Ministerial Scorecard for Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister
by THISDAY Newspaper
(May 29, 2013)
Senator Bala Mohammed is on his second missionary journey as FCT Minister. He has the enviable record of being one of the few ministers who survived the cabinet reshuffle after the election of President Jonathan in 2011.
Mohammed started quite slowly but seems to have gathered momentum and have not only worked passionately to continue with most of the projects started under the previous administrations but has also embarked on new ones. FCT Administration (FCTA) under him is on the verge of completing the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) and Outer Northern Express way (ONEX)/Kubwa Expressway, Airport Road, the Abuja Mono and Light Rail, Lower Usuma Dam Water Scheme, and recently the rehabilitation and resurfacing of some major roads in the Federal Capital City, particularly those located in Wuse and Garki zones.
Apart from the above achievements, the minister has also initiated other projects, which could define his legacy in FCT, like the opening of new districts and particularly the Abuja Land Swap programme that has polarized opinions on the viability or otherwise of the policy. The content of the programme has, however, has shown that if well handled, it could be one of the most sustainable and brilliant initiatives in the developmental history of the FCT. Mohammed has paid special attention to infrastructure development in the FCT, which he is trying to achieve through the Land Swap Policy. There has been rapid increase in construction of new roads, and pedestrian bridges to reduce traffic jam and road accidents.
Nevertheless, Mohammed has been accused of giving too much attention to the visible areas of the FCC to the detriment of the other areas. He has had his full share of controversies also, especially on the indiscriminate demolition of illegal structures, running battle with the aborigines, and the already mentioned Land Swap Initiative. Similarly, he has not been known to be very articulate in the execution of various administrative policies. The minister has therefore had his fare share of unpopular policy initiatives and somersaults like the banning and unbanning of the mini commercial buses, 2013
budget for First Lady’s Mission House, banning and rehabilitation of prostitutes, and naming of Goodluck Jonathan Estate amongst others.
FCTA has also not been very successful in keeping Abuja clean and organized, even th
ough there is a renewed effort towards that with Wuse Market as a prime example where things have been sanitized to a great extent. More importantly, one of the areas FCT residents are eagerly anticipating some actions is in the proposed Property Tax Policy and Rents Regulatory Agency that would reduce the burden of high cost of rents and decent accommodation in the FCT.
THISDAY Assessment – Above Average
FCT Minister of State
Akinjide on assumption of Office did not mince words on where her focus lies and how her legacy can be defined, which is the Satellite Town Development. As the supervising Minister for the FCT Area Councils, and Agriculture Secretariat she has been able to harmonise the monthly revenue sharing and accounting mechanism for the councils and as well been able to initiate policies that helped to ensure food sufficiency in the territory.
Concerning the Satellite Towns Development, it is apt to note that it was under her tenure and through her push that President Jonathan sanctioned the re-establishment of Satellite Towns Development Agency (STDA), with mandate to ensure accelerated development of these strategic urban and semi-urban centres.
Despite the fact that FCT residents are yet to see the visible impact of these initiatives to improve the lots of satellite towns, it is however clear that the policies are being put in proper perspective for effective implementation.
She has of recent also given attention to building of affordable mass housing for the FCT residents, especially located at the Area Councils and Satellite Towns.
It is, however, obvious that STDA is starved of funds and yet to live up to the requirements of its mandate.
Akinjide also seemed to have lost the great zeal and passion with which she tried to focus on satellite towns’ development. These towns are still neglected with lack of or poor infrastructural facilities.