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Bala’s Transformation Agenda

Jerry Gana’s credo is – if you minister, minister well. These days Gana is tired of being recycled, but his credo is not lost on the clueless crew.  It would appear that Naija rulers struggle to outdo each other in their top to bottom approach at governance and making scandalously ridiculous decisions.

You can pardon Raji Fashola for banning commercial motorcycles, aka Okada in Lagos and asking commuters to walk, that is reduce obesity by riding bicycles. You can picture a cyclist with nine lives on the 3rd Mainland Bridge. But then, Fashola’s now decrepit BRT buses are still running on special lanes whenever the Wizard of Ota is not visiting. He is the only other driver excluded from using the lane. The last time Raji tried to prevent him, twelve of his buses ended up in the Ota farm detention centre.

Fashola’s obsession is making Lagos a garden city and clearing its streets of urchins, area boys and beggars. The jury is out on his overall success with that dream. Last week, his brigadiers rounded up beggars and sent them to the overcrowded Kirikiri Maximum Security prisons. Usually, prisons are the exclusive preserve of the federal government, but to guarantee access to them, states can use the mobile courts or the police. They use both. Beggars travel to prison in Black Maria – Farouk Lawan rode to Kuje Prison in his own jeep where prison authorities provided him with a replica 5-Star treatment while his ordeal lasted. Don’t forget that Lawan is a very important prisoner, VIP.

But what do you say about Bala Mohammed, the FCT Minister, aka babu ashawo or prostitute exterminator who carries out his duty as FCT minister with incredibly scandalous strides? Few weeks ago the minister woke up on the wrong side of his bed and banned all commercial vehicles from entering his dream domain. More than half of the el-Rufai buses he inherited are grounded, ostensibly for spare parts and poor maintenance. Even at their peak, they hardly met a fraction of FCT daily transport needs.

If you suffer headache as a result of Naija government official’s decisions, pardon their lack of empathy, those who have no head cannot feel other people’s headaches. Mohammed is not through with prostitutes - yet. He wants to spend N5 billion on the project this fiscal year. Like Fashola’s Lagos, Naija prostitutes have re-routed into the FCT where get-rich-quick libidinous men are on the prowl looking for how to satiate their appetites for cheap sex.

In Bala’s dictionary of morals, prostitutes are any group of women standing by the roadside waiting for a taxi; skimpily clad students returning home for a weekend; and, ladies in trousers taking an evening stroll without male companion. Bala’s notion of decency is now the directive principle of FCT policy. Unfortunately, this new policy would rob randy Abuja men from benefitting from the free sex declared by the association of prostitutes if the Eagles win the coveted trophy. Not to worry, they can move to any neighbouring state to redeem the pledge.

Bala is a loyal member of the clueless clan who started first by naming streets after the clueless first family and he is not done yet. This time around, he is spending N4 billion to build a First Lady’s Mission Office in Abuja. When completed the FCT will never forget that a minister once ruined this city.

Very soon, those hoping to gain entry into the FCT would have to undergo a health and safety parade or sanitation inspection. A new sanitation brigade would provide that task at the golden city gate, where they would order passengers to disembark, stretch forth their hands to reveal proper manicure; the hisba would check the ladies to make sure that they are not wearing revealing dresses and that shoes reveal no toenails. Those who pass the inspection parade would be allowed to enter the city gates, which by the way are to be built at a cost of N7.5 billion.

But I smell trouble in the air. Naturally, these gates favour me because they are usually built on the Kogi end of the city. Trouble is, I don’t see how the governors of Niger, Kaduna and Nasarawa states would take this lying low. Niger prides itself as the power state. Apart from holding the electrical jugular of the nation, they hold that of the FCT and share ownership of Gurara Dam, which supplies the city with trickles of water. They pair with Ogun state in hosting the number of retired but active Naija rulers and on that score, they may ask for a Platinum Gate on the Suleja end of the superhighway. Nasarawa supplies as much traffic to the FCT as Kubwa (Kaduna) end of the road. These two may compete for silver and bronze gates on their end.

If the FCT is a mass of land stolen from all these states, they deserve some mosaic paraphernalia as a token of gratitude in this squandering of riches. For the FCT, this is a step forward as it has no schools to rehabilitate; no sicknesses requiring hospitals or medical personnel. Its roads are pathways to heaven or hell; its residents generate their own electricity and pipe their own water. All these lead to job creation since governments only lay off workers. By the time Bala is through with his Transformation Agenda in Abuja, he would have gathered enough mileage to take over in Bauchi.

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