We have in every December, the usual festive period or yuletide (Christmas), new year etc. All over the yuletide and for residents of Owerri, the Imo state capital since 1976, it has become a period of new decorative innovations and expectations since the second coming of the self-acclaimed Rescue Mission Governor, in the past two years. For instance in 2015, it was alleged that the government expended a huge sum of about N600 million in such frivolities as xmas decorations, funfare parties, carnivals and so on.
Then in 2016, the same government was alleged to have improved on its obviously uneconomic and anti-populist free spending by organizing political presidential parties for some notable personalities in the name of Christmas carols, cantata fireworks, bonfires, street dancing et cetera, to the tune of about of N840 Million at a time Imo workers were given a two weeks public holiday amidst hunger starvation and complaints.
The yuletide is here again and the government is busy with massive construction, re constructions, demolitions of a number of structures, edifices, commercial institutions and ventures instituting new laws, guidelines and conducts for residents of the state capital to the discomfiture of myriads of Imolites and visitors or passersby through the Owerri capital territory to please the eyes, glamour and joy, to the royal household with its pomp and pageantry flamboyant citadel at Spibat road, Owerri.
Residents of the capital city and visitors can attest to the fact that a new history is being recorded as a “new Nero” is being created and even canonized while the African city of Imo is on fire. The elder citizens recall Charles Dickens “tale of two citizens and the French revolution of 1978 alongside with the Otokoto saga of 1996. Yes the usual bird that sang at night and a person died the following morning is singing again.
Visit Owerri and see for yourself what the 2017 yuletide season will portend for greater Imolites. No wonder in anticipation the authorities have created the Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment or Couple Fulfillment as originally conceived because he knows the ugly predicament she has placed Imolites who are bound to witness a black yuletide having been deprived of all their sources or means of livelihood, sustained joy and happiness. How can a man live or survive when you take away all his means of livelihood? All markets in the state have been demolished; there are no artisans, no workers, no market women, no traders, no employment and now women are banned from giving to purchase food for their families. No means of traveling home to mix or mingle with their kiths and kins for the annual re-union.
Unfortunately transportation has been banned in the central city of Owerri. The only laud port linking the 27 LGAs and the major cities of the country except for Orlu. This urban renewal portends danger for Imolites to the joy of those who must reign by sucking the blood of the poor. Owerri capital city covers an area of 15KM radius encompassing over 45 satellite villages and towns in Owerri Municipal Owerri North and West as well as parts of Ikeduru and Mbaitoli. There are about a million people resident in these locations but the authorities have concentrated their activities and efforts at the hub centre of the old Owerri Nchi Ise invariably abandoned since the Ndubuisi Kanu administration in 1976.
The now notorious urban renewal is concentrated on Douglas, Orlu road, Okigwe road. No thoughts have been ever given nor consideration for those in the growing New Owerri, Aladinma Housing Estate, Prefab, Egbeada, Orji Uratta, Egbu, Emekuku, Amakohia, Irete, Obinze, Agbala, Naze, Nekede, Avu and so on where there are no roads, no means of communication, no means or markets, no public water supply, no power or any government presence, but high population density yet their residents have been banned from entering Owerri Nchi Ise, the hub of commercial activities at this period of the years when people are expected to be happy and thankful to God for surviving the turbulent times.
As a matter of fact the government has really created enough job for the new Ministry of Happiness as millions of Imolites and Imo returnees have been doomed to hardship, sad experiences, poverty, hunger, anger and black yuletide for 2017 having created new set of urchins, pick pockets, kidnappers and armed robbers and jobless youths all of who now take over the city centre at nights in other to survive courtesy of the Rescue Mission Government.
While we do not begrudge Governor Okorocha his resort and preference to invest like a spend thrift, we wish to remind him that for over six years of his administration, he has no single road, water, educational or industrial investments at World Bank Housing Estate, Amakohia, Ikenegbu or Aladinma. These are residential areas abandoned with dumps of refuse and bushes and wild life yet cannot allow the inhabitants to get to their various houses with keke since his new taxi cabs are restricted exclusively within his catchment areas of Douglas, Bank road, Wethral, Okigwe and government house roads and streets.