The contrast in the comportment and carriage of the immediate past minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello compared to his successor, Barrister Nyesom Wike cannot be more striking.So striking that one of Nigeria’s leading Islamic teachers, albeit with a controversial pedigree, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has now dubbed Wike as satanic.….CONTINUE READING
It is undoubtedly provocative and indeed condemnable to portray Wike in such terms. However, given the persuasions and sense of entitlement of the Sheikh and some of his adherents, one could well relate to his annoyance. Bello, the immediate past minister of the FCT has the dubious record of being the longest-serving minister of the territory in the history of the country. He also has the record of being the least-performing minister.
Under his watch, the FCT which was once prized for its political clout under Lt General Jeremiah Useni, and for its development trajectory under Mallam Nasir El-Rufai slipped into a redundant backwater. According to nearly every source, Bello’s routine was to arrive office, warm his chair, pray, and following that, mark files brought to him “KIV- Keep In View”.
If he went out, it was to see off President Muhammadu Buhari at the airport or welcome him back. That is how the FCT under his watch suffered and stagnated for almost eight years and those who chided El-Rufai for his demolitions even sought his return to shake off the humdrum of the Bello years.
However, the appointment of Wike was a rude shock to many, especially the fanatical Muslims in the country who had gotten used to the idea that the office of FCT minister was an exclusively Northern Muslim seat.
Buhari even deepened that insinuation when he appointed two Northern Muslims as Minister and Minister of State.
Indeed, it was in that direction that appointments as heads of the secretariats of the FCT were almost always 75% populated by Northern Muslims. To the chagrin of even the indigenous population, none of their persons had ever had the privilege of heading any of the departments. That was until Wike.
Wike’s appointment was particularly seen as a slap by the Northern establishment. Coming into the 2023 General Election, Wike had become a hate figure after his very negative reaction to his ‘betrayal’ by his former brother, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
Tambuwal’s decision to abandon Wike at the 2022 PDP convention after the former Rivers governor broke the bank to enable him to pick the party’s presidential ticket in 2018 was seen as a big betrayal.
The Northern betrayal was further amplified after Atiku Abubakar was believed to have pulled back on his offer of running mate to Wike.
Your correspondent is informed that Atiku pulled back upon pressure from many Northern leaders who felt that positioning Wike as vice president would be too dangerous and close for comfort.
Wike did not take the two betrayals from the North calmly. His riposte was to ‘scatter-scatter’ his party to the benefit of the All Progressives Congress, APC, especially after they failed to respect the rotation principle.
That was the defining point for the PDP. Indeed, there is a strong argument that the failure of Atiku to manage Wike directly led to his loss in the presidential election.
However, in appointing Wike as minister of the FCT, there are some in the North like Sheikh Gumi who think that President Tinubu is desecrating the Muslim North’s grip on power.
Gumi’s angst was further provoked by Wike’s decision to receive the Israeli ambassador to Nigeria in the midst of the confrontation between Israel and Hamas.
That meeting was falsely reported in some sections of the North as an endorsement of Israel in its decision to retaliate against the Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians on October 7 that led to the killing of more than 1,300. More than 2,700 persons in Gaza have died since that attack. Indeed, the initial euphoria that swept through some sections of the Muslim Umma after the initial attack on Israel has now turned to lamentation as they seek an immediate ceasefire following the continued suffocation of Gaza by Israel.
Whether it is the pains from the Israeli revenge that made Sheikh Gumi describe Wike as satanic cannot be easily certified. But whatever, what can be said is that the lethargy and inertia in the administration in the FCT is no longer there. If Gumi prefers that lethargy to progress he is on his own.….CONTINUE READING