It will amount to understatement to say that the Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Christopher Zakka Maikalangu had a smooth ride to power. Although, his party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the February 13, 2022 in AMAC, with him as their candidate, but the journey to sitting pretty on the seat as Chairman was at best, tempestuous. Like a hero character in a movie, Maikalangu overcame his adversaries on his journey to reclaiming the mandate that was freely given to him by Nigerians in AMAC.
More than nine hundred days after effectively taken-over power in AMAC, has Maikalangu lived up to expectation in the Council? He, Maikalangu effectively assumed office on June 14, 2022 when the storm (effort to remove him from office unconstitutionally) was brought under control. Many watchers of event in AMAC were of the view that the first thing he will do after defeating his internal and external opponents, was to embark on revenge mission, which an average Nigerian politician in this circumstance will go for. That was not be, rather, Maikalangu toe the line of reconciliation and forgiveness, to the surprise of many in AMAC. That wise step by Maikalangu has brought a lot of peace and harmony in AMAC. That singular gesture by Maikalangu has ensured the loyalty and cooperation of all stakeholders in the council to his administration.
Has Maikalangu lived up to expectation in terms of delivery of democracy dividend in the Council so far? This question can be answered by assessing his stewardship in the Council in last ten (10) months as the Chairman. To this writer, ten months is too short a time to make informed assessment of a public office holder, but it is also a good time to take stock of what the impact of the foundation he is laying now in the council will be in the next three years. By taking stock of the trajectory of his government activity in many sectors now, will give inkling into what the next three years will be. One thing stands out Maikalangu’s Council, and that is continuing with the projects and programmes started by his predecessor. Worthy of note here is the completion of Radio AMAC in Karshi.
This writer thinks Maikalangu is acting through to the promise he made to be the servant of all in AMAC. With special reference to AMAC Marshal that was formed in 2016 to provide security in AMAC. It appears immediately after the inauguration of the security outfit, it was left in the lurch. The information at my disposal, indicate that Maikalangu-led administration has paid the backlog of salary owed the security outfit. Report on March 13, 2023 has it that three months salary arrears was paid by the Chairman, Maikalangu. After the payment, this is what elated AMAC Marshal General, Kashim Isiaku Karshi has to say while commending the Chairman for the settlement of some salary arrears, he, Karshi praised the Chairman for making available funds for the renewal of Marshal’s operating license for this year, to enable it operate. This is his words: “I appreciate the effort of the new AMAC Chairman, Hon. Christopher Maikalangu for paying AMAC Marshal three months out of the several months we are left behind. “I also want to call his attention and other AMAC stakeholders to see AMAC Marshal as an AMAC project. It is non-religious, non-tribal and non-political. After service, we are now home to take responsibility of our communities security-wise”.
Knowing the role private sector play in governance generally, the Chairman was quick to commend the effort of Blake Resort owner over 100 scholarship support. It will be recalled that not too long ago, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Abuja foremost home of night club and entertainment, Blake Resort, Mr. Uzochukwu Akunedozi awarded 100 indigene full scholarships on his birthday. What made the scholarship very unique is that it targeted the children of widows in the council. That was probably why the Chairman was full of gratitude to Akunedozi for “remembering the suffering widows in the FCT and for his declaration to further reduce their burdens by awarding full scholarship to 100 fatherless children of the widows”.
Still on educational related matter, according to report, on March 29, 2023, Hon Christopher Zakka Maikalangu, led a delegation of AMAC staff on a courtesy visit to the University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abdul-Raheed N’Allah where he called on the administration of the University of Abuja (UniAbuja), to consider giving more admission opportunities to indigenes of AMAC. Speaking during the visit, Maikalangu said he desires to collaborate with the citadel of learning in sports development.
He said the council spent N2.8m to acquire footballs, trophies for first and second-position winners, and tracksuits, among other sports items, which he intended to donate to the university to sponsor an inter-faculty competition for students.
Further, he said: “I have earmarked funds for sports competitions at the university. I want to sponsor the faculty inter-faculty sports competition. It will be known as the Abdul-Raheed N’Allah and Maikalangu inter-faculty sports competition. We want the university to have the best sports team. Therefore, we came up with sports items for the university. “Also, I want to plead for more admission slots for our indigenes. It is disheartening that our people often travel to Sokoto and other faraway states in search of admission. This is because it’s assumed that admission is easy there, whereas we have a university here.
The last ten (10) months trajectory in AMAC under Christopher Zakka Maikalangu’s leadership is also being felt in Agricultural sector. It is no more news that The Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), recently flagged off the 2023 farming season in the Council, with the title “Agricultural Revolution Starts Now”. Speaking during the flag-off, he said: “It is indeed my pleasure to address you today at the ceremonial flag-off of the 2023 farming season titled “Agricultural revolution starts now” in Abuja Municipal Area Council to signal the commencement of agricultural events and practices. “While this is a gentle reminder for all citizens of the council to embrace farming as a lasting solution to end food scarcity in the entire Council, this event also shows my administration’s commitment to meeting with my campaign promises of reducing the biting hardships experienced by my people, especially at the rural communities.
Now that it appears Maikalangu’s AMAC priorities Agriculture and Education first, this writer will also like him to accord Tourism and Environmental development priority as well. If the tourism potential of AMAC is well developed, it will certainly generate more revenue to the council. Another area which is worth looking into is the Health sector, particularly from wellness perspective. Health center in the twelve wards that make up AMAC should be given greater attention. Wellness centers should be erected side by side with the Health centers across the 12 wards in the Council. The wellness centre should be saddled with Physical Exercise regime. It will have full complement of gymnastics section and dietary section, with qualified dietician in charge. It has been discovered that sedentary life without workout, kills more that sickness. Our choices of food too, play a lot of role in maintaining healthy life. As a result this, the Chairman is advised to set a specific day aside, every month for what this writer calls WELLNESS WALK DAY. On this day, the Chairman will lead AMAC staff on a between 3 to 5 kilometers walk within the municipality. The Chairman may be rotating this wellness walk among the 12 wards that make up AMAC. This is to give every ward sense of belonging and foster sense of inclusiveness.
Finally, AMAC under Maikalangu has done well in terms of ensuring relative peace in the council. The complaints of harassment of motorists by ticket collectors, both fake and genuine ones have reduced tremendously. By this, the revenue profile of AMAC should have improved. It is expected that by the curve of the first year of Hon. Chairman’s tenure in office, tangible physical structures will be littering the twelve wards in AMAC.
Information Management Consultant and Researcher.
Wrote in from Abuja.
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