Nigeria is a country of beautiful people and ideas but it also has its fair share of people who will go to great lengths to resist efforts to institutionalize reforms.
This partly explains what is more or less playing out in the Federal Capital Territory FCT where a faceless group has launched an online initiative to dent the image of the reform-minded Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Olusade Adesola with spurious allegations.
For instance, the hack writer for the faceless group claimed that the Permanent Secretary unilaterally employed 10,000 people mainly from his village in three years and urged the FCT minister, Nyesom Wike to “report the Permanent Secretary to EFCC and ICPC to be handcuffed immediately”.
But what these mischievous people did not know, and probably did not bother to check, is that the total staff strength of the FCTA is not even close to 40,000.
It stood at 32,201 as at September 1 2023 and it is important to note that the workforce amounted to 31,528 people as of when Mr Adesola assumed office in August 2020 but rose to 32,831 in June 2021 before going down to its current 32,201. So from all indications, only a few staff were hired to fill vacant positions in the last three years contrary to the misleading information peddlers.
The question then is why package misinformation as facts?
it is not difficult to know that the real reason for the smear attack are the reforms that the permanent secretary has since assuming office been overseeing in the ministry and which have not gone down well with those that could be easily described as entrenched interests.
For the avoidance of doubt, reforms in the FCT have seen a quantum leap in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) with the ministry raking in N92.7bn in the first six months of 2023 compared to N102.8bn in 2020, N124bn in 2021,N150bn in 2022 and N150bn in 2022.
And now that on his watch, revenue collection from all six area councils have been harmonized to ensure one central collection point in the FCT-Inland Revenue Service(FCT-IRS) but it is no longer news that people who may have been benefitting from the previous system of using revenue consultants are up in arms.
Some of those people are said to have publicly confronted Adesola and threatened him so it is not a surprise that harmonisation of revenue collection was one of the issues raised in that hatchet job against the Permanent Secretary.
And now that President Bola Tinubu is favourably disposed to centralizing revenue collection at the federal level, it is obvious that the FCT Permanent Secretary was perfectly in order by brushing off opposition to push through a reform that had been on the cards since at least 2021.
Other reforms in the Federal Capital Territory that are riling mischief makers are the digitalization of the operations of the Department of Road Traffic Service as well as the new parking arrangement in the FCT but these are initiatives that are necessary in every modern capital city in the world.
On the matter of land allocation, everyone who is conversant with how the nation’s capital is run, knows that the FCT Permanent Secretary has no power to allocate land under any circumstances.
The only individual vested with that powers in this regard is the FCT Minister, who acts on behalf of the President, so it is preposterous for anyone to give the impression that an FCT permanent secretary who had the benefit of working in the Buhari administration would allocate lands without the knowledge of the supervising authorities.
The good thing is that FCT has a minister in place who understands the intricacies of a ministry by virtue of his previous stint as a minister and also had the honour of being a two-term governor who excelled in office.
So it won’t be difficult for a distinguished personality like Barrister Nyesom Wike to identify a hatchet job when he sees one especially one that is meant to tarnish the hard-earned image of a performing permanent secretary.
Hassan Tahir is a journalist and rights activist. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org