Celebrating Fashola at 57: The ‘BRF Way’ by Hakeem Bello

“BRF is a genius at breaking it down, laying it all out. When he goes on project tours, he stops to ask the artisans and food vendors on the site about how the project has touched or is touching their lives. And that’s what government communications should really be focusing on: telling and showing the actual impact / outcomes. Not just the contract sum (input) — which is what tends to make the headlines, the media love these numbers — but also the “stimulus” effect on ordinary people and communities and neighbourhoods.”

  • Tolu Ogunlesi, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital Communications, on “Lessons in/from public sector communication”

Right on the money.

The stories told by these Nigerians – Abu, Sunday and others during BRF’s tours, can fill a book, but much more than that, they tell a story: Impact.

In 2017, Mallam Abu, a labourer at the site of the Gombe State National Housing Programme, told Fashola that he had worked at the site for about eight months and had been able to pay the dowry of his new wife and they were expecting a baby.

In February, Sunday Echekwu, a mason at the site of the Anambra State National Housing Programme in Isiagu Community on the outskirts of Awka, the State Capital, told the minister he and his colleagues earned N4,500 daily for their labour at the site. Prior to getting the job, he said he was doing odd jobs here and there but idle most of the time. At the same site, Mrs. Isaiah Eberechukwu, a food vendor, told him that she supplied food to the workers on the site daily, including Sundays, at N250 a plate. Her husband, Mr. Eberechukwu was also a bricklayer at the site.

Again at the site of the Delta State National Housing Programme in Asaba, the State Capital, Emmanuel Ogochukwu who spoke glowingly of the Buhari administration for giving them a source of making a living through the NHP and other people oriented initiatives which, according to him, “is impacting positively on the population, especially the unemployed youths across the country”.

For Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, there’s really no going about it any other way.

On assuming office in November 2015, as Minister of Power, Works and Housing one of his first moves was to invite, in batches, the over 200 Federal Government contractors – many of whom had abandoned their projects for lack of payment – for a chat. The outcome of those meetings was the re-mobilisation back to sites of the contractors, leading to the recall of over 750, 000 workers. Effect: resuscitation of the economy. As many got their jobs back, so did suppliers of materials as well as providers of food and drinks on the various sites; not to forget compensations to people whose lands were acquired to make way for roads’ construction.

Of course, while doing these, the eyes of this football-loving minister are firmly on the ball.

Currently, for him, it is work for the delivery of President Buhari’s Mandate of using infrastructure to transform Nigeria’s economy and lift millions out of poverty. Those millions would include Peter, the Painter met by the Hon. Minister at the site of the National Housing Programme(NHP) in 2019; Mrs Folake Emmanuel the Food Vendor at the site of the NHP in Oyo State and her husband, Mr Emmanuel, whose hitherto idle concrete mixer roared into action at the site fetching N20,000 daily ; Rilwan Adamu from the NHP site in Jalingo ; Fidelis the Carpenter at the NHP site in Gwagwalada , FCT ; and Engr. Obosi , the enthusiastic youth met at the site of the NHP in Ikot Ntuen /Affa Nsit , Uyo , Akwa Ibom State among so many others.

And he is on the way.

For example, out of the 643-kilometre SUKUK-funded roads which the President wants finished, a total of 411.96 kilometres have been completed from February 2019 to date.

As at February 2020, all the piling works of the 2nd Niger Bridge project had been completed while the deck is being launched and the approach roads to the bridge from Asaba and Onitsha are simultaneously being constructed. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

In the Housing Sector, the Ministry has delivered a significant number of houses through the National Housing Programme and in collaboration with its parastatals – the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), as well as by synchronising the deliverables of the Ministry and its parastatal with those of the Public Private Partnerships.

FMBN alone completed 43 Housing projects between 2015 and 2019, delivering a total of 5, 542 housing units while currently implementing 15 projects that will deliver 581 housing units when completed. The bank also issued 5, 301 mortgages totaling N38.2 billion within the period while in the last one year up to May 2020, 331 mortgages totaling N2.9 billion have been issued. It is supposed to do more with the National Cooperatives Housing Partnerships. It also granted Home

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