Top officials in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) are experiencing a turbulent period, which they’ve dubbed “Hurricane Wike,” following the arrival of Mr Nyesom Wike, the former governor of Rivers State, as the Minister of the FCT.
Wike’s proactive approach to governance is unsettling some FCTA officials, with some considering requests for reassignment.
“If you cannot arrange ordinary microphone to work, how would FCT work? You are a shame. Let me warn all those who are concerned 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.”Wike exclaimed during an event on September 11, 2023
The minister has encouraged FCTA officials who feel they are not suitable for their current positions to request reassignment. It appears that Mr. Olusade Adesola, the permanent secretary, is among those who are open to being reassigned.
“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.”a source close to Adesola revealed.
Wike recently questioned the N85 billion affordable housing project agreement between the Satellite Towns Development Department and the private developer Gilmore Construction Company. During a site visit to Wasa on September 4, 2023, Wike raised concerns about the arrangement in which FCDA provides infrastructure while developers build affordable housing and sell it to the public without any government benefit.
“Government provides land and infrastructure, then the private sector builds and makes money while government makes nothing, who does that?”Wike asked.
“This arrangement is not acceptable; government can take, say, 10 percent, while the private sector takes 90 percent.”Says Wike
The contract for the project was initially awarded to Gilmor Construction Company in 2014 at a cost of N28 billion and was later revised to N85 billion in 2018.
Wike also expressed dissatisfaction with the number of contract variations in major FCT projects, labelling it unacceptable. During an inspection tour of projects in Bwari Area Council, he expressed concern about the significant monetary differences in contract variations, which he believes are causing project delays in the territory.
“This arrangement is not acceptable; government can take, say, 10 percent, while the private sector takes 90 percent.”Wike emphasized.
“We will not award contracts for awarding sake,”he added.
During a public event on September 11, 2023, Wike criticized FCDA officials for a malfunctioning microphone, stating that such issues are unacceptable.
Rumours suggest that the permanent secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, is eager to leave his position in the FCTA due to difficulties working with Minister Wike.
“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,”a source privy to Adesola’s situation said.
In the midst of these developments, a civil society group called Vanguard for Justice and Equity defended Adesola’s performance in running the administration for almost three months before Wike’s appointment as minister.
“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,”a source close to Adesola revealed.
However, Senator Ireti Kingibe, representing the FCT, criticized Wike’s recent appointment and inauguration of mandate secretaries of the FCTA, arguing that they should have undergone screening by the federal legislature. She emphasized that the minister should operate under the legislative guidance of the National Assembly, which serves legislative duties for the FCTA similar to how state assemblies operate.
The situation continues to evolve as Wike’s assertive style of governance challenges the status quo within the FCTA.