Oh! How we must love to wallow in murky, smelly, wonderful dirt, especially, when that situates in societal chaos and disorder. Where everyone can wallow to his heart’s content. Where it doesn’t matter what your neighbours think of your discourtesies; you’d just wallow along anyway, invading private spaces, peeing and pooing at whim and caprice, where and when it happens, literally and metaphorically. We are all social outlaws; all social laws and etiquette are to be ignored and abused. So, when your lawn is dirty, your gutter is full and overflowing, and your garbage spills over, you wait for Mr. Government to come along and clean up for you. Every possible space on the roads and highways is a Taxi park, manned by extortionist touts in full view of the Police and Local Authorities, who turn a blind eye or bribe-blinded eye. It doesn’t matter if the Taxis obstruct traffic or pose serious accident risks to the public. And, oh! It’s the dry season so all public green areas should turn brown and unkempt? What about the deluge of beggars and other street people that accost you everywhere and 24/7 for money or a trade. And the unruly traffic at every Junction?! Traffic lights are just a decoration and right there at the junction is the best place for Taxis to pick up and drop their clients.
My visits to Abuja always trigger this weltschmerz: angsts and ennui at the same time if you like. This is a city that was designed from scratch to be different, controlled and more manageable but is turning out to be no different from other cities that had grown organically, in spite of the enormous funds so far committed. Taxi parks everywhere and right at the major street junctions too! Please, someone, do something! That is if the Honourable minister still can’t see or seems incapable of doing something about the disorder that Abuja is.
Look to Kaduna. Yes o. El-Rufai, the former Minister of the FCT and now Governor of Kaduna State, is hard at work now and Kaduna is transforming; Kaduna is far more orderly now with KASTELEA, its own version of LAWMA/LASTMA. There is a huge cleanup effort going on. KASUPDA and KAPWA, the public works agencies have been fully rejuvenated and are hard at work in maintaining infrastructure. Okadas and Kekes are being brought to order.
We talk about attracting tourism but no one will pay good money for a nasty experience and, worse still, the few that visit will stoke that aversion when they report their findings online – potent negative WOM. Naija market thyself!