By Ibrahim Okone
In the wake of her appointment as Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has slowly but steadily blaized a trail of remarkable achievements within a relatively short period of less than two hundred days in office.
She has shown rare promise, indicating penetrating vision and a clear grasp of issues that will enable her discharge the various responsibilities of her office, despite teething challenges.
Tirelessly, she has embarked on a fact finding tour of all the six (6) Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, demonstrating a yearning to find out for herself the true position of things before her assumption of office as Minister of State.
In the course of these visits, she has come to grips with the stark realities on ground, especially in the areas of abandoned projects, neglect and the inadequacy of funds to fully prosecute many projects designed to serve the people, especially at the grassroots in the council areas.
Perhaps, it was in recognition of the importance of paying greater attention to the development of Satellite Towns in the Federal Capital Territory that prompted the respected Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, to advise the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mohammed Bello, to pay greater attention to decongesting the Abuja City Centre. He pointed out that if the Satellite Towns were well developed, there certainly would be less pressure on existing infrastructure at the Abuja City Centre.
It appears that even in her stride, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, has already commenced efforts to stamp her feet on the marble of history as a woman who utilized her office to make a profound difference in the lives of the people, especially the rural dwellers.
To underscore her commitment to serving the public good, she recently expressed concern over the alarming rate of urbanization in the country, a clear indication that she will vigorously pursue a programme of developing the Satellite Towns in the Federal Capital Territory.
Speaking at the 50th National Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners at Ibadan, Oyo State, recently, Dr. Ramatu, herself a Town Planner, lamented the high rate of the proportion of city dwellers, decrying a situation were a large population of the urban populace live in slums and squatter settlements without the basic necessities of life.
While noting that developing countries face greater urbanization challenges than developed nations, the President of the African Council of Political Parties, lamented the high rate of the population proportion of city dwellers and predicted that the proportion will most certainly rise by 50% in 2025.
It is in recognition of this reality that she has embarked on a number of initiatives that will help boost the standard of living of the people, especially those at the grassroots in the Area Councils.
In this regard, work has commenced on the rehabilitation of the Water Dam in Gwagwalada Area Council to enhance water supply in the area, just as the Kuje – Abuja road which had been in a sorry state is now being given a face lift. Similarly, rehabilitation work is on-going at the Health Center in Kado while the Maitama Power Distribution network is being strengthened.
In the health sector, the mother of two sons assured that the Federal Capital Territory Administration would embark on a novel and aggressive pursuit of a paradigm shift of its health care delivery programme.
While launching the FCT Health Insurance Scheme recently in Kuje Area Council, she hinted that the Health Care initiative will involve increasing access to good quality health services that will be aimed at achieving universal health coverage for all, especially mothers, children and employees of various area councils in the Federal Capital Territory.
She informed that under the Scheme, emphasis would shift from a “stand alone vertical supplemental health services provision to a more integrated approach that is dynamic, encompassing and community based”
Perhaps, it is based on her love for the advancement of humanity, that the outcome of the just concluded 3rd Edition of the African Women Conference (AWC) in Marakesh, Morroco, underscored her commitment to securing a better future for her fellow women in Africa.
A global women right’s advocate of the finest hue, the first elected APC National Woman Leader, at a continental meeting of leading African women in government, the academia and civil society, canvassed a novel process of forging greater women unity and inclusion in governance on the African continent.
In her estimation “Aside from the Affirmative Action principle, other processes should be explored making it mandatory on respective governments of African countries to set aside a certain percentage of the membership of their Cabinets for women”
“This could be for a specific period of time to enable the gender balance philosophy become internalized in the body polity of African countries”, she inferred.
With deep probing vision, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, further implored that “the constitutions of political parties in African countries should enforce the principle of Affirmative Action by putting in place institutional mechanisms at various levels of its organs that will set aside a percentage of elective positions for women”
This, she reasoned would “ensure that women have favourable access to nomination processes that will enable them contest elections into all elective offices”.
Perhaps, as the Buhari Administration sets sail on a steady climate, it is expected that public officers like Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu would consolidate on the lofty strides already initiated within a relatively short period she has been on the saddle as Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory.
Okone wrote in from Lokoja, Kogi State.