The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello has described the formal movement of the nation’s seat of power from Lagos to Abuja 27 years ago as a dream fulfilled.
He said, in spite of the challenges, the movement had been as fluid as humanly possible.
Bello stated this at the commemoration of the movement of the seat of government, on Monday in Abuja, urging Nigerians to see Abuja as a national heritage and join hands to protect it.
The minister said 42 years since its creation and 27 years after the movement from Lagos, Abuja has indeed come of age, adding that Abuja has surpassed Lagos as the destination for foreign direct investments.
He said much has been invested in the building of the new capital that all well-meaning residents and indeed, all Nigerians must join hands to preserve it.
Represented by the Executive Secretary, FCDA, Mr Umar Jibrin, the minister said: “The dream of building the new Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was not realised without challenges.”
“These range from the rapid urbanization, infrastructure, funding, resettlement issues and others.”
“We are, however, making concerted effort to address this difficult aspect of building the FCT of our dream.
“I therefore invite all residents, and indeed, Nigerians to partner with us as we build a capital of our dreams.”
“Consequently, the need to develop more districts has become imperative. We are therefore tasked to fast track the provision of infrastructure and utilities, mostly on our own efforts and following the withdrawal of substantial funding from the Federal Government.
“To achieve this, the participation of the private sector as well as beneficiaries of plot allocations has become paramount,” he said.
According to the minister, the theme: ‘27 Years after the Movement: Impact and Challenges,’ was aptly chosen to provide an avenue for a constructive assessment of the journey so far.
Speaking also, the Executive Editor, Editorial Board, The Guardian Newspapers, Mr Martins Oloja, commended the FCT Administration for the 27 year anniversary of the formal movement to Abuja.
He stressed the need to pay proper tribute to all who contributed to making the Abuja dream a reality.
Oloja, especially commended the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), describing it as “The only institution known then, and deserves to be listed in Abuja’s ‘Hall of Fame’ for the pioneering effort.
“After all, in its 42 years of existence, buildings have been collapsing, but not one of FCDA’s organic buildings has collapsed,” he added.
He also paid glowing tributes to Justice Akinola Aguda and his team who recommended Abuja as the location for the new Capital and Abuja’s first Administrator of the FCT, Mr. Ajose Adeogun, among others.
The Director, FCT Archives and History Bureau, Ms Cerie Jogai, said plans were in place for an FCT Records Management Policy for the management of records in the various Secretariats, Departments and Agencies (SDAs). She prayed the minister will enforce the policy.
In a goodwill message, the Tanzanian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Muhidini Mboweto, said his country began the movement of the seat of government from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma in 1973.
“Only this year (2018) we moved some ministries to the new Capital while the office of the President is yet to move.”
“Lands have been allocated to the various embassies to erect their embassies and consulates,” she said.
He described the movement of Tanzania’s capital as a work in progress and Nigeria was a good sounding-board for his country’s movement plans.
Highlights of the events were discussions on the theme: ‘27 Years after the Movement: Impact and Challenges’ and a documentary on key players in the actual movement of the nation’s capital from Lagos to Abuja. (NAN)