IN PRAISE OF ENUGU’S ONGOING URBAN RENEWAL
By Don Stephen
As someone who has spent the most part of my adult life in Enugu, it gives me immense joy seeing the scale of work ongoing across the Enugu metropolis and how the city’s original masterplan is gradually being restored.
Recently, I drove through the New Market-Miliken Hill axis and was pleased to note that this once chaotic area is also experiencing a makeover to restore its lost aesthetic glory.
I salute the governor of Enugu for the painstaking effort to restore sanity to New Market particularly. The traders outside have been asked to move into the market. That is how it should be because roads are not meant to be markets. All trading ought to take place in the market. So there is no lost livelihood inasmuch as there is a willingness to relocate within the market’s premises. I have not seen anything suggesting ill motive, other than a desire to restore Enugu’s master-plan and make it a truly modern city.
This is really commendable. A city’s aesthetics should not be sacrificed on the altar of commerce. Cities thrive when law and order prevail, as we have seen at Ogbete Main Market where the governor has done so much to clear the roads of street traders and illegal stalls, thus ending the perennial congestion along that axis. Similar sanitizing efforts should extend to places such as Gariki, along Agbani Road.
No government can ever entirely be free from criticism, but it is sheer mischief to knowingly allege an ill motive even with regard to policies borne out of the best intentions. As a cosmopolitan city whose social and economic status became established over a century ago, Enugu is in dire need of more housing estates given the continuous influx of persons from many other states. The quest to build more should not be construed as anything other than a sincere desire to meet such yearning developmental demand. An example is the transformation that has taken place at WTC, which for long was characterized by intractable wranglings. Even more commendable is the fact that everyone there was compensated.
Indeed, as more housing estates spring up as I hope it will, the state as well as the entire populace benefit from the economic activities that usually arise via construction and the cash spending of new families.
While not holding brief for anyone, it’s important to state that the current urban renewal projects ongoing across the state have been yielding huge dividends. For instance, perhaps for the first time in decades water has been flowing in large parts of Abakpa-Nike, Uwani and New Haven. Not many would know this. But that is the irony of governance in an increasingly cynical world; the public sees only the negative and ignore the positives.