By Mazi Omife I. Omife
Mbuze Mbaukwu

The day you assumed office as governor, you made a number of promises.

You promised us water.
We have seen the water you promised us.

You promised us security.
We are seeing the security you promised us.

You promised us a flyover at Eke Obinagu.
We are seeing the signs.

But there is this one where we don’t understand you, sorry, your Commissioner.

We Igbos at home have been asking our Igbo brothers and sisters whose businesses are being destroyed everyday in Lagos and Abuja to relocate their businesses to Igbo land where they can be safe.

At the same time you, sorry, your Commissioner is destroying the business of fellow Igbos here in Igbo land?

I know your Excellency understands the contradiction here. But your boys don’t seem to.

The way you, sorry your boys are going, where is the confidence and motivation for our Igbo brothers in Lagos or Abuja to relocate to Igbo land?

You, sorry, your boys are telling us that this bizarre development in Enugu capital city is the result of new development ideas imported from Dubai and Singapore.
What makes you, sorry, your boys think that they have to destroy over 50 years old business establishments f fellow Igbos, worth billions of naira in order to establish another version of transport business – the so-called Transport Infrastructure Project, all in the name of innovation.

Is this not a typical venture of robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Does it not mean anything to you, sorry your boys, that all those transport company buildings located from Chris Chemists round about through Red Cross Railway crossing down to Holy Ghost railway track further to Osisatech, numbering over 30 transport companies should be destroyed in one swoop?

Does it not touch your boys that the affected transport companies have over 20 persons each in their employ who have families and other dependents and the terrible adverse economic multiplier effect destroying their means of livelihood.

Does it not touch you, sorry your boys, to order the closure of these multi-billion naira businesses belonging to fellow Igbos within a space of 14 days to pack and go. Pack and go to nowhere?.

And come to think that these transport companies span several decades of industry and continuous investment in money, men and materials.

Don’t you, sorry your boys think that this fire brigade procedure portrays gross insensitivity and apathy that are at variance with elementary rudiments and ethics of public service anywhere.

Come to think of it.

On 16th October, your commissioner for Transport first sent a letter to the transport companies concerned, inviting them to a town hall meeting with the governor on the 19th of October.

The following day, 20th October, the commissioner sent another letter to the transport companies informing them of government’s intention to build a Transport Infrastructure Project in the areas afore mentioned.

On 30the October, the Enugu State Capital Development Authority issued the transport companies a “FINAL NOTICE” to remove their building within 14 days, with a caveat: “ You will hold yourself responsible if you fail to comply with this notice”.

Is this not a height of administrative recklessness that is contrary and strange to all known principles and rules of public engagement and dialogue which are attributes of public leadership and governance?

Honestly, your Excellency, of all your good policies, we cannot understand this one.

Can this be the result of appointing immature, inexperienced and even under-age young men and women into government, such as the duo of the commissioner for transport and chairman of Enugu Capital development Authority?

Both are known to have just relocated from long years of sojourn abroad with little or no knowledge of the historical, political, social or developmental evolution of Enugu that made it the symbol and citadel of Igbo political identity and unity.

If these guys are innovators they want people to believe, eager to actualize a new development innovation, they should have known that as a colonial creation, Enugu city of today has long been fully built up with social infrastructure?

They should have known that Enugu is already bursting with population explosion and needs depopulation and decongestion.

They should have known that the focus of modern theory and practice of development is on the development of new satellite towns as a means of much needed urban decongestion, optimization of public utilities and ecological maximization.

They should have known that it is preposterous and indeed untenable for anybody to leverage on an over one centenary colonial city like Enugu to implement a prototype of Dubai transportation blueprint.

They should have known that Dubai evolved on a virgin landscape that was free of prior infractructural encumberance.

They should have taken a cue from Lagos and the FCT with their focus on satellite town development and look towards Ninth mile corner, Four corner, Akpoga, Nchatancha, Amechi- Idodo and even the governor’s town of Owo for the so-called innovative experimentation.

We don’t want to delve into the issue of the ownership of the land areas in question.

We don’t want to make any insinuation about this brazen government action affecting mainly people from other states in Igbo land because I believe that all Igbos are brothers.

That is the reason Enugu has the privilege and honour of being perceived as the home and political headquarters of Igbos, the same way it was the capital of defunct Biafra.

It is very important that nobody does anything to threaten that perception or make Igbos from other States feel unsafe or uncomfortable. People can do so in any other place in Igbo land. But not in Enugu. Suffice it to say that that will be a political disaster.

I am appealing to governor Peter Mbah to call his boys to order. I believe that as an old timer and insider in government administration in Enugu State, the governor knows the political implication of what his lieutenants are using his name to perpetrate.

I also believe that the NB governor knows the role played by Igbos from other States in his governorship. Nothing should be done to breach that support and goodwill.

More importantly, may nothing be done to breach the historical symbolism of Enugu as home to Igbos and progenitor of all the South East States, a privilege that must not be abused or scorned at by new comers to Enugu politics and governance.

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