Opinion: Buhari’s Footprints – By Femi Adesina
We are winding down. In about 11 months, the Muhammadu Buhari administration will be done. So we are ticking off the days. Right is the Good Book when it says “for here we have no continuing city, but we seek one that is to come.” Even if the tenure is 20 years, it will still end. We must all live with that reality daily, in whatever we do. Life itself does not last forever. Transient.
But we must count our blessings. Yes, document the achievements and successes of the Buhari administration. Naysayers want the tenure to be signposted by just insecurity. True, there are massive security challenges, but that is not only what defines Muhammadu Buhari, so we must say it the way it is. The revisionists include Bishops, Pastors, Preachers, Imams, sections of the Media, opposition politicians, and many others. They can say what they want, it’s within their democratic rights, but we will also say our own. For we know. We have the facts and figures. And they can’t muzzle or gag us.
What do I try to do on this platform week after week, since I began to write this column over three years ago? To show Buhari’s footprints on the sands of time. Lest liars beguile the unwary, and cover the landscape with falsehood.
Today, let’s focus on the Federal Capital Territory, and see what Buhari has done, along with his quietly efficient, almost unobtrusive Minister, the Adamawa man called Mohammed Musa Bello, assisted by the Kogi woman, Dr Ramatu Aliyu.
Two weeks ago, Minister Bello graced the State House Press Briefing, where he opened the eyes and ears of his hearers. Jumping Jehoshaphat! So much has been done, and is still being done, under the watch of Buhari. So widely visible are the man’s footprints, no matter what those who cavil say.
Massive infrastructural development and urban renewal projects being executed, showing an administration that has come to serve. And major milestones have been reached, which cannot be contemned nor denied. Roads. Rail. Bridges. Water projects. And many more.
According to its reputation as both starter and finisher, there are projects inherited from previous governments, which have been completed and rolled out by the current administration.
There’s the Kubwa expressway connecting the FCT with the Kaduna-Abuja-Lokoja Federal Highway. Inherited, completed, and put to use. It has facilitated free and efficient movement of people, goods and services, improved safety, and reduced travel time.
The Airport Expressway, rehabilitated and expanded. Before I came to work and live in the city over seven years ago, I was a frequent visitor, as a journalist and someone who ran a newspaper business. We had to meander and cross-cross lanes, as the road was work in progress. Now, the 10 lanes have been fully built, and put to use. It has facilitated free and efficient movement from the airport to the city. Completed by Buhari.
The United Nations building. Remember? Boko Haram bombed it to smithereens in August, 2011, killing many innocent people. The Federal Government made a commitment to rebuild, but as at 2015 when Buhari came, work had been suspended due to some contractual challenges. Despite lean purse, the President fished out N6 billion, and today, the project has been completed and all UN Agencies returned to the ultramodern and heavily fortified building. Apart from the UN headquarters in New York, the Abuja office ranks as perhaps the next best in the world.
Apart from smooth inner city roads, join me at the dualization of the Usuma Dam Gurara road. When Buhari came, there were huge financial liabilities, and work had stopped. But the liabilities were settled, contractors remobilized to site, and today, all the hydraulic structures including five bridges and about 37km of asphaltic pavement have been completed with substantial portion of the road opened to traffic. Buhari, where have you been all our lives?
Without noise, fanfare, or flexing, the President and his Ministers get the job done. Get to Guzape District and see provision of roads and engineering infrastructure to the new layout. The same at Wuye District, Jahi, which covers an area of about 670 hectares of land, Apo Estate layout, Wumba, Saraji, Lokogoma, Dakota, Kabusa, and many others.
Satellite towns are receiving great attention in terms of infrastructure, and this frees the main city centre from congestion. Places like Kubwa, Wasa, Bwari, Karshi, have all witnessed engineering infrastructure and provision of water supply. No doubt, Buhari met Abuja well, and he would be leaving it better.
After Lagos, FCT suffered next most from Coronavirus (COVID-19), but the Administration pulled up its bootstraps and embarked on intervention works, which reduced the impact of the pandemic.
But is there any resting on its oars today? Work continues. Road infrastructure. Abuja Greater Water Supply. Engineering infrastructure. Rehabilitation of Federal Government buildings. Construction of access roads. Erosion control and road improvement works. Land Swap. Housing Estates. And many more.
No government anywhere in the world finishes all the work that needs to be done in a country. In FCT, Buhari’s footprints are visible everywhere, except to the willfully blind. He came, he saw, and he’s conquering.
*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity