Any Crack In Bala Mohammed's Team?

That Abuja the seat of the Federal Government is so full of political intrigues is no longer news. It is also no longer news that the office of the minister of the Federal Capital Territory is one of the most talked about cabinet level position in contemporary Nigerian politics and it goes without any shadow of doubt that the contest for who occupies the seat of the minister of the Federal Capital Territory is one piece of hot political cake which is usually handled with utmost care by any serving President who ensures that only his hard core loyalist gets the slot.

In the same vein, because of the strategic position that the office of the minister of FCT occupies, the occupant is expected to recruit some of the best technocrats to help fashion out and implement his vision and mission for the rapid transformation and advancement of the seat of political power in modern day Nigeria.

One among the core functions of the minister of FCT is to ensure that capital infrastructural projects with the long term objectives of providing the best social services to the residents and people of the FCT and the hundreds of thousands of foreign envoys that live in Abuja and also for the comfort of the hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors/tourists who thronged the nation's capital for various reasons.

In the current dispensation, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory created the office of the Special Adviser to the minister of the FCT on projects monitoring and implementation with the key components of the mandate of the technocrat manning this position being to critically and closely supervise the execution of major projects and infrastructure of all dimensions in the FCT to ensure efficient and quality delivery of jobs by the contractors.

In the last two years the current minister of FCT Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has worked with an Ebonyi state born Prince Ajah Nwabueze Igwe who brought with him formidable working and political experiences from a variety of public offices including his stint at the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] in Port Harcourt, Rivers State whereby he was one of the key technocrats in the office of the Chairman.

This gentleman from Ebonyi state who is a die hard PDP loyalist has been in the limelight as one of the most trusted aides of the FCT minister but few weeks back, information filtered in that he was shoved aside by his boss who was said to have allegedly heard some unsavory tales from the governor of Akwa Ibom state Obong Godswill Akpabio and this writer reliably gathered that the minister felt uncomfortable having Prince Ajah around him any longer following this story fed to him by his friend who came visiting his office from Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital during one of his numerous trips to Abuja last month.

Confirmation of the rumor mills became concretized when the office of the minister of FCT placed a commercial disclaimer in a national daily saying that Prince Ajah Nwabueze Igwe was no longer the Special Adviser on Project Implementation and monitoring to t Minister and no reason for offered for the decision of the FCT minister to so disgrace his immediate past aide who worked diligently for him for several months not until information filtered into his ears about this gentleman which appeared to be so strong that the minister of FCT can no longer keep him as his close aide. But this decision to relieve him of his juicy position has in no way affected the loyalty that Prince Igwe has about his immediate past boss who e still calls 'MY BOSS AND LEADER'.

During a chance meeting with him in Abuja before he jetted out to Ebonyi state for the Yuletide celebrations, this former Special Adviser of Bala Mohammed regaled me with beautiful stories of how his former boss remains one of the best things to have happened to him even as he told me that he bares no grudge whatsoever against t=his sudden loss of privileged political office just as he stated that God knows the best for every one. He also announced to me that he is now the Ambassador of Senator Bala Mohammed the minister of FCT outside his office.

Such a magnanimity of heart is rare in our clime whereby whoever loses power sees his former political boss as the new adversary. Prince Ajah said his brand of politics in PDP is the type that preaches politics without bitterness and that a man should not bite the finger that once fed him no matter the current position and rank such a person occupies because in life change is inevitable he stated.

In a conversation this Ebonyi state politician and technocrat Prince Ajah Nwabueze Igwe told me that he enjoyed every bit of time that he spent working with the minister of FCT who according to him set up a team made up of good spirited Nigerians desirous to provide sustainable and durable social services to the residents and people of the federal capital and other numerous visitors that troop into the capital city for different business and tourism reasons.

He stated that he was happy that the minister of FCT has the vision to build and develop FCT (Abuja) to be one of the top federal capital cities of the world and also brought to the table the mission of working to build and administer a Federal Capital Territory in compliance with the Master Plan through the establishment of an effective and enduring service oriented Administration that can respond to the needs of all residents and other stakeholders.

He said that because of the minister Patriotism and Dedication to duty and because of the minister abiding faith in pursuing his duties with Integrity and trust through transparency and accountability and his respect for due process and rule of law, he has no regret to have worked for this minister and that he will remain ever loyal to the minister since he now sees himself as the Ambassador of the FCT minister outside the office of the minister of FCT. The minister, Ajah stated has the greatest respect for equality of opportunity regardless of gender, age, religion and is endowed with an unmatched commitment to highest ethical standards, professionalism.

From my encounter with Prince Ajah, he appeared very appreciative of the opportunity accorded him by the minister of FCT to serve and bears no grudge regarding the disclaimer that ran in a popular newspaper sponsored by the bureaucracy in the office of the FCT minister. Critics still believe that inspite of the profound outpouring of gratitude by Prince Ajah, that there could be a crack in the office of the FCT who has so far fired two high profile aides in less than one year and is accused of not promoting any of his aides from the Southern part of the country.

Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, the minister of FCT, was born on 5th October, 1958 at Duguri Town in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State. He attended Duguri Primary School, Bauchi from 1965 to 1971 where he secured his First School Leaving Certificate. After that, he was admitted into the Government Secondary School, Bauchi from 1972 to 1976 where he passed his WASSCE. From there he proceeded to North – East College of Art and Science between and 1977 and 1979 for his Advanced Level Certificate. Thereafter, he gained admission to the University of Maiduguri in 1979 and graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language. Senator Bala Mohammed also attended the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) in1988 for a general management course. In 1997, he attended a capacity building training in Lagos and was given a certificate of the Institute of Purchase & Supplies.

Senator Bala Mohammed is a proud member of the journalism profession. He began his career as a journalist in the early 80s and rose to the position of News Editor of the Mirage Newspaper, Jos between 1982 and 1983. He also had a stint as a News Reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN).

From there he moved over to the Democrat Newspaper where he worked as the newspaper's State Editor in charge of Benue from 1983 to 1984. Some of his contemporaries in the profession included the likes of former Editor-In-Chief/Managing Director of the Champion Newspapers, Mr. Emma Agu and Alhaji Sani Mohammed of the American Embassy, Abuja. Those who worked him during that period have described him as a highly committed and principled journalist who practiced the profession according to its ethics.

Emmanuel Onwubiko, a strategic media consultant and public affairs analyst wrote in from Abuja. He is head, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria.

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Articles by Emmanuel Onwubiko