For Senator Gbenga Ashafa, it was a familiar terrain after the appointment as the Managing Director/Chief Executive officer, Federal Housing Authority FHA, in August, 2020, having served in other similar capacities at the cosmopolitan Lagos state, both as a technocrat and a political appointee.
With his exposure both in politics, administration and management, Ashafa’s appointment at the thick period of global pandemic of COVID-19 was another opportunity to prove his mettle known for, over the decades.
Having met a moribund organisation living on its past glory after it’s existence for over four decades, it desire alot of wisdom and combined skills of management like Senator Gbenga Ashafa, to turn around the organization.
With his appointment purely on merit, no doubt he quickly turned the immediate challenges to opportunities to move the agency not only forward, but to a modern, modest and model status.
With a highly demoralized staffs yearning for promotion for over twenty years on his assumption of duty, against the lay down procedures of four years elevation in the civil service, arears of promotion, dilapidated working tools and non payment of on the job emoluments, with core mandate usurped through interferences from other organs of government, along with problems of understaffed and low productivity, Ashafa quickly settled down to address the critical issues.
He quickly addressed the sluggish adminsrative procedures and process the agency was known for over the years , by ensuring official communication and engagements does not exceed 24 hours, to attract attention and offset not only arears of promotions, but financial implications attached to it.
Senator Ashafa without further delay, instituted a legacy of seamless operations and promotions in line with the act setting up the agency, by providing employments to Nigerians at a time both local and international economies were battling with survival and resulted in high job losses.
After due recruitment and engagement of new staffs, Ashafa replaced the unserviceable working tools both in the offices across board and vehicles to ensure ease of carrying out it’s supervisory and official functions in the organization.
Owing to high level industrial harmony and revolution, he promoted and also paved way to staffs who are due for retirement properly disengaged that provided upward movements, and on the job motivation across the agency.
He provided an enabling environment to revert to strict job supervision by various departments and professionals in the organization, that led to a departure of construction of shoddy structures, an indicator of administrative lapses, and construction and rehabilitation of roads across it’s estates in the country.
Aside embarking on land reclamation policy, he fought land grabbers to a standstill, who had made fortunes over the years with encroachment on its lands and properties, and without further delay, automated the process of land allocations in the Federal Housing Authority FHA.
In line with it’s mandate, Senator Gbenga Ashafa embarked on enumeration of government estates across the country including their status, as well as embarked on completion of ongoing mass housing projects in Zuba and across the country.
The construction of houses directly and through partnerships was encouraged,to provide mass housing to all cadre of Nigerians across all strata, through mortgages and National Housing Fund NHF.
In his bid to continue to unite Nigerians through mass housing, Ashafa completed and commissioned the 764 units Zuba Housing Estate with all required facilities in the new complex, including the rent to own arrangements for junior workers, business class and artisans across the country.
The 18.5 hectares of land occupying the 764 units at Zuba FHA estate was already over subscribed, that led to the commencement of Bwari Housing estate near the Law School in Abuja, consisting of one two and three bedroom terrace.
The 51 hectares first phase Federal Housing Authority FHA estate located at Kuchiko in Bwari area council is expected to construct over 2,000 housing units, as the initial first phase and second phase will debut subsequently in the same location to provide affordable houses to both the civil servants, middle and high class Nigerians.
The new estate in Bwari consisting of one, two, three bedroom terrace is expected to resolve the biting accommodation problems around the nation’s city.
The ongoing project due for commissioning in the first quarter of 2024 will open up the area both for commercial engagements among many other activities.
He had embarked on partnerships arrangements with the construction of new estate at Lugbe codenamed Express View Estate with it’s location directly opposite the express way, linking the Federal Capital city centre, Abuja.
The Express View Estate in partnerships with two major partners will reduce the congestion on it’s estate at Federal Housing in Lugbe area, were it’s first phase estate was the first of it’s kind in Abuja.
The current management under the leadership of Senator Gbenga Ashafa had secured a land to construct a Smart City in Abuja, with 11 kilometers drive from the city centre located at Kabuso Shishipe area of Maitama , Abuja.
The 750 hectares of land which compensation is being paid will be located on a hilly area of the nation’s city with access road through Mpape, and Mogadishu Barracks at Asokoro, after an extensive discussion with the Federal Capital Territory Administration. (FCTA).
The Smart City when constructed will bring to it’s knees all categories of housing related matters, within the nation’s capital and city centre.
To mark it’s golden jubilee celebration, the Federal Housing Authority had embarked on a ground breaking ceremony on a a 200 hectares second phase Lugbe Federal Housing Authority Estate, located at Mbora District for the construction of 7,000 Unit estate in partnerships with NUGA Best International and Regis Integrated Services Partnership held recently in Abuja.
The new estate when completed will provide all necessary facilities, including economic, social and other related activities.
Senator Ashafa led administration in Federal Housing Authority FHA had also embarked on construction of estates in the south west states of Oyo, Ondo , Osun, Ekiti and the cosmopolitan Lagos state desiring expansion of it’s existing estates.
In the South East, Enugu, Anambara, Ebonyi, Imo and the South South including Rivers , Cross Rivers, Akwa ibom, Edo and Delta state in the offing.
Alot of achievements have been made in the provision of houses by FHA at the North Central, North West and North East geared towards providing and uniting Nigerians through Housing.
The new reinvigorated policy of embarking on construction and rehabilitation of roads across it’s estates was been upgraded, with the completion of rehabilitation works on its estate road in Gwarimpa, Lugbe , and the intentions to continue in that regard across it’s estates in the country.
With his determination to take the agency to greater heights, no doubt , Senator Gbenga Ashafa will address and reduce to the barest minimum critical housing deficit in Nigeria, towards 2020-2030 decades of action by SDGs
Yusuf is A Public Affairs Analyst,writes from Abuja on: [email protected].