I was bus conductor, wheelbarrow pusher, labourer -AMAC Chairman


…Wike is bumper gift to FCT, he says

Hon. Christopher Zakka Maikalangu is the Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). In this interview with our Correspondent, NNAH DOUGLAS, Maikalangu bared his mind on his humble beginning, achievements in office so far and challenges in less than one year.

He also gave his views on the appointment of the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, as Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and more. Excerpt:

Congratulations on the recent groundbreaking of the Mabushi access road. We also gathered that in less than one year in office many communities under AMAC have been enjoying dividends of democracy.

Before I decided to run for AMAC Chairman, I was on my own when our youths appealed that I should run for this position, with the intention of bringing hope to residents of the Council as a result ofthe sufferings and economic hardship in the land.

To be sincere, I had no prior intention of joining politics. I joined the race because of my people, to rescue them from abject poverty, lack of infrastructure,
and to give their lives meaning.

As you are aware, in AMAC, we have many communities, and when you go round, you will see that my people are really suffering; especially when it rains, motorists can hardly access many communities due to the deplorable state of the roads, as
if it’s not the same Abuja.

But all that is about to change now. I have made it clear and vowed that through my leadership, my people will enjoy 80% of the dividends of democracy, especially those communities located outside the City Centre. I am talking about typical rural areas. For instance, when you go to Wumba community in Apo, the moment it rains, residents hardly move out that day.

But as we speak, our administration has transformed the community in no small
measure. The Wike-led FCT administration is also making things easier for us
and needs to be commended. President Bola Tinubu has earlier said he came
with a renewed hope, and we are confident in the fact that Nigerians will benefit greatly from the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

When you also see and feel dividends of democracy, it’s also part of the Renewed Hope programme of this Government.

Therefore, people should be rest assured that they will surely benefit from
different development programmes of AMAC, by the special grace of God.

Again, I want to call on our people to protect and preserve public
infrastructure and equipment in their various communities.

Don’t wait for government to employ security who will guide them for you. In as much as my administration has provided you with basic amenities, then it becomes your duty to protect them. If you bring negative stories that the transformer I bought for you was stolen, you don’t expect me to buy another one because there are communities who are yet to benefit.

As a community, it is your duty and responsibility to protect the primary healthcare in your domain. I will also encourage my people to learn skills, even while in school or as a graduate. Don’t just sit at home believing Maikalangu will provide jobs for you.

As we speak, we have many graduates seeking employment in FCT, every community in FCT, no matter how small, has graduates who are still searching for jobs. In my house alone, there are over 6000 job applications, I don’t even know where to begin from, but I try as much as I can to get them employment slots where there are vacancies.

Please, my fellow youths, try to learn skills and even business for a better tomorrow. While growing up, I ventured into different odd but legitimate jobs. I have been a bus conductor for years. I can still recall how I used to call passengers those years: “Area 1, 2, 10. Suleja, Madalla, Zuba!” I will never forget. I was a barrow pusher, operated in Monday market, I have done ‘lebra’ (labourer, bricklayer’s assistant) work. I graduated from travelling to Lagos to buy electronics and sell in Abuja. I have done disc jockey (DJ) in the past, where I collect money to play in people’s events.

I operated a cinema viewing centre and other jobs –all in a bid to survive. If you are one of those unemployed people sitting and waiting for the government to provide you with job, the bitter truth is that you will wait for a long, long time. Do you even know the number of graduates in Nigeria today?

Even as you go to school, don’t forget to learn trade, skills, as it will afford you a plan B alternative, in case there’s no white collar job for you.

How does the Council under your leadership support education of indigenous people?

As a way of supporting education, it might interest you to note that just recently, we doled out scholarship programme worth N30 million. The truth of the matter is that we are very many in AMAC; you can’t compare other Councils with it, because AMAC is larger than what you think. Only Gwagwa alone commands over 20 communities, Gwarinpa has over 24 villages.

So, we support them with the little resources available. Our scholarship package is different to what obtained in the past. We are about to introduce a different scholarship strategy where we select two beneficiaries from each ward and send them on abroad scholarship where they will go and learn both professional and technical courses that will benefit the Council as well as the country when they come back after graduation.

We want to discourage the yearly ‘copy and paste’ approach where people receive stipends, where some of them will take the money to a pepper soup joint and squander it.

The little time I spent in your office, , I observed that you barely rest, always attending to people’s needs. Is this what happens here every week day? Won’t you break down?

My brother, I run an open door policy. This is Local Government and the seat I occupy is the people’s seat and this is the only avenue people can reach out to the Chairman directly. If you come to my house, you can hardly see me because of the population waiting to see me for various purposes.

The only government person they can feel or touch is the Chairman, who is authorized to go to the Villa, or can someone just wake up from Mararaba or coming from Karmo or even Karshi to think of saying you want to go and visit President Tinubu; who are you? Or to see our Honourable Ministers?

You will be bounced back by the security operatives. The Chairman or Councilors remain the closest they can have access to, and that was what you saw in my office. Didn’t you see many more people outside my office waiting to see me? But the fact is that they just have to be patient with me.

The crux of the matter is, I must attend to all of them because they made me their Chairman through their votes, and I have vowed to serve them wholeheartedly. The fact remains that, as a Chairman who’s true to himself, you cannot run away from the crowd.

At the groundbreaking event in Mabushi, one of the APC chieftain was commending your impact in various communities and you are of the PDP. Some people will say it is rare for an opposition party to hail a ruling government . Did it come to you as a surprise?

That you see APC happy with my performance in less than one year is not magic. We should understand that during elections, parties fight;but after elections comes governance.

Now is time for governance, and any project by my administration is not party project but for the benefit of all. When completed, it’s not only PDP that will walk on the road, even your enemies will benefit from the project. If we focus on party alone, you will hardly carry people along; anything you do, be inclusive of all.

The people should come first before your party. The excitement by the APC at the groundbreaking of Mabushi access road project happened on the basis of performance and I give God all the glory. I frown at politicians who carry along only their party members. My Bible has commanded me to even love my enemies.

AMAC is in the heart of the City Centre, how cordial is the relationship between you and the FCT minister, Nyesom Woke?

The working relationship between me and the Wike-led FCT Administration (FCTA) is very cordial. His Excellency Nyesom Wike and his Minister of State for FCT are very active Ministers. They are simply wonderful. You will agree with me that since their appointment, things are taking a new shape in FCT.

Believe it or not, under Wike, in two years, FCT will experience massive infrastructural transformation, In fact, the song FCT will be singing now is ‘Wike! Wike!! Wike!!’ I want to specially thank Mr. President for sending Wike to Abuja to serve; he is a gift from Mr. President.

I also sensed that President Tinubu was strategic in bringing Wike to Abuja; he is a strategist, and that is why I love Tinubu and feel very excited each time I see him on national television attending to official duties.

President Tinubu is always on point and I pray that God should grant him good health, strength and energy as well as long life to continue to pilot the affairs of Nigeria. People like Asiwaju do not need our money; hehas everything that money can buy, the only thing remaining for him to achieve was to become the country’s President.

That was the reason he said ’emi lokan’ (It’s my turn) to become President of Nigeria. Again, the reason why I have great confidence in the capacity of Wike to deliver is that most abandoned projects in FCT that dates back to IBB days (1985-1993) are now back to life; contractors are now back to sites.

Have you been to the former SARS office, to the Gudu Cemetery area, in Abuja lately?

You will see over 30 heavy-duty vehicles working. This is the first time I am seeing this level of commitment in FCT by an administration. In fact, Wike needs to be applauded. Before now, you will see only two caterpillars and one tipper working sluggishly, but right now, and under Wike, FCT is now a construction site: building material traders are happy, those in quarry business are jubilating, our youths are dancing, the atmosphere in Abuja shows that a new Sheriff is in town.

But when nothing is happening, everywhere will look dull and dormant. I am happy that God has given us Wike. My appeal goes to the people resident in FCT to give Wike-led administration the needed support and you will see the wonders of this man. As it stands right now, I have 100% confidence in his ability to perform. He is always in our prayers.

The indigenous people of FCT cannot quantify the measure of happiness in our hearts over recent developments in the nation’s capital. As for me, the Executive Chairman of AMAC, Hon. Christopher Zakka Maikalangu, I am going to give Wike one million per cent support.

We will guide Wike to succeed in this town; we run things because this is our domain, he has nothing to worry about. The Tinubu-led administration has given marching orders for rapid development of rural communities in FCT and very soon, we will all be glad we did.

culled from Daily Times

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