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“Hurricane Wike:” Jitters in FCTA

These are not the best of time for top management officials in the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, over what they have termed as “Hurricane Wike.”

Since his assumption of office as Minister of the FCT, the former governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has demonstrated that it was no longer business as usual, slamming officials of how they have been running the administration.

His “active” style is rubbing off badly on some officials of the administration with some seeking for posting out of the FCTA.

The minister had also urged administration’s officials who believe they do not fit at their present offices to seek for redeployment.

Top on those who won’t mind being redeployed is the permanent secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, The Abuja Inquirer has learnt.

A source close to the permanent secretary claimed that he would not mind a posting away from the FCT.

Only recently, the minister queried the N85 billion affordable housing project agreement between the Satellite Towns Development Department and a private developer, Gilmor Construction Company.

During a project tour to Wasa on September 4, 2023, Wike queried the agreement that the FCDA provide infrastructure, while the developers build affordable housing and sell to the masses without any benefit to the government.

A visibly dissatisfied minister who was not impressed with the arrangement made by the FCTA asked why government should spend N85 billion to provide infrastructure, land, and benefit nothing from it.

Wike said it would have been reasonable for government to get 10 percent of proceeds after providing funding while, the developers get 90 percent.

“Government provides land and infrastructure, then the private sector build and make money while government makes nothing, who does that?” He asked.

“This arrangement is not acceptable, government can take, say, 10 percent, while the private sector takes 90 percent.

“The rate is equally not affordable for the masses. We will look at all these. We will not award contracts for awarding sake.”

The contract for the project was given in 2014 to Gilmor Construction Company at the cost of N28 billion and was reviewed in 2018 to N85 billion.

Wike, had earlier queried the spate of contract variations across major projects in the FCT, describing the development as unacceptable.

The minister, while on an inspection tour of projects in Bwari Area Council, lamented that the huge monetary difference in the contract variation of the Ushafa – Bwari Road project was alarming and unacceptable, saying the trend was stalling project completion in the territory.

He wondered why the Usuma Dam,- Gurara road contract which was awarded as an emergency project in 2017 at the cost of N20 billion and further reviewed to N50 billion in 2020, would still be requiring an additional N900 million to complete the job despite attaining 90 percent completion level as stated by the contractor.

An obviously angry Wike, said that his administration will not accept such variation as he vowed to overhaul the entire system to ensure transparency in contracts award and execution.

On Monday, September 11 the minister blasted officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, over faulty microphone when he was addressing guests while flagging off road rehabilitation project in Abuja.

He said, ‘’Let me express my displeasure to FCDA. It is unfortunate, and that is why FCT is where it is. If you cannot arrange ordinary microphone to work, how would FCT works? You are a shame. Let me warn all those who are concern that this should be the last time that I will appear before a public function, and I get this embarrassment, as it will not happen again. If you don’t want to work, you leave.’’

The Abuja Inquirer learnt the permanent secretary has been at sea since Wike took over and allegedly cannot wait for the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, to embark on routine posting of permanent secretaries for him to leave the FCTA.

A source privy to the Adesola’s angling to leave FCTA said, “he cannot wait to leave here (FCTA). He just can’t stand the energy of the minister (Wike) and is hoping that the Head of Civil Service of the Federation posts him out from here.

“All you need to do is to look at all the pictures he features in with the minister, he looks lost and stares at the minister. I don’t know if it is with amusement, fear or hate, but you can tell he (perm sec) has lost the plot.”

Recently, a civil society group, Vanguard for Justice and Equity, had jumped to the defence of Adesola over his running of the administration for almost three months before President Bola Tinubu appointed Wike as minister.

The civil society group had warned mischief makers to desist from sowing seed of discord between the minister and the permanent secretary by twisting facts and figures to deceive members of the public.

However, Wike’s seeming overbearing style has drawn the ire of the the senator representing the FCT, Ireti Kingibe.

She has faulted the recent appointment and inauguration of the mandate secretaries of the FCTA by Wike, saying they were meant to be screened by the federal legislature.

She said the minister had no executive powers and as such needs to operate under the legislative guidance of the National Assembly.

According to her, the National Assembly would serve the legislative duties to the FCTA as the state assembly do.

Addressing a press conference, she said, “You also have to remember that the minister of the FCT – I’m not sure we have had a former governor as minister, I think we have had one. Some [former] governors may think that as FCT minister… the minister does not have executive powers. He works hand-in-hand with the National Assembly and the president to administer FCT.”

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