Changing narrative of FCT rural infrastructure devt: Wike’s approach

So far, the FCT Minister has inaugurated the construction of six rural roads of 42.2 kilometres across the six Area Councils.

Changing narrative of FCT rural infrastructure devt: Wike’s approach

Changing narrative of fct rural infrastructure devt: wike’s approachBy Philip Yatai

One of the most important basic amenities that government at all levels – federal, state, or local government – should prioritise is access to good road network.

The importance of good road network, particularly in the rural areas cannot be underestimated just like healthcare centre and pipe borne water.

Economic and social development significantly dependent on good and efficient road infrastructure while good network of rural roads helps in boosting agricultural activities.

Over the years, residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), especially those in the satellite towns and rural areas have been denied of this basic amenity.

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These categories of FCT residents have developed nightmares over the years, due to poor state of road network in their areas which connect them to the city centre.

In-fact, the concentration of roads construction had been in the city centre, whereas the bulk of population of the FCT resides in the satellite towns and rural areas.

It was, therefore, a huge relief when Mr Nyesom Wike, upon assumption of office as the FCT Minister, said he would prioritise the development of infrastructure in the six area councils.

According to the Minister, the prosperity and well- being of residents extend beyond the city centre. He stressed the need to ensure that all areas of the FCT experienced progress and development.

To achieve this, the minister and his team visited some of the satellite towns and rural communities to determine the state of underdevelopment and decide on what could be done to improve rural facilities and infrastructure.

Sequel to the visit, the minister announced President Tinubu’s approval of construction of at least 30-kilometre road, minimum of five kilometres in each of the six area councils of the FCT.

“One of the main components of the Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda is to ensure that people in rural communities are not left out in the development efforts of the current administration,” he said.

Walking his talks, the minister on Feb. 1, inaugurated the construction of rural road projects, beginning with Gwagwalada Area Council.

So far, the FCT Minister has inaugurated the construction of six rural roads of 42.2 kilometres across the six Area Councils.

Changing narrative of fct rural infrastructure devt: wike’s approach
The ongoing construction of 11-kilometre rural road to connect Sukuku Ebo and Yangoji communities in Kwali Area Council of FCT.

The roads include 11 km road in Kwali Area Council, five km dual carriageway in Kuje, nine km road in Gwagwalada, 7.2 km road in Bwari, five km road each in Abaji and Abuja Municipal Area Council.

While inaugurating the nine-kilometre Paikon Kore to Ibwa Road in Gwagwalada area council, Wike said that the move was not only to promote rural development, but to make rural dwellers comfortable.

The minister attributed the spate of rural-urban migration to lack of roads and other basic amenities needed to make life comfortable in rural areas.

According to him, the project will not only address insecurity, but will equally boost economic activities.

To this end, Wike announced that two additional roads would be constructed in each of the area councils before the end of the year.

While inaugurating construction of 7.2-kilometre road linking Gaba and Tokulo communities in Bwari Area Council, the minister said one of the key drivers of insecurity in the territory was the absence of basic infrastructure in rural communities.

“When you don’t have access to roads, it makes it difficult for even security agencies to carry out their jobs very well.

“It is important to note that, while we are fighting insecurity, we must also provide basic infrastructure,’’ he said.

At Kuje, Wike inaugurated the construction of a five-kilometre dual carriageway and promised to complete all abandoned projects across the six Area Councils.

“Government is continuum and what we are using is public money. We cannot allow government money to be wasted simply because we were not the one that initiated the projects.

“We will continue with those projects since they will have positive impacts on the lives of our people,” he said.

From Kuje, the minister led his entourage to Yangoji in Kwali Area Council, where he inaugurated the construction of 11-kilometre rural road to connect Sukuku Ebo and Yangoji.

He told the residents that the Tinubu-led administration was touching rural areas with roads and other infrastructure to renew their hope because they had suffered years of abandonment.

Wike at the event, admonished the area council chairmen to stay in their domain and develop their communities.

“Continue to stay at home. Don’t come to the city regularly. Stay there and do the work.

“My own is to support you. If you don’t do well for rural communities, you will create problems for the city,’’ he warned.

In Abaji, the Minister underscored the importance of rural roads and promised not to allow anyone to stifle the development of rural communities in FCT.

He warned Directors in the FCT Administration against unnecessary bureaucracy that may delay the delivery of road projects.

In AMAC, Wike called on the residents to pray for President Bola Tinubu for good health and God guidance to be able to keep his campaign promise of providing dividends of democracy to the people.

Changing narrative of fct rural infrastructure devt: wike’s approach
L-R: FCT Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud and FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, during the inauguration of the construction of 7.2-kilometre road, linking Gaba and Tokulo communities in Bwari Area Council of FCT.

In her view, the FCT Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, said lack of access roads in communities had stagnated development in rural areas.

Mahmoud said that construction of rural roads would not only open the rural communities for trade and commerce, but also improve access to market, health care, and education.

“Road infrastructure forms the backbone of rural economies and contributes significantly to the overall development of a nation.

“Improved road networks connect rural producers to markets, enable them to sell their goods at fair prices and access essential services more easily.

“This enhances productivity, creates employment opportunities, and stimulates local economies,” she said.

The bold steps of Wike towards transforming rural economy through road construction had not gone unnoticed by public analysts and rural dwellers who are direct beneficiaries of these projects.

They applauded the minister for changing the narratives in infrastructure development in FCT by placing emphasis on the area council which had hitherto been forgotten.

The analysts, however, expressed concern that the projects might suffer the same fate of abandoned projects like others before them.

But Wike allayed their fears, stressing that the FCT Administration under his watch, is equally changing the narrative of project delivery in the FCT in terms of funding.

He said, before now, contracts were awarded in virtually all the satellite towns but without the needed funding to execute them.

The minister assured rural residents that no project would be awarded without funding.

“I am not a party to abandoned projects. I start a project when there is money and we always look into our finances before we begin any project,” Wike said.

On their part, the area council chairmen described Wike’s rural road projects as unprecedented and pledged their full support.

Specifically, they said the development in less than a year the minister assumed office was unprecedented since the return of democracy in 1999.

The chairmen said the road projects would complement the efforts of the area councils towards improving rural infrastructure for the benefit of rural people.

The traditional leaders in the area councils also shower praises on the minister stressing that the projects would facilitate the needed development that had eluded rural communities in the FCT for ages.

The Aguma of Gwagwalada, Mohammad Magaji, particularly described the road project as a game changer in transforming the lives of rural dwellers.

Similarly, the Esu Bwari, Mr Ibrahim Yaro, argued that the lack of good roads and other infrastructure were thwarting economic progress in rural areas.

Yaro, who described Bwari as the food basket of FCT, said that the roads, when completed, would not only improve the earnings of farmers, but the socio-economic lives of his people.

Also, the Gomo of Kuje, Alhaji Haruna Jibrin, said that the road projects would rekindle peoples’ hope and ignite the spirit of patriotism.

The Chief of Pai in Kwali, Alhaji Abubakar Sani, said that road infrastructure was critical to the current administration’s quest for rural transformation.

In show of appreciation, the traditional leaders in their respective community conferred traditional titles on the minister.

In AMAC, Wike was conferred the traditional title, “Jagaban Kudu (Chief Warrior)  of Jiwa Chiefdom while in Kwali, he was bestowed “Kauran Kwali” (fiercest and most courageous warrior)
In Kuje, Wike was honoured with the traditional title, “Jikan Dan Majidadin” (A symbol of Goodwill) while in Bwari, he was bestowed
“Barde of Bwari” (Warrior of Bwari).
In Gwagwalalada, the FCT Minister was accorded “Sarkin Yaki” (Warlord) of Paikon Kore, a community in the Area Council.

Sharing their views, some of the community members and road users expressed optimism that the rural road projects, when completed, would address the challenge of transportation that had remained a thorn in their flesh.

One of them, Mr Patrick Ojo, a resident of Kuje said that good roads reduce travel time adding that the projects would improve the productivity of residents in their various economic endeavours.

Mr Ibrahim Suleiman, a motorist in Kwali said it took about three hours to get to Yangoji from Sokuko, due to the bad state of the road.

Suleiman said motorists would get a reprieve when the road is completed, and the travel time is reduced to 30 minutes.

Another road user, Mr Bulus Sunday, said some of the roads inaugurated by the minister were not accessible especially during the raining season.

He said the challenge would be a thing of the past when the roads are completed.

In general, stakeholders have called on government at all levels to take cue from Wike’s giant strides as FCT minister by embracing agendas that provide quality services to all sections of the population.

They insisted that doing so would promote equal access to social and economic goods and services in both rural and urban areas.


News Agency of Nigeria.