Nigerian FlagBy Abdul Jelil
There are 774 local government councils in the country according to the amended 1999 constitution, but there are several Development Areas which are the creation of state governments from existing local government areas, scattered in most states in the country. Irrespective of the yardstick used for assessment, Abuja Municipal Areas Council, AMAC stands shoulder high above all.
AMAC has the enviable privilege of housing the federal seat of power, the Aso Rock. It also has most of the embassies in its domain, and virtually most federal ministries are located in the council. In Federal Capital Territory, FCT, there are six 6 local governments which are referred to as Area Councils and out of these again, AMAC remains on top.
One can say without an iota of doubt that Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC is one of the richest local government areas in the country in terms of revenue generation. But as expected with most local governments, they are seen as an extension of the state governments. This has affected the performances of most councils. Despite these interferences, AMAC has been able to weather the storm and remains one of the best-run local governments in the country.
Our focus is a review of the past 5 years and the present helmsman that has set the pace for the exceptional performance is Abdullahi Adamu Candido. It is on record which is verifiable that before now, no former council chairman of AMAC can beat his record and there are fears that those who might come thereafter might find it difficult to wear the shoes of performance of the present leadership.
Candido has so many firsts on his sleeves that residents and indigenes have lost count of projects that have been distributed to every cranny of the council. AMAC has 12 wards, and it is on record that there is no ward that has no tangible projects to point at. The wards are City Centre, Garki, Wuse, Karu, Nyanya, Gwagwa, Karshi, Jiwa, Kabusa, Orozo, Gui, and Gwarinpa
To be candid and fair to all, there was no former chairman that did not play his role in the development of the council while in office, but the present council chairman is leaving behind a landmark that those coming after him, might find difficult to fill the remaining vacuum.
He is noted with so many firsts in terms of developmental programmes. He is the first council chairman of AMAC to have established a community radio, the first to have a security outfit called AMAC Marshals, the first to establish a microfinance outfit and also the formation of an environmental marshal. And that certainly wasn’t all as he has and is establishing more local but modern markets scattered in the 12 wards.
He has also opened up various avenues for raking in more revenue for the council through massive innovation that has upped the financial ante. Certainly, when developmental yardstick is to be used, he stands shoulder high among his colleagues not only in FCT but among the 774 local government areas nationwide.
The strides include the development of an improved Educational sector, the same goes for Energy/Power -Rural Electrification. He is not lacking in improved Primary Health Care Services in the 12 wards, what about Potable Water Supply or is it Public Convenience and Sanitation, what about Provision and Maintenance of Cemetery he has touched?
In terms of Road Construction and Maintenance, he is leaving a laudable mark. Several indigent natives and residents have benefitted in the Empowerment and Participatory Governance. Construction and Management of Markets have become a yearly occurrence while Agricultural Development has been extended to rural communities. What about the Security of the various communities in the council and Chieftaincy Affairs. They are not left out.
Candido, as he is popularly known, is an unassuming and consummate leader that has changed the narratives about governance in local government administration. There are many councils in the country where you hardly see the chairmen except on payday.
Many council bosses “run” away from their council secretariats only when allocation comes from Abuja and different knives are brought out to dismembered the funds. Thereafter, such chairmen disappeared until another payday. Even his predecessors usually have a secret office from the council secretariat, where only special aides are privileged to access. But this is not so with Candido, he is usually found in the office every working day.
But Candido has changed the narrative; he is usually in the office every day attending to a coterie of party loyalists and hangers-on. He has not allowed these visits to affect good governance.
He has maintained a good working relationship with the 12 councillors and is both working in tandem to ensure good governance and yields of dividends of democracy to the electorates. The revenue drive is not slacking as more markets are being built in many wards within the municipality.
Indeed, AMAC is working and it is a work in progress. Candido can look back by next year when his second term will elapse and say with confidence that he has not failed in his campaign promises. He has touched more lives and villages than any of his predecessors. What he may be looking towards is that whoever comes after him will continue from where he stopped and increase the tempo to the benefit of the electorates.
Jelil is resident in Abuja
Vanguard News Nigeria
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