As the year comes to an end, it is obvious that millions of Nigerians will have high expectations come 2016, as their hope is hinged on better and more prosperous New Year, with everything that can give meanings to their lives put in place by the present Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
This is as a result of their faith in the Buhari-led administration’s solid integrity and honesty of purpose to improve on the living conditions of Nigerians, especially those at the grassroots, who have been sidelined by past administrations in the aspect of democratic benefits.
This expectation is not different from what residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have for the coming year, as there are several ongoing projects that were undertook by the past FCT administration led by Senator Bala Muhammed, which included expansion of intercity roads and new ones under construction, the Abuja Rail Link project and provision of infrastructure in the satellite towns among others.
However, while the Bala Mohammed administration had professionally tackled the myriad developmental challenges of the overstretched Abuja, FCT residents expect that, in the coming years, the present FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, would take bold steps towards putting smiles on their faces by ensuring that most of the uncompleted people’s projects are completed in order to make life easy for them.
Some residents who spoke with FCT Watch highlighted some areas that still require attention in 2016. They include security, transportation, employment opportunities, resettlement and compensation of Abuja indigenes. Also, that commuters and motorists will be highly relieved if the difficulties they encounter on a daily basis from home and to their places of work due to traffic congestion, as well as inadequate buses and taxis are contained.
For Miss Gloria Chukwu, the Mararaba – Nyanya road and Apo – Karshi road are the most notorious for its traffic snarls for residents of Nyanya and Karu in the FCT, that there is the need for the government to direct it’s attention to that axis, by easing the plight that the people go through on that road on daily basis.
“The suffering that people go though when they pass through that road on daily basis is not easy at all. When you leave your home for work in the morning, you will not know when you will get to the office, and when you close from work in the evening, you will spend hours on the road before you get home because of the gridlock, mostly when it rains.
“So, for us that live in that part of the FCT, we are not finding things funny at all. The suffering we are experiencing as a result of the gridlock, is something we are praying that the present administration will tackle in 2016, because we do not want to go through such suffering again in the coming year. We seriously need the government to provide alternatives that would ease the plight of residents in that area,” she said.
An native of the FCT, Mr. Kingsley Madaki explained that there is also the need to give attention to the vexed issue of the resettlement and compensation of Abuja indigenes for their land which was taken away from them, because of the capital territory that was brought to Abuja, which forced the people to give away their land for the fulfilment of that purpose.
“The minister, Mohammed Bello, is likely to be familiar with this matter, which has lingered on for far too long, dodging every administration since the Shehu Shagari era. It is a matter of interest to note that in an honest effort to ensure that Abuja indigenes were not short-changed, the past FCT minister insisted that the resettlement of affected people be decisively captured in the memoranda of understanding of the various agreements for the revolutionary land swap project.
“Although, most natives of the FCT are completely against that project, because they believed that it was an avenue that was used to forcefully collect their plots of land by that administration. However, I am of the opinion that if that agreements are honestly implemented under the Mohammed Bello’s administration, chances are that the nation will begin to witness a reprieve from the constant eruption of anger by Abuja indigenes,” he said.
Madaki explained further that with the awareness of most residents that the present Minister is a man, who is wholly devoted to pursuit of the interest of the common man, his administration will definitely show interest in mass-oriented projects, such as light rail, mass housing scheme, rehabilitation of access roads and the numerous MDGs projects spread all across the FCT.
“It needs to be said that, given its potentials for accelerated development of the FCT and providing relief to thousands of commuters in and out of the FCT, nothing short of a first charge attention to the rail link project can be accepted in 2016, in order to ease the challenging transport situation of residents of the FCT.
“As those familiar with the project will admit, it is indeed noteworthy that under Bala Mohammed, significant progress has been made towards its completion. It will be recalled that the rail link project was one of the many laudable initiatives of Mallam Nasir as FCT minister,” he said.
Another indigene of the FCT, Alhassan Mohammed also said that naturally, Abuja residents will expect a doubling of effort towards completing the railway project which was started by the past administration. “In tackling the project with all the emphasis at his command, former FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed made it clear that beyond ease of transport, he targeted its potentials to fast forward trade, commerce and real estate development along the rail line.