high profile corruption and monumental looting of public till occupies the centre stage.
In the last 700 days, the FCT got so much funds from the coffers of the federal government, but there is little or absolutely nothing in terms of concrete achievement in Abuja. What remains as a consensus among many scholars is that Abuja is swiftly becoming a safe heaven for anti-peoples? policies, abuse of due process and negative impact on the rule of law.
It is lamentable that the esthetic beauty of Abuja is fast fading as the minister who seems to be at the crossroads due to poverty of ideas on how to improve the existing structures cannot take us to the Promised Land. I am afraid that if Bala Mohammed continues to govern the FCT in the next one year, we should be thinking of the stone age.
It is the opinion of many, that if meaningful development is to come to Abuja, then Goodluck Jonathan should save the FCT from the jaws and fangs of political jobbers who bestrode the territory like colossus and ruled it as a conquered territory.
The question on the lips of many is, what criteria has President Jonathan used in appointing his ministers and assessing their performances? Is it based on blind party loyalty, overzealous sycophancy or what? It is a common knowledge that though this appointment came as part of the ?job for the boys? for assisting the President to come to power when late President Umaru Musa Yar?Adua was on his death-bed, I think, time is up, for the pay back time has elapsed.
Apart from payment of workers salaries and clamping down on hapless prostitutes, I cannot in all degree of honesty enumerate the achievement of Senator Bala Mohammed in the FCT. I think it is tragic in strategic thinking to associate the renaming of the Maitama Phase II to Goodluck Jonathan Zone, and the alleged confiscation of Turai Yar?Adua?s land for onward delivery to Dame Patience Jonathan as critical areas of achievement.
Wide scale allegation seems to suggest that the Ministers? aids are deeply involved in land deals, with green areas hitherto reclaimed by El-Rufai, now given to close friends and associates for development of residential and commercial purposes.
It is critical to note that the former Minister of the FCT, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has set a bar of high standard which many of his contemporaries cannot come to terms with. Though smallish in structure, his vision is limitless, while his proverbial shoes remain an over-size for modern day Rip-van Winkles or spineless Lilliputians.
If el-Rufai could be associated with the mass transit buses and the return of sanity to Abuja Master Plan, the former minister, Dr Aliyu Modibbo; to ban on smoking and city boulevard, while Adamu Aliero for the creation of speed bumps, what would Mohammed be leaving behind as his legacy?
To save us from the current calamity that befall the nation?s capital, I think President Jonathan will do Nigerians a lot of good by effecting swift changes that can bring back the lost glory of the FCT. The time is now, because we must help in building institutions of democracy that is devoid of generational corruption and under-development.
?Modibbo wrote in from Abuja