The year 2020 has been, for lack of truer words, nothing like we expected. This was supposed to be a crest period of the 21st Century, with age-old policies and reforms finally coming together to birth a proverbial confluence of milk and honey. Only the most radical optimists still hold on to this temporal utopia, and it appears that one of them—Senator Gbenga Ashafa—is positively building momentum.
Ever since his appointment as the MD/CEO of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Senator Gbenga has been a cynosure of hearsay, a root of bated breath, and a figure of quiet hope.
While past administrations and administrators have not been terribly bad at pulling off the objectives of the FHA, it hasn’t been a slice of heaven. Because Ashafa is an unapologetic reformer and change agent, his stepping in to handle matters at FHA has been very well received. With recent developments, it doesn’t look like Ashafa intends to disappoint.
The opening move of Ashafa was the reshuffling and restructuring of key management staff under the Business Development and Finance directorates. This was accompanied by the reexamination of several housing schemes and construction sites, with particular emphasis on those under development within the Federal Capital Territory and the South-West.
Next, the management team under the supervision and instruction of Senator Ashafa went to great lengths to team up with allied bureaus within the Federal and State government levels, as well as several financial institutions, such as Federal Mortgage Bank, and the Family Homes Fund. One of the more visible results of these endeavours is the government’s proposal to avail 300,000 affordable housing units, using direct and indigenous labour, across the country—on an annual basis. In other words, Nigerians will get to build these houses and get paid for their work.
Since its establishment in 1973, with the driving objective of providing affordable public housing for Nigerians, the boat of the FHA has never been rocked in this fashion. Within 60 days of his appointment, Senator Gbenga Ashafa has facilitated commendable liaison between his charge and the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Budget Office, the leadership of the National Assembly, and privately-owned organisations.
At the moment, Ashafa’s FHA will reportedly close the year 2020 with the completion of over 700 housing units in Lugbe, Abuja, with several others —in Benue, Cross River, Ibadan, Owerri, Kaduna, Bayelsa States, etc., —in view.
Who knows, 2020 might yet be a model year, with working optimists like Senator Gbenga Ashafa at the helm of affairs?