Sunday Trust online

Thumbs up for Bala Mohammed, the People’s Minister

May the enemies of Bala Mohammed live long to see the transformation of the federal capital territory. As one of the most loyal member of the presidential winning team, this man has only one regret – which is that a territory carved out for the transformed is fast turning into an all-comers city. And by Allah, he has sworn to change that. And he has the president’s backing – after all, his reclamation agenda in the FCT began with the naming of famous streets after the President and his lame.

As anybody who has been to Dubai would testify, there is no room for the poor to mingle with opulence in any modern capital. The unwashed masses cannot be allowed to bring their dirt, grime and slime into the federal capital territory at will. The military, which conceived the idea of a federal capital wanted a break from the sweat and smell which polluted the fresh air in Lagos. It’s a shame that over the years, this masterplan has been abused.

That was why for long Bala Mohammed could not be bothered to remove the backbreaking bumps. If your car’s suspension is not enough guarantee against them, then you have no business driving on FCT roads. Why do people think the Ghagyi were relocated from the federal capital?

Wicked people say that some FCT pupils still learn under trees as if it was the minister who asked the poor to litter the suburbs like rabbits. They were jealous that minister Mohammed spent N2.2 billion on the renovation of a new banqueting hall for the president; budgeted N26.6 billion for a new capital to celebrate the centenary of Lugard’s amalgamation. I believe that this is what gave the unwashed masses the impression that they too have a right to keep sneaking into the FCT.

Yes there are no alternative buses, but please reduce the number of obesity-induced diabetic cases in Garki and Wuse mortuary by trekking if you must enter the FCT. For God’s sake if you must come in, come with a change of raiment and find a public toilet to change into something descent. Oyibo people are watching you. Your entry into the FCT in rickety buses causes long vehicular traffic, and frequent breakdowns, which gives mechanics the excuse to show up in their oil-soaked overalls.

If you must drive a car in the FCT, find out from members of the House of Representathieves how they got their Toyota Camry. Save enough money to eat lunch in Sheraton, don’t give room for roadside food vendors and bukateria to enter the city of Mohammed and spread cholera and typhoid epidemic without let or hindrance.

In future, I hope minister Mohammed introduces the abandoned apartheid era Pass to parliament. This would mean that those who still employ non-Asian cooks, stewards, drivers etc must give them a pass to enter the federal capital territory while those coming from other parts of Naija must show good reason, apply for special permit, show that they have booked hotel suits in advance and that they would not constitute an eye-sore with either their shabby deprived dress sense and poor mannerism.

It is shameful how the poor exhibit themselves on roads frequently used by Minister Mohammed’s convoy and foreign investors thereby offending their psyche and attracting only the Asians who are a bridge between the unwashed masses and the coveted muzungu. Such arrogant exhibition of poverty reinforces the minister’s resolve to finish off el-Rufai’s agenda.

Those who are against the minister’s directive on mini-buses under-estimate what it costs to clean up the feral capital. In 2010, government spent N927 million ($6.5 million) buying London-made waste bins to clear poverty-generated debris. Without the poor, that money would have been used to build two or three dialysis centres, which may have saved Umaru Yar’Adua’s life. After all, the 200-bed hospital that the minister plans to build in Gwarimpa is estimated at N3.28 billion.  With that hospital, the money that Suntai, Imoke and Chime are spending abroad could have been spent in the FCT.

Apart from chasing prostitutes and other miscreants, Minister Mohammed finds the time to supervise the construction of the Code of Conduct headquarters reviewed from N3.5 billion to N8.76 billion just because President Jones doesn’t give a damn about asset declaration. Let others not get ideas.

This minister sacrificed a governor’s seat in Bauchi to devotetime to Abuja’s transformation. Shame that foreign interests are trying to bring him down with spurious allegations that he requested for plots in an estate. Who owns the entire land in the FCT? You can’t covet what belongs to you. This minister has shown his love for foreigners by chipping in N5.1 billion for the rehabilitation of the bombed UN Building. So, I am often shocked to hear people describe him as a misanthrope.

His nose is particularly sensitive to the odour of the unwashed masses, but otherwise, he is a good man committed to the eradication of filth. What more, he condones the presence of sweaty construction workers by allowing them to foul a section of Abuja’s fresh air. To allow minibus drivers and their patrons would just be too much for the president’s perfumery. Those who cannot afford an emission-free Camry should steer clear of the FCT.


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