FCT reels under heavy toll of the absence of key officials

BY UMORU HENRY

These were the words of President Muhammadu Buhari, November 11, 2015, when he swore-in his cabinet.

One of the Ministers was Malam Muhammad Musa Bello assigned to the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA. Though he is a Minister, the case of Bello is different because Abuja is not a ministry because its administration, structure, composition is like that of a state.

Musa Bello
Malam Muhammad Musa Bello

Following the dissolution of the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory, MFCT, by the then Minister and now Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai, during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA , was created on December 32, 2004.

It became imperative to abolish the then MFCT because it was faced with the challenge of being a cross between a ministry and a state, even as functions were then duplicated across departments, manual while systems enabled corruption

The establishment of the FCTA allowed the FCTA to focus more on its mandate and this led to the creation of the five mandate secretariats namely: Education; Health and Human Services;   Agriculture and Rural Development; Social Development and Transportation.  Area Council Services Secretariat was later established to take care of the administration of the six Area Councils in the FCT: Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC; Abaji; Bwari; Gwagwalada; Kwali; and Kuje.

Also established were the Abuja Metropolitan Management Agency, AMMA; Satellite Towns Development Agency,   STDA; Abuja Investment Company Limited, AICL, Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB; Abuja Tourism Development Board, ATDB; Abuja Enterprise Agency, AEA; Abuja Geographic and Information Systems, AGIS, Abuja Technology Village, ATV; Abuja Traffic Information System, ATIS, among others.

The FCTA also has five Common Services Departments:   Establishment and Training; Legal Services; Treasury; Pensions and Audit to promote planning, coordination, staff capacity and work tools including computerization and they all report to the FCTA Minister through the Chief of Staff.

The  mandate secretariats departments and agencies help to provide key services while enhancing the administration of land and the master pan.

The FCTA Minister,  Bello, has spent ten months in office, yet he has not appointed his personal staff like the Chief of Staff which is a strategic position in the day-to-day running of the administration. The Chief of Staff coordinates the staff for the Minister.

Besides the appointment of Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Bello has only appointed a Special Assistant on Administration. In the case of  the Mandate Secretariats,   there is no political appointment so far.

The delay by the FCTA Minister to make key appointments has continued to take a heavy toll on the running of the FCTA. Undoubtedly, the absence of the Chief of Staff, Special Advisers and secretaries for the mandate Secretariats has impacted negatively on the Bello administration.

Without the key officers, there is pressure on the Minister in the discharge of his duties. He should learn from his predecessors, El- Rufai, Aliyu Modibbo Umar; Adamu Aliero and Bala Mohammed who  put in place these structures immediately after they came to office.

With the key appointments, the Secretaries, who are politicians and function as Commissioners as obtained in states, will take decisions on behalf of the Minister, prepare memoranda and present at executive meetings every Monday at Life Camp.

The current Acting Secretaries in the mandate secretariat have no powers to approve certain projects and policies because they are civil servants. Sensitive files that require urgent action are minuted to the Permanent Secretary who will eventually subject such files to civil service bureaucracy.  Civil servants respect the Secretaries than  Directors because they are coming from outside like in the case of a Minister or a Commissioner who has been appointed to run the affairs of a ministry.

The Federal Capital Territory is gradually going back the pre- El- Rufai days. Whn the Minister has made the key appointments and the appointees man the strategic offices, he will have the time to go out and see for himself how the FCT looks like.

It is not enough to sack the board of the AEPB or to visit   its   Dump Site in Gosa, Sewer Treatment Plant, Wupa, and the proposed Waste Transfer Station at Mpape. Bello needs to create more time to do a follow up and, once he has the relevant appointments in place, he will have time.

The Minister should go out and see for   himself how motorists struggle with Fulani herdsmen who have turned the FCC into grazing route.

Bello has not commenced proper work in the Federal Capital City, FCC, not to talk of the satellite towns which are begging for infrastructure.

As the  Area Councils are also there, the job would be much for the Minister because he has no Minister of State unlike in the past where the junior minister was in charge of the Area Councils and some agencies of government.

Now that the budget of the FCTA has been passed by the National Assembly, the Minister needs to concentrate to work for the people.

 

FCT reels under heavy toll of the absence of key officials on Vanguard News.

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