Editorial: Economic warfare through mass demolition/urban renewal

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The present Rescue Mission Administration in Imo state has about 18 months more to come to the end of the lathers of its eight years of two consecutive tenures and the type and spate of demolition, destruction, deprivation, hardship and deliberate economic warfare or attack unleashed against the people in the name of mass urban/rural renewal and the conditions of millions of upper and lower classes of Imolites can only be captured in the biblical expression in Matthew chapter 2: 18, in Rama was there a voice heard lamenting and weeping and great mourning, Rachael weeping for her children and would not be comforted because they are not crying over their children.

Many political opponents of this administration in various write ups have described the state as a massive construction site which has left millions of the citizens of the state whose means of livelihood have been forcefully taken away, demolished or destroyed to become overnight beggars to jobless residents going cap in hands begging for what to eat. While this column is not opposed or against road reconstruction, mass urban renewal of the three major provincial cities and eight designated new mega cities and over 169 international trading centres but it is worried over the mass economic woes without alternative means in which the downtrodden are being thrown into or subjected to poverty at this austere time in a state which major means of livelihood of citizens are business and commercial enterprise but which are systematically being destroyed.
We agree with the authorities that “you have to break the egg to make an omelet” but we also believe that one step at a time or slow and steady even wins the race. We admit the state has good intentions but is in a hurry to transform the state into Constantinople Rome, Dubai, Singapore, New York, London and Paris, but we must understand that these cities were not built in one decade of one political administration. Rome they often say, was not built in a day. Our Governor must thread softly and slowly if he must win the race. He should simply do his bit within the period allotted to him and move one. The state is never his fathers farm yard.
We have once opined that “no good general or commander opens too many warfronts at a time”, unless he is on a sabotage, espionage and suicide mission. Imagine that out of over 1000 categories of urban and rural roads opened and began since 2012 in the state none has been completed, commissioned and made motorable. The state of all the roads in Imo is so deplorable that there is no single road into the city capital that can be credited to Okorocha, a situation that attracted the sympathy and lamentations of visiting Northern Governors. One wonders how many of the 405 hurriedly prefabricated twin school buildings scattered over the state are in use and how many citizens are making use of the 27 modern general hospitals built a few years ago except for the wild animals, rodents, and reptiles.
Sometime it was an attack on civil/public servants and their institutions, then the different political opponents and their properties and holding them to ransom, the health sector, the feeble retired pensioners who were directed to either rear their own ofsprings to cater for them at old age or carry their mats to the grave yards. This programme was followed by the destruction and demolition of various artisans, satellite villages or communities in the capital cities whose alternative locations will not be ready by the years 2020 and over 30,000 men and their families subjected to frustration, joblessness, hunger and systematic or untimely deaths.
Then come the approved removal of illegal structures and shanty shelters which began even in the last administration. However, the most alarming, touching and devastating is the wanton demolition of well-thought out, designed and planned and professionally constructed commercial centres of the capital city and erosion or intrusion into the backyards trading centres of the rural communities in the name of rural/urban renewal. Government agents, cohorts and accomplice seem to be using the opportunities to unleash vendetta, acquire land and mass wealth and show of power at the detriment of the masses. What are the reasons or rationale for these mass demolitions of infrastructures and destruction of the people’s means of livelihood without creating alternative avenues. Is it not tantamount to beating a child and asking him not to cry.
We advocate that government prepares, equips and allocates or sell new markets, stalls or shopping malls before demolishing the existing ones. Nature abhors a vacuum. These harmless Imolite victims may one day walk and dare forces of death in the face for “he that is down needs fear no fall”. The talakawees now being pushed to the wall by Cohorts could retaliate so take precaution. There is no manufacturing company or industry or research centre in Imo and all the peoples means of existence are being diverted. Nakwa echeki. Etinye ya oso ocha.
Remember the Nigeria civil strike that economic blockade and starvation were applied as major instrument for war. The recent ban on the use of tricycles and buses is a form of apartheid, which Nigeria fought hard to abrogate.


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