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Gov. Mbah, Enugu Central Terminal and Armchair Criticisms


By Samson Ezea 

Expectedly and naturally whenever any government comes up with any developmental policy, programme or project that will benefit the people at a longrun, there will always be criticisms, oppositions and sabotage, not because the project or programme is not good, needed and enduring, but simply because human beings are always averse to change and beneficiaries of status quo do not like to be dislodged. 

   They will always prefer the status quo to remain without considering or minding what the majority are suffering or facing because of their chaotic and nuisance activities. That is human being for you, especially in our own clime, where an average human being is selfish, insatiable, greedy, fastidious, narcissistic, and materialistic. 

   It is for this obvious and preposterous reasons that some people instead of celebrating, defending and sharing the cheering and good news of Governor Peter Mbah administration’s embarking on the construction of massive 2 in one gigantic Enugu Central Terminal Project that is even a better version of the popular Lagos-Oshodi Transportation Interchange, they are already criticising, condemning and misinforming people about it on social media platforms for pecuniary and selfish reasons, forgetting that the Enugu Central Terminal will redefine the transportation system of Enugu, give the state a  face-lift, create employment opportunities and reduce crime. 

   According to available information about the Terminal Project, it will be constructed by Planet Projects, the company that handled the Oshodi Interchange. When completed, it will serve as a major transportation hub with a dual terminal that will be seamlessly linked for both Inter-State and Intra-state travel,the existing rail line, massive adjoining link roads, a major hub for commercial activities and a natural clean oxygenated air and green environment with the ambience of cities abroad.

  The project will be located within the Okpara Avenue and Market Road intersection of Enugu town and to be started and completed in 12 months.

     It is of note that being 

 a considerate government with a human face, Governor Peter Mbah and the State Commissioner For Transport,  Hon. Obi Ozor had before now began an intensive stakeholder consultation and engagement with people who have existing businesses within the area, with the intention of temporarily relocating them to another location while the construction lasts. Once completed, the businesses and other transport and logistics companies in the axis will now move into the ultra-Modern Enugu Central Terminal that will also serve as a major hub for a properly planned Mass Transit Station with Modular terminals at Garki, Abakpa and Nsukka.

  What a developmental, enduring, progenital, and signature project that is long overdue. The project will reposition, salvage, and sanitise that axis of the state that had been a nuisance, shame, and eyesore. 

     Perusing through my elderly Facebook friend Chief Omife I Omife, Mbazu Mbaukwu's emotional and armchair criticism of the project on his Facebook wall with the title " His Excellency, Governor Mbah I don't What you, your boys  are doing" I was disappointed and baffled, because eventhough Omife is entitled to his opinion, I didn't expect such jaundiced and baseless write up from him, considering his age and exposure and for the fact that some people look unto him as a writer and public opinion moulder.

   I had wanted to engage him on his Facebook wall, but later decided to pen this write-up for public consumption and knowledge sharing. As a young man who arrived Lagos in search of greener pasture in the early 2000s, my experience on alighting from a bus at the notorious Oshodi market and park around 7pm was better imagined than experienced, despite being warned earlier about the notoriety of criminals and their activities in Oshodi.

    Apart from the nauseating traffic snarl that started from Gbagada axis and lasted for over five hours for a journey that shouldn't have last for twenty minutes, I was robbed of my phone and money immediately I alighted from a bus in Oshodi by 7pm. That was before my relative who was coming from Mushin to pick me could arrive Oshodi. Later, one of the boys who robbed later came to sympathise with me. 

   Because I had my relative's phone number offhand, I used the phone of the criminal turned sympathiser to link up with my relation. Living in Lagos for over a decade now, I have listened to people's different sad tales and experience at Oshodi before it was demolished and modernized as a terminal of global standard.

  I was quite aware as a journalist with The Guardian Newspaper Lagos that before the commencement of the demolition and modernisation of Oshodi markets and parks by the then Governor of Lagos,  Barr. Raji Babatunde Fashola, which was later completed and commissioned by his successor, Mr. Akinwummi Ambode,  several moves and efforts by successive governments in Lagos to embark on the project were frustrated and thwarted by those who were benefitting from the mess and had wanted to continue to benefit at the expense of majority of Lagosians.

  I was privileged and lucky to be part of The Guardian Newspaper editorial team that went to interview the then Governor Fashola on the demolition and modernisation of Oshodi immediately the project took off.

   When Fashola was asked how was it possible for him to demolish Oshodi in the face of stiff oppositions, resistance, condemnations and criticisms, Fashola said: "After due consultations and engagements with  the affected stakeholders and leadership of markets and transport unions, I discovered that they were not forthcoming and ready for the modernisation of Oshodi, I have to be proactive, assertive and decisive by ordering for the immediate commencement of demolition of Oshodi without further delay. 

  "The day caterpillars and bulldozers moved in with security operatives and commenced work, calls and messages were coming into my phones from who is who in Lagos and beyond pestering and pleading with me to halt the demolition, but I refused to pick or reply until after the demolition and removal of debris was completed."

   He continued: "If I didn't take such decisive, bold, and assertive step, the beneficiaries of the nefarious activities at Oshodi will not allow the demolition to be carried out."

    Today, the Oshodi Interchange is the best and of international standard. It has created jobs, reduced crime, traffic snarl, and disorderlines in that axis. Those who initially opposed or criticized are enjoying it.

   Back to Enugu State, where Governor Mbah is about to embark on the construction of Enugu Central Terminal, he deserves the support and accolades of everyone who means well for Enugu State and its residents. The chaotic situation at the Holyghost axis due to the unwholesome activities of transport owners, agberos and traders is irritating cum disturbing and requires urgent attention and intervention by government. That successive governments in Enugu allowed the situation does not make it right, normal and acceptable. 

    The number of transport owners, traders and agberos in the affected areas are not more the number of Enugu indigenes and residents that often suffer and experience untold hardships and stress in the area. Enugu being the headquarters of the old Eastern region deserves something more organized, beautiful and befitting than what it presently has around Holyghost axis in the name of motor parks. 

   It is interesting and good to know that Governor Mbah  has during the engagements and consultations with affected stakeholders in the area assured them that they will be considered and accommodated after the completion of the Terminal. 

     With this promise and assurance from walk- the- talk Governor and his government, why are some social media trumpeters and montebanks drinking paracetamol for other person's headache by peddling falsehood and lies on social media platforms ahead of its commencement. What is their motive? Who are they working for? Where lies their conscience, altruism, and patriotism? 

   Just like Fashola, Governor Mbah should not be deterred or perturbed by the social media misyarnings and rantings of some hired urchins, meddlesome interlopers and fifth columnists, masquerading as public affairs analysts,  journalists and public opinion moulders, writing and talking bunkum about the well-concieved and people-oriented project that will change the face of Enugu metropolis, benefit the residents, transport owners and traders on the longrun and contribute immensely to the economic growth of the state.

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