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Osima Ginah And His No sacred Cow Stance

By Onukwube Uwanu

The name Osima Ginah may not be a household name to many before the 2007 elections in Rivers State. But those who have been observing political trends in Port Harcourt city, especially during the post election battle at the governorship election petition tribunal as regards Prince Tonye Princewill, the Action Congress leader and Sir Celestine Omehia, former Governor of Rivers State will know him better as one of the legal icons deployed by Tonye to see that his alleged stolen mandate was restored.

Besides, he was the barrister threatened then by one Col. Jumbo (rtd) to drop his legal services to Tonye Princewill or risk being wiped out. But Osima did not given in to the threat until the Supreme Court sitting in Abuja overturned the election of Sir Celestine Omehia in favour of Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.

Interestingly, Osima was appointed as the commissioner of Urban Development under the platform of Action Congress after tying the Unity Government nuptial knob with the Amaechi led administration. His contribution in the area of Urban Renewal brought him to limelight and speaks volume of the Rivers State government resolve to actualize what is known as the “Original Master Plan” of Port Harcourt City.

In order to realize this lofty goal, the Ministry of Urban Development and by extension Amaechi's administration did start in earnest it took the reigns of power to demolish illegal structures that negates the original master plan.

This development generated mix reactions across and outside the state. While some progressives argued that the act was a positive one to rid the state of illegal structures that constitute aberration and a threat towards restoring the state to its initial pride of place as well as to humanity. Regrettably, Osima and his ministry as well as the state government came under heavy attack by its political traducers who accused the administration of selective vendetta against non-indigenes, perceived and real political foes.

The benefit of the Urban Renewal initiative of the present administration is rather experienced than reading it on the pages of newspapers; just by taking a trip to Port Harcourt City.

Today, if you go through Aba Road you will notice able bodied young men and women tilling soil preparatory to planting of grass or trees. Have you been to Port Harcourt Peace Park along Aba Road? What you see is the result of the effort of the above ministry. The aesthetic green scenery and topography reminds one of golf course.

Having being monitoring trends as it relates to the ministry and Hon. Osima's comment on the demolition of key areas Particularly Old GRA which the writer considers as “no go area” where most government political appointees and high ranking politicians reside, I thought the arrow head of the ministry was biting more than he can chew. But I could not believe it when I heard that the demolition work has started in the area. This writer was skeptical of the feasibility of demolition in Old GRA because he considers those who live there as “sacred cows”

According to press statement by Hon. Okis Bob Manuel, the Rivers State Action Congress Secretary, “When questioned on his decision to earmark his leader's property for demolition, Barr. Ginah retorted, “The Rivers State AC Leader, Prince Tonye Princewill is my brother, Leader and close associate. Most importantly, he did not send me to the State Cabinet to be biased in my functions. I personally oversee the task force to ensure that the efforts of this administration to restore Port Harcourt to its garden city status are not thwarted in any form by anybody including the AC Leader. He was a party to the decision culminating in the on-going efforts of the Amaechi's Administration to restore the beauty and aesthetical value of Port Harcourt city and therefore would not protest the ministry's ultimatum that he reduces his fence or face its demolition”. Barrister Ginah also pointed out that the walls of his official residence had also been earmarked for demolition, therefore putting to rest speculations from any quarters that the ongoing demolition was an exercise of vendetta directed at real or perceived enemies of the government, but a concerted effort to take the state to the next level.

He further reiterated his Ministry's commitment to ensuring the implementation of the Urban renewal policy of the administration. He expressed delight at the response by most residents in old GRA and gave special kudos to the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Bala Hassan, the National Organising Secretary of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for the quick compliance in reconstructuring their fences”.

The release went further to say that, “Ginah threw more light on the issue of the demolition and reconstruction of the waterfronts, stating that besides its economic and social benefits it had become expedient for the purpose of halting militancy and criminal activities in the area. He confirmed State Government's release of N20B as compensation to the property/house owners at the waterfronts whilst urging the Concerned Landlords and Landladies of Abonnema Wharf Community in PH City LGA to nominate five persons from their Group to join the Evaluation Committee to ensure adequate evaluation and assessment of properties at the waterfronts for proper compensation”.

When intimated by his Media Chief, Chief E.C. Eze by phone on the demolition ultimatum, Prince Tonye Princewill who is currently on a working visit to Europe, issued a directive for the immediate reconstruction of the affected walls. He used the opportunity to reiterate AC's support of due process and also commended Barr. Ginah for refusing to adopt the 'sacred cow' mentality in the course of executing his duties. “We sent to him to Amaechi to demonstrate to the people of Rivers State what an AC Government could do when we gets to the Bricks House and should set example in this regard.. I must state that Barr Ginah has done us proud in this administration as he has demonstrated that he is a great Ambassador of the party and has become a beckon of hope and future of the party in the State”.

This has demonstrated that Hon. Osima does not care whose ox is gored no matter how highly placed the individual is in the society.

All that is needed is for all and sundry to urge, encourage and support him to realize the state urban renewal programme on target.

Onukwube Uwanu, social critic writes in from Elelenwo, Port Harcourt, Rivers state