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Abuja, Nigeria's melting pot and Independence Day

7th Oct, 2019 | By Sennen Udoh | ||

As we celebrate the nation's 59th independence anniversary on Wednesday this week, it is imperative that we appraise the country's emergence from colonialism to becoming a sovereign state. To say the least, there is the need also to throw light on the positive marks the nation has made within these years than the usual catalogue of the bad sides which continued to rip the nation and the citizenry of the much needed vibe to move the country in the right direction.

Musing on the positive trends this time around can revive the citizens' dampened spirits arising from the several challenges facing the nation in recent time. This can also boost morale, promote optimism and instill a sense of patriotism. The country has achieved great feats that made it a force to be reckoned with not just because of its vantage position as the world's most populous black nation, but because the citizens have continued to register the nation on various global records justifying our manifest destiny as the giant of Africa.

Today, Nigeria boasts Africa's largest economy with a capital city, Abuja, adduced as the fastest developing city in Africa. It is a city of peace, and a place of gleaming beauty. A land of vast opportunities with breathtaking lush vegetation, rolling hills and serene, eye-catching valleys. A city with infrastructure that is second to none among most nations and in the country. These descriptions are just a few from the wide array of imagery in which Abuja, the nation's capital city, is rightly painted in the public eye.

There is a popular saying that any visitor to Abuja who after two years' stay here and has not noticed real (upward) transformation in his/her economic fortunes, is better advised to visit genuine prophets or Imams for laying of hands as the cause of such stagnation obviously does not emanate from the city. In simpler language, such is the massive scale of economic and financial fortune here that any hard working person should experience a personal change.

Many are the dreams of fellow Nigerians in other parts of the country to relocate, live, work or do business in Abuja. What with the headquarters of all Federal Government (FG) Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Armed Forces, paramilitary agencies, the Judiciary, National Assembly, all of which combined employ and routinely continue to ship in thousands of workers in junior, intermediate and senior categories. Virtually all Diplomatic Missions and international organizations, including Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the World Bank, the United Nations (UN) are represented here. Add to these, the bustling five-star hotels such as Trans corp Hilton, Sheraton, NICON Luxury, and several others, which spawn many lively multiplier businesses, Abuja presents itself as a job seeker's paradise. Aside these institutions, what really sets Abuja aside are the unrivaled atmosphere of peace and serenity being enjoyed in the nation's capital. Initially designed for a maximum population over time of a few millions, Abuja presently boasts a still surging population of about six million, possibly more.

Most of the new residents are persons who seek to take advantage of the conducive business development climate put in place by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). Here, any new Federal Government policy, including economic packages, is first piloted in FCT. For instance, the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA), FCT purpose-built vehicle to change lives has positively affected many persons by creating over 12,517 jobs since inception and supporting over 15,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in terms of providing business support services and access to finance through credit of up to a couple of millions of Naira, and sundry assistance via its many programmes.

The testimonies of beneficiaries are legion, with many, who came to Abuja as paupers now living what is known as the Abuja Dream with sustainable incomes, good houses, fast cars, and a well-settled life. The story is the same in virtually all fields. FCTA public schools are hot cakes because they have modern equipment, enough classroom furniture, good labs, proper environments, and what's more, a highly motivated teaching and non-teaching workforce whose salaries never fail. It is not a secret that by the 26th of every month, at the latest, the salary of all FCTA employees, schools staff inclusive, is already in their bank accounts.

Unlike the situation elsewhere where salary payment is a thorny issue, here it is taken for granted. No wonder, issues of major industrial disharmony are unheard of in FCTA. The reason for the regular payment is simple: prudent and creative management of scarce resources by the Administration of FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, and the Permanent Secretary, FCT, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa. To both personalities, human capital development is as vital for progress as infrastructural increase. The reality of Abuja's opulence has triggered side effects too. Beggars and the destitute see the nation's capital as a veritable honey-pot. Over the years, despite stiff measures, which included but are not limited to physically transporting them back to their states of origin, fines, arrests, rehabilitation undertaken by the FCTA to rid the city of this set of people, they inevitably seek to find their ways back to the lure of the rich streets. It is a social issue which FCTA continues to treat with deserved high priority.

Abuja continues to attract outsiders. The commissioning of the multi-billion Naira Abuja Light Rail; the completion of work on several wide, dazzling expressways comparable in quality to the German autobahn or British and American freeways; the running taps whose water even the United Nations adjudged as one of the cleanest in the world; the ultra-modern health institutions including the District Hospitals, and so many infrastructure projects make it a no brainier that Abuja is everyone's number one destination in Nigeria.

While we felicitate with fellow countrymen and women on this 59th anniversary, we wish to present that governance is a two-way traffic. While government ploughs resources, effort, commitment, time, energy into providing for the people's needs, we enjoin residents to be particularly alert to the activities of enemies of society, evil-doers who only see public assets as good for vandalism. Residents should be awake to assist security agents who are in every nook and cranny of FCT, even patrolling in plain clothes to nab persons intent on destroying our common patrimony.

These include vandals of streetlight and road furniture, cable thieves, commercial sex workers and their ilk. On sighting these groups in their nefarious work, reports should be urgently lodged at the nearest security agency for rapid reaction. In that way, we can all continue to enjoy what is ours. Abuja Digest Weekly wishes all FCT residents happy Independence Day celebration.

News Update

The Minister said these after a meeting of the FCT Security Committee which comprises heads of the police, military and para-military formations in FCT as well as Area Council Chairmen and religious leaders.

The cheery news is coming as Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu will headline a distinguished galaxy of stakeholders for the FCT pension stakeholders retreat this week.

Finally last week, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) took over managing and operating the newly- completed Nigeria-Korea Model School in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his Administration will continue to fashion policies designed to ensure employment and security of all citizens, especially the youth.

Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has decried the lynching of three suspected traffic robbers popularly known as 'One chance' in Dutsen Alhaji area of Abuja last week.

Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) always makes public the allocations in line with President Muhammadu Buhari's Change Agenda which harps on transparency, anti-corruption and accountability, tenets which FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has made his beacon.


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