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VIEWPOINT: The beauty of a city: "Garden city without a garden!"

Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph - By Clinton E. Jaja Esq on 2005/01/09 | Views: 283 |

VIEWPOINT: The beauty of a city: "Garden city without a garden!"


That was the greatest insult against Rivers State as the visitor's car touched Oyigbo, rammed through Aba Port Harcourt Road, and finally pulled up at Mile 1 Motor Park Port Harcourt.

That was the greatest insult against Rivers State as the visitor's car touched Oyigbo, rammed through Aba Port Harcourt Road, and finally pulled up at Mile 1 Motor Park Port Harcourt.

At that point I remembered Odili, Ikuru and Nemi-Adoki. I tried to explain things but the visitor was already disembarked to go his way. He had looked through the luxurious bus windowpane; saw no beauty but shame and shambles. The ladies and men cleaning up the roads were emptying the rubbish into the drainage system. Water-log road. And the bus swarmed through. He had shrugged in contemplation of what I couldn't guess.

It had been terribly difficult to identify the building from the bus because of the compact bill boards and business sign boards carelessly lining the foot paths and consequently blocking his view. Thank God that some authority is beginning to pull down some of these sign posts constituting great nuisance along our roads. What however, beats my pride is the manner this job is done. To chop off a four inches diameter pole at a point 2 inches or 2 feet above the ground the and letting rough edges unattended is a most terrible thing to do.

The sharp edges of these pole chopped off constitute terrible danger to the public who stumble into them and get seriously wounded. If you visit the hospital you will cry for the number of casualties If the authority takes a little more pains to dig out the poles at the base, I am certain the heavens will bless them.

The authority on chopping off the business boards must also remove the cut offs immediately to a known venue to enable the owners recover them within a stipulated period failing which the removing authority can dispose them. The removal of the cut offs can be done by the authority going along with a truck for that purpose.

I probably think it a misjudgment for the removing authority to expect that a man whose property has been destroyed would yield to any threat of prosecution or other wise have such destroyed property removed on his own volition. It might be different in London, Paris and New York. Even if the authority thinks of prosecuting the defaulters, does it have the effective machinery? I guess not. Lands and Urban Development Ministry should make a law demanding sign boards or bill boards be posted on the walls of business houses and premises .

Businessmen on their own must adopt the civilized way to advertise their products and services. To this effect the use of electronic media and news prints is strongly recommended.

Thirdly, a noisy environment can hardly constitute a beautiful city. There was a time one could move about our cities and returned home with complete eardrum. But things have long changed from a peaceful quiet environment to a madding crowd.

When the situation became unbearable Commander Fidelis Oyakhilomi, the then Rivers State Governor enacted an Edict prohibiting the playing of records or music in
the public. Today, that mad blazing of music to the highest pitch is felt everywhere along the streets of Port Harcourt to the annoyance and discomfort of all.

That Edict on noise pollution is still inforce, what remains is its implementation. The Housing and Urban Development Commissioner may have a Herculean task to convince us that he can create a beautiful city in such a noisy atmosphere.

The authority may create a task force to approach these noisemakers in line with existing legislation. Marketers or sellers of music are well advised to seek other means of advertising their products. Electronic media seem the best alternative.

Fourthly, our Urban beautification can be enhanced if the existing fountains of water flow again. The creation of a new generation of these fountains would be an excellent thought. We must state unequivocally that our heart bleeds any moment we visit State Secretariat Complex, Port Harcourt and see these fountains dead. The ones at Point Block kill us more. If we can't create new ideas can't we for the sake of history uphold other peoples?

Talk about illegal structures in Port Harcourt. We observe the authority is removing them. But what beats our guess is why the same authority, after demolishing structure fails to remove the debris allowing it deface the beautiful topography it intends to create.

The fall out of demolition exercises block our drainages and in some areas affect flow of traffic. The authority should make simultaneous arrangement to have the fallouts removed together with demolition. One would have suggested a contract awarded for the purpose of clearing the fallouts but I fear the possibility of the contractor attacked by the owners of much demolished structures.

Another noticeable defacement of our cities, particularly Port Harcourt, is in the posting of advertisement bills- religious, commercial, invitations, obituaries, etc.

In Port Harcourt such bills are frequently seen posted on fly-over base and other public places and buildings. Owners of such bills would keep the city neater if they use electronic media or and print media to advertise their products and programs.

Religious organizations can use CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) to advertise their programmes. Where Church A has a programme it leaves such programme with CAN, the central body of all Churches in the locality to pass such information to other Churches, which subsequently will announce such programmes in their different Churches. In this way an effective dissemination of the programme would be made than placing bills on unauthorized places.

Advertisers of goods and services can even reach the desired public through the following means:-

Motor Parks: Arrangement can be made with the managers of different motor parks where bills are handed over to them for on ward transmission to the drivers who subsequently pass the bills to the passengers. The problem is that Nigerians are cheats who don't like paying for services.

Markets: Our markets are well organized with different trade unions. Advertisers of products and services may wish to take advantage of them as viable out-lets for their products. Owners of these bills should approach the market managers and make such arrangements with them. With adequate arrangements the market managers will pass the bills over to the traders who subsequently will distribute them to their customers.

Motor Cycle Riders: This group of people have their union. Their population is thick. With proper arrangement bills can be passed through these people to the final consumer.
Airports: This is another avenue to reach viable customers. People advertising their products, can produce special folders for air tickets. Such folders advertising the products services or programs in question.

Pay Packets: Advertisers may reach the public by producing special pay envelopes for ministries and parastatal. These envelopes advertising their products in the desired manner will be much more effective than posting bills at unauthorized places. It must be noted that on many occasions the bills are posted at irrelevant points resulting from the people employed to post these bills being completely ignorant of the link between the products or services and the desired customer or audience.

Security Men: Every organization employ security men. A single security man in an establishment comes in contact with good number of people daily. A good arrangement with the management of such organization will, through the security man, put in the hands of desired public, reasonable number, of advertisement bills.

Schools: Advertisers of products and services including programs can use the school authorities to project their handbills. This can be effectively achieved through the different students unions or school prefects as is applicable.

Hotels: Handbills can be distributed through the management of each hotel. With proper negotiation and enticement this is attainable. For instance, a handbill after advertising itself inserts the name of the hotel on the and the necessary services it provides on the handbill.
The fora through which a handbill can reach the public without defacing our fly over and other public buildings are inexhaustible thereby leaving beautiful scenery of our Urban.


In creating an ecstatic urban society the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development must give serious consideration to the development of our waterfronts.

To this end, we are of the strong opinion that the government should take over and control all the water fronts. The recent emergence of armed militias whose activities thrived (90%) most in the waterfronts give support to this proposition. It would be foolhardy to argue that in civilized societies individuals and communities control waterfronts. Until our level of civilization is raised the government must control our waterfronts. The question arising from this proposition is, what does the government do with he water front population, which constitutes over 80 percent of the work-force in the state? We propose the following solution.
Census of the population of every and all waterfronts should be taken. In doing so the government should identify and classify the nature of the inhabitants- government workers, private employees, and native inhabitants.

Government should provide accommodation for non native government workers outside the water fronts at affordable price. Accommodation should be provided for this clears of people at a monthly rent as it appears difficult that this class of workers can pay and own the property even at a minimum deposit of N 50,000. This means that such accommodation to which these workers are to be moved into has to be managed by an independent body to whom the government assigned such accommodation.

In the case of native people who cannot be totally moved from such waterfront, they should be moved to a section of it and supervision of that area handed over to the native authority. Finima Town, in Bonny, is a typical example of where native people have been resettled.

Government having acquired the waterfronts should develop them. Let them out to respectable organizations to develop tourist centres and other projects as Government may deem fit. We must warn that any attend to allocate the said water fronts to party faithfuls and friends would result in another unimaginable social disorder.
Another use the government can make of the acquired water fronts is to develop them into quarters for very senior Civil servants both at state and Federal levels. The government can even lease them out to multinational companies to build their offices or quarters. Outright sale of the water front, be it to an indigene or not is not acceptable to avoid such volatile Land areas subsequently passing into wrong hands.

It appears there is a willingness on the part of Housing and Urban Development Ministry to turn Port Harcourt into a beautiful city. But what we are not sure of is the effective machinery it has put in place to ensure that while it demolishes illegal structures in one hand, stronger and worst illegal ones are not put in place in another way. The case in point is that of Lawyers Estate, popularly known as White House along Abuloma Road Port Harcourt.

Finally, while Engineer Ikuru and his Ministry are labouring to beautify Port Harcourt, we cannot see how he can achieve his aims if he does hot move hand in hand with Environmental Sanitation Agency. Worst, if the Governor starves him of necessary funds he had better go home to sleep.

G S M: 08035509399
By Clinton E. Jaja Esq
Shakespeare Chambers

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.